Friday, November 4, 2011

So, You Want To Write? It’s A Horrible Career. No, Really.

            Being a writer means that I’m fairly isolated from the rest of the world when I’m working. Sure, in my “off” time, I engage in social activities. But between holding down a full-time job, taking classes, and trying not to fail at this whole being a writer thing; I don’t have a ton of time for a social life. And that’s alright, because I’ve chosen this path.
            Lack of social life aside, the act of writing can be strenuous. Everything from choosing point of view to making sure the final draft is clean and error-free. Once in a while I need advice, or maybe just a little encouragement to get it right. I’m a writer, not a genius, and my knowledge of the written word and the English language are largely a work-in-progress. And I’m no fan of self-help books—in any form—so taking the leap to opening up a book on writing is a challenge for me. But then, even worse, when I do open up a book on writing, inevitably one of the first things I read about is how difficult being a writer is.
            Well, for starters—duh!
            And to add to that—you freaking think?
            Sarcasm aside (for now), I may not know everything there is to know about being a writer, but I do think I have some small clue. I haven’t finished my first book yet, so that should give you some hint at what the process of actually writing is like. It may be rewarding, but it certainly is no picnic. I have spent hundreds of hours working on this single body of work. I can only imagine how grueling the editing process will be; and I really don’t want to think about what will come of trying to get an agent and eventually a publisher.
            There are days, many days, where I have a moment when I ask myself “why”. I don’t ask myself why I choose to write. I ask myself why I feel compelled to write. I highly doubt the accountants of the world have the above issues and fears. And that’s not a knock at those who either don’t consider themselves creative spirits or really like numbers. In fact, I envy them in a way.
            So, when I open up book after book on creative writing and I continue to read other authors tell me how this career choice will break me, I get a little pissed off. Perhaps they feel that forewarned is forearmed. And yeah, I understand that point. But at what point does forewarning a budding author become overkill? I’d say around November.
            NaNoWriMo is hard enough without essentially being told that you can’t do it. When I first started writing I was under the impression that all of us writers were on one team; but there are days where I’m not so sure anymore. Does it make people feel better to tell someone else how hard they’re going to have it? Does it make those who are published more accomplished?
            I don’t think anyone who writes a book on writing is actively trying to dissuade anyone else from pursuing a career in writing… they’re just being honest. I guess, at the end of the day, honesty just really freaking sucks.

1 comment:

  1. I think there's a very competitive underbelly of the writing community that few people address; in some way, if one writer's book doesn't get published, it means WE maybe have one more shot at getting published.

    It's a lot like my brother's justification for his gay man appreciation. "This is one less man I have to compete with for the attention of women." :)