I belong to several writing groups on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. I read quite a bit about writing. Sometimes I even write about writing (which still kills me that anybody would care what I have to say about writing). From everything I’ve managed to gather over the last several years most people who write feel as if they have to write.
Most of them don’t seem too specific as to whether it is a genetic imperative, or an environmental phenomenon, but something drives them to write, forces them to write. I suppose I’m no different, I’ve just never really given it that much thought. I prefer to look at it as a hobby.
But, I have always wanted to be a writer. I remember when I was much younger, and I went to Montgomery Wards and bought my first typewriter. Sitting there with my erasable bond paper loaded on the carriage. I was a terrible typist, I still am, and every day I thank the gods of technology for word processing software with spell check. I wrote some good stuff, I’m sure (actually, I’m not that sure, but nobody knows), but never knew what to do with it. This was before the internet, this might have been before fax machines, and I ended up tossing it out during one move or another.
Now, there are opportunities for writers everywhere. It is a golden time to write. I write a monthly column, contribute to several other sites, and just see my name all over the place. And that is the thrill.
Being involved in so many online writing forums it is easy to find people whose dream of writing is not really about writing at all, it is about being paid to write. Which, I suppose makes this a terrible time to be a writer if your dream is to make a living, because there is so much competition. As another writer said; “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
But, for me, it is a dream come true, seeing my name attached to something I wrote, splashed across the world wide web. Man, I can dig it. Yes, I do get paid occasionally, which is also a thrill, but I could never write if it were about money. It isn’t even really about fame, I don’t think it is anyway, it is about thinking something I do is good enough to be considered “writing.” It sends a thrill directly to whatever part of my brain controls the ego.
Even now when I am up to my eyeballs in writing a novel I still stop to send submissions to places, just to be a “writer” see my name on something. One site, who has published a few of my stories, sent one back, with such sympathy and so much regret, saying it just wasn’t good enough, and he was so sorry. And it wasn’t. It was two stories crammed into one story, ad-hoc and rickety. Had I taken the time either of the tales might have been good enough, but I wanted to get back to my novel. There are no shortcuts in writing. I thanked him apologized for sending something so incomplete, and told him not to worry about it I hear “no thank you” all the time. Writers have to take rejection with grace.
There is only one sure way to be a writer; you have to write. Sure, you need to re-write and you need to edit, but you can’t do any of that until you write something. And if you are a writer then you will know, as soon as you see the process, the progress, start thinking about the words, the sentence, the paragraph. I am a writer, it isn’t what I do for a living, but it is what I do. Writing is a hobby, an obsession, an art form, it is what you make of it. To me, it is a dream realized, and still being dreamed.