Writing is like a job. And, for some writers like myself, hearing something like that is one of the worst things you could hear. I was always turned off by the word ‘job’ when implied to writing. It implied something you had to do – and writing – it wasn’t something I had to do, rather something I was compelled to do. Sitting down at my laptop, with my fingers bashing against the keys, never felt like work. And I absolutely hated when anyone in my family called it that.
Some writers –inexperienced writers – claim that they don’t have to write every day to be good at their craft. You have the gift of putting emotions into words. Those words linger on your every thought until they battle to escape your lips and bleed onto an empty page. Talent like that is rare – but you’re not doing yourself any favors if you actually believe you’re above practicing.
To advance your career in the writing field, you need to write – every…single…day. You need to fight through exhaustion at 6:00am in the morning and write about that exhaustion. Write about how it feels to first wake up in the morning – what are those emotions? Write about your dreams, or the lack there of. Write about what you dreamt of most as a child. The time has passed, your coffee has cooled and you’ve suddenly unlocked those memories of your childhood – the nightmares of the monster inside your closet, your dream of one day flying into space – they’ve become roots for your story. You take those words, and turn them into memories, and then you do what all prolific writers do: you turn those memories into emotions. You paint them across an empty page. You bring to life what once started as a 6:00am wakeup call into words that your reader will relate to; words you will find solace in; words that will indubitably mean something for years to come.
I often think back to when I was fifteen and a member of my high school’s tennis team. As much as I loved the game, I hated practicing. Why would I run around the track three times and exhaust myself before playing a game? Due to my mindset, I was the worst member on my team, and probably a large issue as to why we never made it to the city championship.
You can’t view writing the same way I viewed my high school tennis team. Being a writer is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding titles you can give yourself. The art of the craft is always changing, just as we – the writers – are continually growing, continually evolving. We experience fear, anxiety, and heartbreak fiercer and louder than anyone else. We feel love pouring into our palms. We intensify the beauty of taking a walk in nature, in romance, in even the most disastrous love stories with the bitterest endings. We write about what we know – and what we don’t. We write about those scars that time has yet to heal.
Before we know it we eventually find our groove. We find our interests, our niche. We find subject matters that resonate with us perfectly. But we only get there with practice. As a writer, you need to do the most basic form of activity – write. You need to write about it all: what moves you, what distracts you, what inspires you. Write it all, and write it every damn day for the rest of your damn life, because being a writer is the toughest ‘job’ you’ll ever have – but one of the most rewarding.