How to Use Math, Science, and the Power of Commitment—and Personal Vendettas—to Move Your Writing Forward – Part 1

– an excerpt from Allison Hodgson


I don’t want to write this chapter.

I’m sorry to have to tell you this—it’s nothing personal—it’s just that lately, I’ve been feeling the tiniest bit stuck, and on the best days I don’t always like to write.

For the longest time I thought I had a fundamental flaw, being a writer who doesn’t really enjoy writing, until I came across a quote by English playwright and novelist Dodie Smith who is most famous for the novel, then play, and eventual movie, The One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Smith began writing plays in the 1930s and was an almost immediate success. After the Second World War she began her first novel, I Capture the Castle. It took her three years to complete. Smith wrote: “I write with great misery but am even more miserable when not writing—though I do enjoy thinking about writing and thinking about having written; it is the time in between that gets me down.”

I about cried when I read that. I had never had anyone express so exactly, or honestly, my conflicted feelings about writing.

Here’s the thing I have since learned: no matter your level of experience— whether you’re just starting out or embarking on your hundredth book—for most writers, writing is a lot of hard work.