To many, writing looks like a cool enough profession. Exotic travel, celebrity interviews, big-time paychecks, insider information and lavish invitations to every bash and gala in the city.
Yes, it may seem like writers live the life. At least if you allow Hollywood to write that script. But, the reality is that writers — most of us, anyway–will cop to a much different existence than the ones romanticized on the silver screen.
The fact is writing is often a solitary profession that chooses you; not the other way around. It’s a calling that most will admit can be a painful slog, especially considering the transformation that the industry is now experiencing.
How do you know if this is the life for you?
Here are a few thoughts:
- Enjoy the spotlight much? Always want to be in on the action? If so, then writing may not be for you. Most writers are often seen as shy and retiring creatures. Maybe even moody. Actually, writers are observant souls who feel more comfortable watching and then reporting on the action. They view their role as an honest and diligent recorder of the world around them. They paint their version of the human condition with their words. They often do not pursue the limelight, rather find ways to convey its glare with the perfectly constructed sentence.
- Planning to live like the rich and famous? Look for a different profession. Yes, the writing world has its share of success stories. Who hasn’t heard of single mother J.K. Rowling’s meteoric rise to fame and fortune? However, such tales are quite uncommon. Most writers write because it is something they feel compelled to do. Nothing else. Many will admit that the job is less than lucrative.
- Want to travel and see the world as you prepare to write the great American novel? If your bank account will permit such an extravagance, book the flight. But, most writers have no such options, nor is there some wealthy publishing house eager to foot the bill for the trip. Rather they create the settings in their novels the old-fashioned way — through extensive reading and research. They reach out to other writers. And, most importantly, they tap their imaginations for inspired writing.
- Feel like you’ve got the whole writing thing under control? Then, this job is not for you. True writers view themselves as artists, unwilling to compromise their passion or settle for a sour phrase. They devote hours to revising their work. They network with colleagues. They rendezvous with readers. They submit their manuscripts to other writers for feedback, to editors for clarity. They rip apart their stories and start all over again. Writers are rarely satisfied with their writing and often admit to a dogged pursuit of perfection.
For just these reasons — and probably a few more — one should not dive into this worthy profession without some considerable thought.
But there are some wonderful reasons that you should write. And chances are, as a true writer, you already know what they are.
Kerri S. Mabee