What It Means To Be A Writer

“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” —Roald Dahl

Ever since I was younger, my father would encourage either sports equipment or novels into my hands. My big brother was into the fantasy realm, and so I latched onto that along with him. My affinity for writing and the outdoors are my living emblems of that past.

In some ways I was always meant to be a writer. I often feel that I contemplate things in different ways from other people. I insert myself into people’s lives, I take a snippet of their conversation and think of all the possible connections that begun it, and where it will end. When I look at the mountains I see the men who climb across them in the world of my novel. I notice the different striations in the small blueprint of a leaf. In a way I believe that everyone sees the world differently, our creative eye forming a different world, each of us focusing on different parts, and enjoying others more or less.

The countless novels I poured through throughout my youth is what turned me into this quiet quirkball. They opened my eyes to the limitless perspectives that a person can have, and often let me inhabit the many different worlds of thought. It has instilled intuition with me, showing me that there are different sides to a person that they may not reveal, or even that which they may not understand. In my pursuit of my first novel, I somewhat aimlessly pursue the ability to create a character who can rival the contradictions and complexities of these characters I’ve both read and met.

My fascination with fabricating stories began young, but my first attempt at a novel really occurred in middle school. These stories were always scrapped, perhaps the plot was too simple or the characters were too similar to others I’d encountered while reading. I always saw those as setbacks, but I’ve come to see that the mimesis and seemingly futile attempts to create a story that stuck have formulated my distinct writing style.

So, as a tired and tireless writer, I have learned:

The uncertainty is terrifying

There have been times where I’ve been so absolutely terrified about being a writer, and it doesn’t help knowing that there are people both terrified for me and critical of me. Writing a novel isn’t an easy feat, and even when it’s done there is no imminent success waiting for you. Knowing that there’s no steady landing under your feet is terrifying. There have been many times that I’ve wanted to take a way out, but there’s nothing that quite compares to the creation of a story that sits in the back of your mind.

I’ll never be completely satisfied

In my most recent attempts to pen my own novel, I’ve scrapped scene after scene, altered character personalities, and remolded the plot. On very few occasions do I write a piece and come out of my writing coma to think that what I just wrote was the eloquent masterpiece that I want it to be. But even when I do, I often take another look at it later and want to change everything about it again. That persistent desire to perfect my art is how I know that I’ll continue to evolve as a writer however. I won’t stop until the “perfect” story is done. And even then, if it’s ever published I’ll probably still want to change it again. And that’s ok.

It is sharing a piece of you

We can’t help but interject our own biases, beliefs and ideas into our writing. We have a desire to share with the world, and mould a thought process. I’ve realized that writing is a quite narcissistic craft, dependent on our belief that we have the ability to perhaps shape a significant chunk of the population’s ideas. So, sharing a piece of your art is more than just sharing words you’ve written, it’s sharing something that you are the sole creator of.

I’ll have to work at it 

We have this enchanted idea that great writers were born brilliant, as if their womb had come with pen and paper. I agree in some cases, but more so I believe that what sets the best writers from the others is their dedication. Even within the past year I’ve noticed significant growth in my writing. To write better I’ve had to practice both by writing and by reading. It’s hard to make myself sit down and pen new words everyday, but I know each sentence makes some sort of difference. Writing helps you get a better feel for the language, and for the style that you write best in.

There will be critics

Publication of your writing also releases it into the unforgiving hands of the internet, of those who will be unrelenting and often unfair in their criticism.We live in an age where people mount their digital devices and leave their criticism solely for the chance to troll. Picking out the noteworthy critics from the sea of them is paramount.

But, from what I’ve heard, if someone doesn’t hate your work, then you weren’t doing it right anyways.

It is all worth it

Of all the other jobs and hobbies I’ve entertained, nothing has ever stuck quite like writing. It gives me the ability to pursue my imagination and release my emotions all at once. I would take the uncertainty and difficulty over writing over anything. It has undeniably carved my personality and life outlook. There’s an inexplicable feeling I get when I see my ideas transferred from my mind into tangible stories on paper.

And most of all, it allows me to be me at my fullest all the time.

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