[As a special feature for the time I’m on vacation, Bare Knuckle Writer is bringing you Guest Posts by
random mental patients friends of mine. Be nice to them.]
I want to be a writer.
Cool. Then write. Goal accomplished.
No, for real. One of the many beautiful things about writing is that anyone* can.
You want to be a pilot? That, my friend, will be an expensive process. Want to be in a rock band? You need other people who share your vision. Olympic gymnast? I hope the gods gave you a flexible spine. And possibly a severe eating disorder.
But you have to be in fairly dire straights not to be able to get your hands on pen and paper. And if you’re reading this post: my friend, you are not in those straights.
No, I mean a writer writer. Like, published and paid. People wanting to make movies and TV shows of my creations. You know, like George R. R. Martin or J.K Rowling.
Ah. I understand. What you want, then, is not to be a writer, but to be famous. Or rich. Or both. And that is something different. Unfortunately, I cannot help you with those things, as I am neither rich nor famous.
I am, however, a writer, however intermittently these days. I have universes in my mind, and I occasionally use written language to render those private imaginings into a form which I can share with others. And whether I ever have anything of significant length published or not, at the end of my days I will count the hours I have spent penning into notebooks or toiling over my laptop as time well spent.
Because I loved it, for the sake of it.
I love that there are fully formed characters walking around in my head, many with emotional imprints as strong as the flesh and blood people in my life. Is that psychologically healthy? Arguable. I’m all right with it, though.
When I write I am a god. I create worlds, histories, climate patterns. I control the seasons, even how many seasons the world has.
When I polish a poetic description of a crisp and golden autumn day, or feel my fingers move like quicksilver to script the casual banter of two too clever characters. . .whenever I feel I have succeeded in crafting a segment that could lift you the reader up or break their heart or produce a genuine gut laugh, it’s a victory. And that victory exists whether the words I have created reach ten eyes or ten million.
Many people have this flawed idea that people who ‘make it’ always knew they would. That those writers didn’t have to carve time out of already busy schedules, didn’t have to sacrifice family time for story research or deal with doubt or worry about working two jobs to pay the bills during the course of their novel creation. Like, the process was easy because the result was somehow guaranteed.
I may not know my ass from my elbow some days but my 32 years have granted me at least this much wisdom: no result is ever guaranteed.
That is why it is of such dire importance to spend our days doing what we love. Now. Not what we we think will yield us riches and prestige 5 or 10 years down the line, but what we love in this present moment in which we exist.
I don’t care if what makes you happy is crafting surrealist spoken word poetry or spending as much time as possible with your children or taking extraordinarily long showers with detachable shower heads— make the time to do it.**
Maybe you only like thinking about writing ideas, but the actual process of ‘type type edit curse delete curse question existence’ makes you think Bukowski was onto something with the whole ‘drink self into oblivion’ plan. That’s cool (the not writing plan, not the chronic alcoholism plan). Just imagine, then. Be an imaginer.
But if you love writing then do that. Write. Create something that makes your heart sing and your chest swell with pride. Don’t worry about the whys or wherefores. When it is done, if you think you have something of value and the idea of dollar signs and your name in lights seems appealing, then worry about how best to market the completed product you now have. If it’s something you crafted lovingly and poured yourself into with fiery abandon, it may not be all that hard.
Maybe. Again, see above point: No result is ever guaranteed.
No result except this: If you do what you love, your days are well spent. And that is true whether the fruits of your labour are justified with dollars and TV contracts or no.
Nomadic since the summer of 2007, Krys C is a former traveling tattooist and current aspiring pro fighter. Her wandering has thus far brought her to somewhere between 26 and 31 countries, depending on your politics. She occasionally writes things at The Road To Ithaca.
*[Anyone literate, anyway]~Pedantic Vacation Steph
**If you love all of those things and more besides. . .well, sugartits, it is time to be realistic. You can do one thing well, ten things decently or twenty things poorly***.‘How to prioritize’ would be a whole different post. Series of posts. Novel. Series of novels.
***Actual numbers may vary depending on person, existence and tasks.