I want you to take a moment and think of your favorite television series. Or perhaps think about your favorite movie. Video game? Play? Book? Magazine? How about that witty website you like to visit? Now imagine all of those pieces of entertainment that you enjoy on a day to day basis and remove one thing for me: The Writers. You can’t, can you? It doesn’t work without the genius behind the script or story that then gets pushed into something more. Sure, the actors are important, the graphics are wonderful. But without someone to write the story, it all falls apart.
Recently during a few conversations that have popped up with some of my writing pals and some instances of frustration happening to me personally, I found myself sad to find how little people seem to value those who dedicate their lives to writing. While I am not a published author yet or as successful as the household names, I have a bit of an understanding when it comes to the hours of dedication, heartache, and doubt that comes with being a writer.
There seems to be this odd stigma out there that all writers are one of two things. They are either savants in their art and make it big out the gate, an overnight success so to speak. Or, they are phony, not serious enough, and passed off as a simple hobbyist with no hope. This view is incredibly narrowminded and misinformed. The majority of writers who have broken out took years of practice, honing their craft and a lot of rejection before they made it to where they are now. It was their persistence that paid off, not their natural talent.
People have this almost romanticized idea of what life is as a creative. They think it’s all roses and flowery words. That you create a masterpiece and then someone finds you. Or that you simply have to wait for the stars to align. If you ever sat down and looked at the process a writer has to go through to become a screenwriter, publish a book, work on a movie, work on website articles, or any other career opportunities you would find that while you can just paint a pretty resume with experience of where you worked and when. Writers, on the other hand, have to prove their skill with actual examples of their creative work. They have to work harder, network more, and put in hours of unpaid work just to get a nibble of appreciation.
On top of the fact that they have to tackle these challenges every time they attempt to get anywhere in their writing career, they also have to ride the emotional roller coaster of doubt, jubilation, frustration, and excitement as they work. It can be exhausting and it takes hours out of their lives. They have to dedicate their time to honing their craft, writing more than what will probably ever hit the publishing press, and somehow balance the rest of their lives alongside it. So, when I hear people mocking others for wasting their time writing in place of a real career I want to shake them and make them see their hypocrisy. I get it, it’s not for everyone. And while yes, you have to be responsible and make sure you have a backup plan if what you are doing doesn’t make you enough money to eat. That doesn’t mean that a writer’s passion or dedication is a joke.
Writing is a valid career choice. It is a wonderful expression of what wells inside us trying to come out. Is it all perfection? No. But those who dedicate years of their lives to create and share their work should not be looked down upon.