Just to clear things up, this piece isn't directed at any of you. I'm taking to the people out there who say that they "want to be a writer" and yet they barely even know what the word means. They say that they want it... and yet they don't even bother to write anything! It just irks me, so I decided to go on and rant about it. I spit this out in about an hour, so it isn't my best work, but I hope you enjoy it anyway :).
Btw, I know this has a harsh tone, but I really didn't mean it to be offensive. The harshness is meant in a joking way, and I REALLY hope I don't discourage any of you...
What do I want to be when I grow up? Well that’s easy, I want to be a writer.
What’s that you say? Being a writer is your first choice, too? Aw, how cute. Too bad it’s never going to happen.
Mean? Of course I’m not being mean. Just honest. Besides, It’s not like I’m the one who’s stopping you from being a writer, you are.
Look, kid. You want to know the truth? Well, I’ll tell you. Writing is not a choice. Just by saying that word, just by muttering it between your lips, you’ve made it pretty clear that you don’t know a thing about writing. Not a single, goddamn thing. You want me to explain? Gladly.
For starters, the way you look at writing is all wrong. You have this glorious little image in your head about what being a writer is “supposed” to be like. Don’t tell me that you don’t, because I know you do. I see that optimistic twinkle in your eye. You see the fame, you see the fortune, you see the free time. You think all you gotta do is just sit your butt down in front of a computer, type a few words, and voila! You got a bestselling story, top-notch pay, and a bunch of wild, screaming fans buying tickets to see it in theaters. No real work, but all the benefits. What’s wrong with that vision? Everything. If being a writer was that easy, everybody would be one, and there’d be nobody left to sell us paper.
Just like everything else in this messed up world of ours, writing has got a dark side. Did you ever once think of that? You’ve been living in a fool’s paradise, my dear, sweet child. I hate to do this to you, but let me bring you into the light. Imagine this: spending hour after hour in front of your dinosaur of a computer, typing away and backspacing until your fingers feel like they’re going to fall off. Your eyes burn and itch from not having slept in three days, and that’s being generous! You’ve been working on this book for four years now, and still no publishing company has even glanced in your direction! You’ve been declined thirty-seven times and counting. Your only fan is your mother, who’s getting tired of you taking up the living room, and there’s not a dollar in your pocket from which you’ve earned. Does that sound nice to you? Pleasant? Fun? Well, it’s not. It’s horrible, but that’s just what being a writer is all about. Now run what I just told you through that pretty little head of yours. Do you still “choose” to be a writer? Yes? Wrong answer. Jeez, I thought we already talked about this!
Let me clear this up for you one more time. Nobody “chooses” to be a writer. On the contrary, writing chooses you. You’re born to be a writer. You live to be a writer. You die to be a writer. That’s just the way it is. Don’t argue with me. If you are one of the cursed few who are actually, unfortunately, meant to be a writer, then you’ll know. Every single part of you will want it. Every bone in your body will ache for it. Every square inch of your soul will yearn for it. Every ounce of oxygen flowing through your lungs will scream for it. Every bit of blood pumping through your arteries will reach for it. You’ll know, you’ll just know.
I’m not saying that there won’t be any doubt, because there will be. Lots of it. In fact, that’s one of the signs that you really are meant to be a writer. You’ll doubt yourself every step of the way. “Am I ready for this?” you’ll think, “Am I really good enough?” And of course, the answer to those questions will be no. You’ll never be ready, never be good enough. That’s just the way it is. Being a writer isn’t about being perfect, it isn’t about being the best, it isn’t even about being good. It’s about growth. Learning from your mistakes. Improving and improving and improving from now until forever. There is no point where you can just stop and say, “That’s it. I’m the best I can be.” No, it doesn’t work like that. You will NEVER be the best. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Trust me on this, if you feel like you’re the best writer out there, then clearly you’re not a writer at all.
If it’s that bad, why do people even become writers at all, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Writers are not like normal people. They think about things in a different mindset. They see the world in a different viewpoint. They analyze their friends in a different manner. They are different, they are peculiar, they are screwed. And they love every inch of it. So what if they spent the last year of their life sitting in front of a computer screen, with an itching butt and aching fingertips? So what if they never earned a dime to their pocket or received any credit for all their hard work? They look back on that year—that crazy, crazy year—and they realize that somehow, despite all that pain, they managed to have an amazing time. And they’re somehow willing to do it again. Don’t ask me why, I can’t explain it, they just do. Because that’s what they’re meant for.
You’re confused? Of course you are. Because—let’s face the truth, here—you’re just not made to be a writer. You just didn’t make the cut. If you were really a writer, you would be writing, rather than just saying that you want to. Writers write, and those that don't, aren't writers. It's the truth, and that's that.
Look, I'm sorry. The truth is tough, I know that. But please, don't be upset. You’re one of the lucky one’s. No one in their right mind would ever really consider being a writer. Only those who are clinically insane, mentally disturbed, crazy in all definitions of the term, are brave enough to even dare to cross that line. Like me. I’ll admit it. I’m strange, I’m odd, I’m peculiar. I’m insane, I’m disturbed, I’m crazy. And you know what? I’m happy.
I’m a writer, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.