What It Feels Like to Be a Writer

by | Apr 17, 2014

It’s not easy being a writer. I think people often romanticize the writing process. Like authors wake up every morning, brush the curtains aside, sit musing with a cup of coffee as the birds sing outside, and then write a book.

Like it’s that simple to write a book.

Like every morning will be as beautiful as the next, filled with inspiration and beauty.

The truth is, writers, just like professionals in any trade, have their ups and downs. They have days were inspiration flows like rivers, words come pouring out on the page, the stars are aligned, and even the birds seem to be singing in tune. Then there are days where the sky is grey, the ink is dried up, no matter how hard you try nothing will come out, no matter how hard you try. You will question if this is your true calling. You will bury your head in your hands, crying to the universe to give you a break. You can’t write. You can’t think. And you see your existence flash before your eyes: working in a cubicle for some dumb 9 to 5 job filing papers and making copies. Or worse – doing technical writing.

Being a writer is hard. It takes work. It takes perseverance. Sometimes it’s not fun. Sometimes you want to throw in the towel. People will reject you left and right. You will take their comments seriously, vowing to never write again. You will write something that is the truest word from your heart and still someone will find fault, call it “dull” or “boring” or “just not that good.”

You never asked to be Faulkner or Wordsworth, or friggin’ Lord Byron. You are just trying to put words on paper, digest the world, tell a story, paint a picture with your mind.

As a writer, sometimes you have to just say to yourself, “hey, I’m not Shakespeare, but I’m bloody good.” And then write as much as your little heart wants to write and, by God, if no one reads it, then who cares! You wrote it, you removed it from sitting in your brain, collecting dust.

Every time you think someone else doesn’t understand your plight, just remember that from the beginning of time people have been telling stories. Sometimes they got boo-ed and thrown off stage, other times they had their books burned, other times they went on to become Pulitzer prize winning authors, other times they killed themselves in a schizophrenic meltdown. Writers- I mean we are passionate people- dull we are not. Boring we will never be. Heart-wrenching, that’s us. And we don’t need people to understand us. We just need to do the damn thing and get the damn book written.

That’s my hardest thing is actually writing it. Doing it. Casting the doubt aside and saying, “Ok, let’s write. Let’s tell the story for once.” Telling everyone else’s story is much more safe. There’s less judgement, I suppose. If I fail I can always say, “it’s not my story, I only wrote it.”

But a life lived in fear is a life half lived. Or so says Baz Luhrman one of my favorite quirky movie directors.

Perhaps I should cast away the fear and embark on the writing journey.

Not for anyone else. Just for myself.

And I don’t care who’s listening.



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