If you’re not willing to suffer through hours, days, weeks and yes, even months of not being able to write anything useable, then I’ve got some shocking news for you, writing isn’t for you.
Writing isn’t all about glory.
Want-to-be-writers (and I call them want-to-be’s for a reason) tell me all the time about the great books they have in them, how many people are going to want their autographs, and the blockbuster movies that will be made from their work.
It’s going to be absolutely, deliriously, glorious, they say. But it’s BS.
Sure, those things might happen and praise be to those who actually get to live such a dream. But let’s be clear, it’s a dream and dreams like that don’t happen unless you’re willing to suffer for them.
Suffer? What the hell are you talking about, Bryan? I said it’s going to be glorious. I didn’t say anything about suffering!
Don’t get me wrong, I had the wondrous dream about raving positive reviews from critics, too. They’d state my work is the best ever written. And I mean, ever. They’d blow sunshine up my you-know-what and it would come out of my eyes and ears. Heck, I’d sneeze glitter.
Hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big. (You can tweet that too, if you like.)
However, the reality is a bit different than that and I’m okay with it. I’m fortunate to have gotten some great reviews, but I also know what it feels like to get stung with one star reviews and receive hate emails telling me my writing is the worst ever. And they do mean, ever.
Oh, how it burns.
Dreaming about the glory is one thing, but what are you willing to struggle through to get it? What are you willing to fail at?
Those are most important questions you will ever ask yourself about your dream. If you’re not willing to struggle and endure the pain of failure, then do something else.
What’s worth the pain? What’s worth the tears? What’s worth people tearing down your best efforts just so they can feel better about themselves? Yeah, I said it. More importantly, though, I’m asking it.
What’s worth it? What’s really worth it to you? Be honest.
Are you willing to sit in front of a computer from 5am until 6pm and maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a paragraph, nay, just a sentence that is salvageable?
If writing truly is your passion then that mere sentence is the holy grail of what we do.
5am until 6pm? That’s nothing. Try midnight. We’ll pay the price, time and time again.
Yeah, writers like you and me, we’re weird because we are willing to sit and sit and sit, until the words finally come. And if they don’t come? Well, we’ll sit there again tomorrow and the day after that. Whatever it takes and however long it takes. Every time.
That’s reality. And if that makes us weird, so be it.
It’s better than chasing a dream that you’re not even willing to struggle for.
If you’re not willing to get calluses on your fingers from learning to play the guitar then don’t bother trying to realize the dream of playing lead guitar in a rock and roll band. You’re wasting everyone’s time. Dream it. That’s okay, but call it what it is, just a dream and leave it at that.
A dream that you’re willing to work for no matter what it takes, that, my friend, is your passion.
If you have a dream that you are willing to get calluses for, to do the work, to struggle, to fail, and to maybe, just maybe, mind you, succeed eventually, then you’re on to something. You’ll get up early for that dream. You’ll bleed tears for that dream.
It’s passion. That’s what it’s all about.
Never begrudge the hard work you do working for your passion. Let the naysayers say you are wasting your time, your energy, even your life, but not you – no, not you.
You know, we’re a funny bunch, we writers. I receive emails on a regular basis from writers in the trenches overwhelmed with doubt. They want to know how they can rid themselves of anxiety and just write a few words that will mean something.
Well, you know what, friends? You are a writer because you are willing to do whatever it damn well takes.
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LET ANYTHING STAND IN YOUR WAY
Not even something as devastatingly cruel as Writer’s Doubt.
That’s what writers do. We endure and thrive because we continue to strive despite fear and doubt.
Yeah, I’ll say it, you’re a badass!
You’re a writer.
Struggle. And do the work.
Get rejected. And do more work.
Feel the fear. And work even more.
Tremble with anxiety from doubt. And again, you press on and do the work.
Who does that?
A writer does that. If that’s not badass I don’t know what is.
You’re in the game!
Will you ever write a bestseller? You might. And if you don’t? Keep going, keep writing, keep batting, and your next at bat might be your homerun.
But think about it, living your passion is the furthest homerun you’ll ever hit.
It’s the struggles we live for that define our true passion. Never resent or regret them.
Instead, keep doing what writers do, embrace your struggles and get back to work. That’s what it means to be a writer, minus all the BS.
Are you in? Share in the comments.