There is one question that a lot of people ask me when I say that I’m a writer. And I’ll admit that sometimes I ask myself that too. The question is “Why?”
Why write? Why put your hopes of a future into the hands of a job with no fixed salary or benefits? Why not go to college and become a doctor or computer tech or something else with an impressive degree and hefty paycheck? Why do you spend all your time on the computer?
And the truth is… I don’t have a single answer. I’ve got answers. Plural. For example: I spend all my time on the computer because it’s where literally everything important is nowadays.
I’m a writer because, honestly, nothing else appeals to me. It’s all just meh. It might be interesting for a quick read here or there, but I’d be bored to tears if I actually made myself sit through a class or (*shudders*) get a job in it. Probably the same reason school was all so blah. There’s all these “core subjects” and assignments and essays and just things in general that are really never going to be useful unless you get one very specific job. I mean, physics? Really? That’s just… so not me.
Regarding writing, it’s all your choice. Want a crazy adventure? Fine! Go for it. Cozy romance? Hard-boiled thriller? Nail-biting suspense or cheesy dialogue that makes you giggle? A talking animal companion? Pick and choose. The point is, it’s always in your control, and it’s always different, so there’s no chance of it getting repetitive. And I like to think of myself as reasonably prose-minded, so I think I’ve got talent.
Then there’s the fact that my stories are real. I mean, I know they’re not *real* real. Obviously. I mean that they’re real to me. They’re real on paper and in my mind. I remember reading something that someone said: writers are the only people who hear voices and aren’t crazy. And it’s true. They’re real people to me, and they want to be written about.
Lastly, I honestly just don’t care as much about the money aspect as I probably should. I mean, money is great. And getting paid to do what I love is great. And I would absolutely adore being able to afford a really nice place, to be able to afford to go to fancy stores and spend… $200 or something on books (what? I don’t do that… *grin*). But, if I can’t manage that at first, it’s fine. Because writing isn’t a career where your income is fixed at a low number. It constantly grows. Yes, it grows slowly. It might take ten years to get a decent income going. Maybe twenty. It depends on your books and how fast you write. But the point is, money comes and goes. Doesn’t matter what you do for a living. And if I have to take a part-time job to pay for what I love until it pays for itself, so be it.
But still, getting paid to write is pretty sweet.
I know some people reading this are gonna think I’m crazy. I’ve noticed a lot of people who have never wrote a story seem to think that it’s easy. Maybe because everyone has to write a story in elementary school? But it’s not like that.
It’s blood, sweat and tears (Okay, well hopefully not blood. But the other two, absolutely). Ever heard of carpal tunnel (ouch)? And then there’s the fact that I don’t know how some writers can put their little people through so much pain and misery (*cough* George R. R. Martin *cough*). And just writing the first draft can take anywhere from a month to half a year, to even a year, depending on the length of the book and how fast you write. Then there’s the editing, and the proofreading, and probably some more editing when you read that section that’s not quite right yet, and more proofreading because you misspelled “accessibility” in the seventh chapter, and…
You get the point.
Writing is not easy. It’s not like writing something for a sixth-grade teacher. There’s more pressure, more self-censorship, that sort of thing. Forget about my grade; this is my life.
Or, you know, I could order pizza and settle down for a Stargate SG-1 marathon. That’s a great idea too. It’s a choice. And I choose to write.