Writing on writing

writing on writing

Ah…at long last, I’ve found a fellow starving artist. When we wretched authors first decide to put pen to paper, we revolutionaries wish to startle the world with our wit. We’ve been to the libraries filled with rooms and shelves stuffed with books that no one person could ever possibly read all of. We glance at the names and forgotten titles of the writers and books no one remembers. We see the library card that tells us this hard back hasn’t been signed out in 18 years. Yet we still have the audacity to feel we have something to add, to say that’s not been said yet. It all starts as fun, that first poem, short story, song lyric we shyly show our parents, best friends or lover. “What do you think?” We ask nonchalantly, hoping they don’t see our heart is out on our sleeve. “I love it.” Is the reply. They always want to encourage us, no matter how bad the piece is. We see that look they give us that no one can disguise. They’re seeing us through different eyes. They’re realizing there’s more to us, quite possibly parts of us they’ll never get to know. It’s a flash of envy and worry and awe. Writing is all of these things. There are no guarantees. We dream of someday being famous and rich and then we’ll sell the movie rights and be even richer! As we write, we realize what we’re giving up for our craft that has addicted us. We no longer write for the pay check. We don’t write for the praise or title that people have given to us. Critics are ignored. We write, picturing readers reading our words. Sometimes we picture a teenage boy reading and we want to make him believe and approve and be satisfied when he lays our book aside. Other times we’ll picture an older retired man reading night after night, our novel at his bedside. We strive to please all of them even the young woman who may stumble upon our book twenty five years after we’re dead, forty years after we wrote it. Logic tells us we can’t please them all. Still we must try. Win or lose, we must go on writing. The criticism hurts the rejections hurt. I wouldn’t wish this affliction on my worst enemy. Unfortunately, it’s an infliction I share with most of my friends and almost all of the people I admire. Good luck and keep writing, for there is no more noble of a profession.

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