The Constant Struggle of a Writer


I always find it interesting to see what sticks with people. As attention spans get shorter it has become increasingly harder to reach audiences. Recently someone said they liked my Jell-O Jigglers story I wrote for the DTH senior year.

“From Snuggies to spatulas, UNC’s brand is recognizable in stores across the state.”

That was my lead. Trust me when I say this was not a prime piece of journalism. But hey, sometimes you have to feed the beast what it wants and it wanted Jell-O shots.

“I don’t know many students that eat Jell-O on the reg’, but Jell-O shots are popular with the young ’uns.”

That quote came from a student and is probably my favorite part of the article, which isn’t saying much.

So you can understand why I hate reading my stuff. I love writing, but I’m also my worst critic. It’s a constant struggle. I always find something I would have done differently, but it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one like that. Last month I attended the Charlotte SPJ meeting and met with Tommy Tomlinson, one of my favorite writers, and he said the same thing. You read over your writing so much that by the end you’re just happy to be done with it. There’s solace in knowing that it’s good enough, because at least it’s done.

Tommy just finished writing his book, all 61,000 words of it, on living as an overweight man in America. While I can’t wait to read it, I’m sure he is tired of looking at it.

It wouldn’t be a Sarah Headley blog without a cheesy metaphor so I’ll leave you with this:

I equate writing to fashion. You loved that light wash denim skirt and silver sequin purse in 2006, but looking back hurts. The key is to keep moving forward and get better. And remember, it’s 2016 but someone out there still loves that look. They still love your writing too, even that Jell-O Jigglers story.


4 thoughts on “The Constant Struggle of a Writer

  1. Keep writing. I hate reading my stuff, too. It’s the sign of a true writer, when you see stuff that you could have written better.

  2. good write up. Keep the words flowing.

  3. I completely empathize with your post. I cringe when I look back at my early writing. I labored so much over every sentence that I have paragraph after paragraph of overly-earnest words!

  4. Really, really love your blog

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