Being a writer

First, I’d like you to watch this video. It’s really short, and I assure you it won’t be a waste of your time. Then, I’d like to tell you how much I agree with what Chuck Lorre had to say about writing.

I’m an ardent believer in the fact that all great writing comes from a place of truth, from a place well hidden inside our soul. I believe that those elements that are based on our own experiences, faults, and beliefs give substance to a story. I can see many writers who are reluctant about that. I can also understand why. It’s the most difficult thing to do. Once you start writing about yourself, in one way or another, you realize how difficult it really is.Being a writer is tough. It’s probably one of the most difficult jobs on the Planet. Because it’s the one job where, no matter how successful you become, you always have to start with a blank page. A page that doesn’t know and neither cares who you are. And that is frightening. Also, if you’re a real writer, you’ll never get the feeling that you’re good. You’ll still feel like writing shitty drafts, there will always be plenty of room for doubt.

Being a writer also means that to some people you might be the best writer ever and to some you’ll be the worst. Art is subjective; you should get used to criticism if you want to make it.

Being  a writer is also about perseverance. You have to write and write and write. The world excepts nothing less than this kind of commitment from you. It’s a world of small steps – so small that at times you’ll feel like standing still. It’s also a world where shortcuts are short lived.

And, in the end, the world of a writer is a world where all odds are against you. Statistically, you’ll never earn enough to make a living out of writing alone.

So, patience is a virtue.

There are no shortcuts, no easy way out.

But if you write something you feel strongly about, people will respond. People will either love it or hate it, will either love you for it or hate you for it. Also, it means exposing yourself, it means that you have to be willing to let others dissect your most intimate thoughts.

Writing may be one of the most solitary of jobs, but it also means that you have to be willing to share your work with the world, to let everyone know who you are and how you feel. And no matter how you call your writing, no matter if you make it wear the camouflage of fiction, it’s still you, just you underneath all the embellishments.

In a way, there’s this odd convention at work. Readers read fiction, knowing it’s just made believe, but they also know that every story holds a bit of truth, a bit of the artist. The empathy of it all, the parts that are to be hated or loved. To be understood, absorbed, discarded as fake, irrelevant, harmful.

Writing is about people. It’s not about characters or pretty phrases. It’s about being honest to yourself, about analyzing who you are as a person. In a work of fiction, just like in a dream, you’re each and everyone of the characters. And those parts, the parts based on the real world, are always the ones that shine the brightest.

Every time I sit at my desk and start writing I know that it’s going to be painful. There’s no anesthetic, no painkillers. If you write real stories, it never comes easy. It’s always frightening. It’s not just work, just another job. It’s not enjoyable. It’s painful.

Some might rightfully ask, “Why write? If it hurts, why even bother?”

It’s not masochism, it’s realizing that all great things require a sacrifice. There’s no way to avoid it. The rewards come after you finish writing. When you realize that your story affects people, that it makes them laugh or cry, that it makes them think, it makes them smile. But the act of writing is not meant to be easy, fun, pleasurable.

The act of writing is just as painful as sticking a needle through your skin. In time, you might get used to the pain, but it will never stop hurting.


15 thoughts on “Being a writer

  1. Ahh, perfectly put! That’s why I switched to blogging humor cuz I became a chicken. You can always say “just kidding” when met with criticism. But slowly I started pen-naming my “real stuff” so I didn’t feel so exposed. And now I’m on my way to becoming brave enough to start truly owning it. And I’ll just let the words AND the pain flow out together and hopefully they’ll both integrate into something somewhat meaningful to others. Thanks for this!

  2. I went back and forth a bit about just this but I have been trying to be more real when writing now. Not that I was ever fake but I force myself to include things now even if it’s slightly uncomfortable. Thank you for this. I aspire to be a freelance writer/blogger like you. I absolutely love the way you write. Thank you so much for your inspiration. 🙂

  3. Tears welled up… don’t know why but when I write pieces of poetry I cry, then feel foolish. Writing is the best way I can truly express my thoughts, my feeling/s…

  4. Great post. It’s definitely not easy but one of the things I love about writing is that you’re basically putting yourself onto the page. Pain, experiences, thoughts, demons and more. Writing is also an escape and that’s why it’s so great 😌

  5. I do agree with him, but sometimes I think its harder than it should be to discover what you really want to write about. So many ideas can seem awesome only to lose their luster. Just my take on it!

    – Lily

  6. Great advice, great piece. Thank you
    When I was entering junior high school in 1964, my foster mom had heard of a school in Hollywood where Rod Serling had been a guest teacher, and sent them a couple of my poems and short stories. I received a letter back from Rod, addressed from NY, suggesting that I find another avenue to express myself. Writing was probably not a good fit for me. I did not write another poem for 3 years, or another story for 8.

  7. I wrote fiction, when I was younger, but I always gravitated towards poetry. I sometimes joke that I am writing poetry, because it is shorter and I don’t have to spend that much time on it. But sometimes, when I stare at a single misplaced word or a line that doesn’t quite fit for an hour… I see that I might be wrong.

    But maybe this is a way of tricking myself into writing. One poem at a time. I can live from my dayjob, so I have the luxury to write when I want… and again this is not completely true, because I really NEED to write and sometimes I feel that the more I take out of the pool, the deeper it gets. And the edges tend to be slippery. But I’m straying. Intriguing post!

    Yet I have to disagree on one bit: Many poems I really enjoyed writing, there might be some pain, but often it is also quite enjoyable watching my mind at work, once I enter that infamous “flow”.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.