Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When You Can't NOT - What Being a Writer is Really About

A common story gets told about when a more experienced writer or poet comes to a class of new writers: when the eager young writers ask for advice, the seasoned, wizened (and one can assumed, a bit weather-worn) writer says this, "First Piece of Advice--do anything else other than be a writer!"

This was kind of novel the first time I heard it. It speaks to how hard it is to make a living as a writer, of the trials and tribulations within the writing lifestyle itself, and of how little appreciated writers may be within our society.

But let's be honest. None of the young writers listen. We all still want to be writers!!! Perhaps we think: our path will be smoother, our genius more quickly recognized, that our success can be attained! But once the rejection piles start stacking up, the young writer looses their first enthusiasm, and hopefully, their delusions of grandeur. And yet some of them will just keep writing anyway. The pack thins out.

Because here's the deal. If you're a writer, you just can't NOT write. It doesn't matter how many time rejections bury you under your covers for days on end. It doesn't matter how darling your story or novel was that has been unanimously rejected across the board. You just keep writing because you can't not.

That's what being a writer is about. And sometimes, as my fellow Apocalyspies and I have discovered, it can even lead to the impossible: a book deal.

And sure, that's a brief awesome blip in your life as a writer. But then the day of the big announcement comes and goes, and it's still back to the bones of being a writer: the page in front of you, and whether you'll write today.

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