Being a writer is a lonely life. No one really believes you’re working when you write from home. They don’t see the hours we put into something. When they see us sitting in front of the computer they assume we’re goofing off. Our dress code ranges from the bath robe to the ratty jeans, so they don’t see the professionalism we must uphold. We don’t hold standard hours or bring in a steady pay check, so we could not possibly contribute to society.
This is, of course, rubbish.
Yes, it’s a lonely life. We spend hours working alone yet we form tight bonds with those we do reach out to. Our writers groups become our second family, and most of the time this second family understands us better than our real family. The members of our writers group would never dream of telling us to stop being childish and get a real job. They would shudder at the thought of demanding we give up on our dreams. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of real families out there who stand behind their writers. I myself have my mother, who believes in me with everything she is. My siblings understand my strange ways and encourage me with honest excitement. Yet I also know what it’s like to not have this. I’ve been told to get a real job, to give up on the pipe dream, more times than I care to count.
The standard job is 6 to 8 hours a day. How many hours a day do you put into your work, your writing? I have been known to put up to 18 hours in any one day. Being a writer is a full-time job and then some. It’s a very slow day when I can call it done before 10 hours. Yes, I’m doing other things during that time as well as working on my book. I have to not only meet the daily production goals, maintain the accounts and logs and write up reports, but I also have to tend the house, make meals, and care for a toddler all at once. I have worked in many different fields in my working life and being a writer is by far the most demanding, fulfilling, painful, and under appreciated career I’ve worked.
There are days were I feel like I should stop kidding myself, I won’t lie about it. I’m plagued with the ‘what’s the point?’ ‘Why should I even bother?’ and ‘I can’t write to save myself so I should just give up.’ It’s a constant battle. This inner war I fight drains me and some days I’m tempted to just toss out the pages and give up. When this happens I read a book. One that I KNOW isn’t very good. One that’s so riddled with typo’s and plot holes it makes me sick. And believe it or not this drives the doubts right out of my head. I mean, it that poorly written, mistake filled book with its tired plot, 2D characters and way over done subject could get published, then mine should be able to.
The moral of this post my dear writers, is NEVER give up on your dream. Ever. End of story. No one ever said being a writer is easy. It’s not. But what sets us apart is our pig-headed stubborn side, its our ability to keep writing long after the sun had set, its our joy in the written word, its our never-ending supply of coffee. So my dear writers, remember then when the world gets you down, you have everything you need to get right back up. Just pick up that pen and write my dears. Write on!