Thought Catalog

What It Is To Write

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Writing is an individual event. One must have the motivation and tenacity to sit down in front of their laptop consistently and face the dreaded blank screen. Hoping the words your fingertips pound out will actually form something comprehensible. And if they form something comprehensible, will it actually be something that someone will want to read? And if it’s something someone will want to read, will what you attempt to convey be what they perceive? These are the questions that a writer asks himself when he sits down to write whatever piece he is working on.

Like any art, one must be willing to dredge through the bitter loneliness. No one sees your struggle to churn out that silly anecdote, philosophical rant, or witty observation. No one cares if it took you thirty minutes or six hours to piece together those 1800 words they read in three minutes. No one will come up to you in the coffee shop and ask you what you’re writing about and eagerly listen.

You must take full responsibility for the effort you put in. No one is going to call you before you go to sleep and ask you how many words you wrote today or how you better get your ass in gear and work on your new post. No one is going to yell in your ear and tell you to write more and write faster. No one, really, is thinking about what you’re doing to hone your craft. They’re too busy with their own lives and worries.

Its up to you. Rare is the parent who wishes their kid to be a writer, as opposed to a doctor or engineer. Rare is the employer, who cares about your ability to write whimsical tales as opposed to having the proper skills for the job. Rare is the friend who is willing to help you through the muck that are rough drafts. Rarely will anybody tell you that writing is what you should do instead of using that energy elsewhere.

Writing is a cruel art. Cruel because it teases your mind when it’s unable to grasp the proper words or ideas to pour onto a piece. Cruel because once you finally grasps those words for that sentence, the next sentence is placed in front you. One’s mental capacity is constantly being pushed to its outer limits. It’s a disheartening and unnerving craft, because sometimes your best words go unacknowledged. With each step taken forward, the hill slightly inclines a bit.

Writing is a loving art. Loving because once your artistic threshold has been pushed, it nourishes your mind and reinvigorates it into something slightly more grandeur. Loving because once you finish a piece, you immediately forget the feeling of hopelessness that once consumed you. In its place, accomplishment and self-satisfaction. Loving because the words you write are an expression of your very core as a human being. You created something that, a moment before, didn’t exist. You contributed to your culture, in a very small, but special way.

You have to be willing to take the hits to your ego as a piece you diligently worked on for hours goes unnoticed. You have to adopt the mentality that each piece, however grand or small, is nothing more than a brick placed towards building yourself as writer. Some will gather more attention than others, but even the most impressive structure has countless small bricks as support. Don’t forget that the world operates on a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. You’re only as good as your last piece, for the writer who dwells too long on his past success is a has-been.

Writing is self-absorbed and pretentious. It’s feeling that for whatever farfetched reason, people will actually care what you have to say about any subject whatsoever. It’s feeling that your uniqueness as a special snowflake is so god damn remarkable, that another special snowflake will take time away from their own little special snowflake existence to read what your special snowflake ass has to say. As the old maxim goes: it requires the foolishness to try, and the cockiness to think you can actually succeed.

Writing, in its simplest form, is putting words on paper. Like a skilled wordsmith, you must bend them to your will. Whether they be for good or evil, humor or grief, fact or fiction, they are yours for the taking. The only thing stopping you is whether you’re willing to dig deep enough to harness their power. TC mark

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