Writing: The Terribly Important Truth

Here’s to all my fellow writers out there reading this: DON’T GIVE UP. Here’s why, my dears-

Writing sucks and if you’re a writer you’re probably like, “hell, yes, it does!” or maybe you’re like “actually, no, it’s great.” In the latter case, congrats, and can you share that feeling with the rest of us on the struggle bus out here? Yeah, I know, my title is a bit misleading, because writing is wonderful and beautiful and okay, we love it. BUT, in all reality, it sucks. Does that make sense? It sucks, but we love it. Writing isn’t automatically the key to fortune or fame, despite the connotations that the words “writer” and “author” bring with them. Writing is a shot in the dark, a game of Russian Roulette, a “take a stab at it” kind of thing that a lot of us are willing to endure. It’s the worst love story you’ve heard since Romeo and Juliet and I hate to break it to you, ladies and gentlemen, but you might not be good enough. I know, OUCH. If you’re not good enough, then you’ve probably already reached the point of no return and found yourself another pursuit of happiness; so good for you.

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            Writing is a terrible tease. You might be good enough to get to a certain point, but maybe it’s not where you want to be. Sometimes, that’s just how it is. You’re apparently “good enough” for something, so why not work on improvement. Writing isn’t static and you can always get better with time.

            Now, there IS a chance you hit the jackpot with that golden plot line as a fiction writer, or maybe you’ll strike a chord in the deepest part of someone’s soul with those heart-wrenching poems you busted out, or MAYBE you’re an intense and dedicated journalist that knows just where all the right leads are. All I know is, those of us who haven’t “made it” yet, constantly live with the fear of not being good enough. Let me tell you something though, 9 times out of 10, if you think you’re not good enough, chances are you ARE good enough. One of my favorite quotes that has helped keep me afloat in a sea of magazine articles, dusty books and harsh critiques is by Steven Pressfield and it reads, “If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends) ‘Am I really a writer?’ ‘Am I really an artist?’ Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

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            Of course, there are times when you’re proud of your work (why shouldn’t you be?) and can’t wait for the day when everyone can see what a wonderful craftsman and wordsmith you are. But, if you’re anything like me, you over analyze and re-read your own work far too many times to be healthy. “Do people even care about this?” “Is this interesting to anyone else but me?” “Am I too opinionated for this topic?”- Stop it. Believe in your ability. My theory has always been that if I have this ever-so present urge to write, then I must be okay at it... or I’m just over zealous about my own thought processes. Either way, I know it’s something I have to do because it’s something I ENJOY doing.

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            Writing is fun if you’re writing about something you like. But what happens when you land that first journalism gig? You’re probably pretty low on the totem pole and the reality of it is, you’re going to get assignments you hate. Maybe you don’t want to cover that political debate, because you fear you might die of boredom and you thought you were being hired to write about fashion- (??) tough luck, kid. This is when you gotta bite the bullet, push through that assignment and do your absolute best. Show your editors that you can write about anything and eventually, when you’ve earned the spot you deserve, you’ll get to write about what YOU want. Also, hey, just a tip, but if you want to make any money at all (money isn’t everything) and not live in a dumpster, then you’re going to have to write about things ya just don’t care about, and that’s okay.

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            If writing is just your hobby and not something you hope to pursue as a career, that’s awesome too. Just remember that even when it feels sucky and useless, reading and writing shape the world. So, whatever kind of writer you are- know that we need you.  We need to hear about your struggles and your successes. We want to know your ideas, your thoughts and your opinions. I know writing sucks when you’re not successful, but it’s important that you don’t quit. We need to hear your voice; some of the best stories come from personal experiences and it’s these stories that help the human race to understand just what being a human means.

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Editor's Note

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