Being a writer isn’t easy.
I think there’s this common misconception that writers do nothing but sit at a desk that overlooks nature and compose perfect sentence after perfect sentence while taking the occasional sip of coffee and letting out a relaxed sigh. Birds are singing, the sun is shining, and everything is peace and bliss as the writer sits back and watches the money pour in from royalties.
Ah, if only that were true for all of us…
The first day of NaNoWriMo was Last Friday. Like many fellow writers who have yet to have a novel published, my day was spent in a variety of places, all of which did not include a country cottage in the middle of spring. In fact, it was spent driving across the county on one hour’s worth of sleep and squeezing in some writing time after dinner late that night. Yeah, not your ideal writing conditions, let me tell you. And though I can’t speak for every other writer, I’m willing to believe that most of the other people who wrote that day did not spend their time in a country cottage as well.
It’s a shocker, I know.
The truth is being a writer is often times difficult, busy, and downright stressful. For those of us who can make a living as writers, there’s drafts, revisions, and long days staring at the computer screen. Many of them are sitting in an office not just sipping coffee but guzzling it because they’ve been trying to meet the ever-approaching deadline. For those of us who make our living elsewhere (myself included), we fit writing into whatever time we can-early in the morning, lunch time, late at night while everyone else is asleep. We write wherever it’s convenient. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled a notebook from beside the bed in the middle of the night and write an idea down with my only light being a flashlight app from my phone.
The writing process itself is also difficult. Though some are very fortunate to have the ability to create prose and poetry that is brilliant in a few hours, most of us go through countless edits and revisions of our stories until we have every bit of detail right. My first idea for a novel has been a work in progress for ten years and counting. Ten years! When I first started writing, I thought it’d be finished in a few months. Boy, was I wrong. Writing is often a long process in which some projects take months, years, or even decades to complete. Some projects never get completed at all. The writing process is long, hard, and at times grueling. It doesn’t just ask for patience-it demands it.
But even though writing can be hard and difficult, the rewards and joy it brings are worth every late night and revision. Being a writer is not just work, but it’s an art-and a joy. It’s our way of bringing our imagination to life or sending a message we normally wouldn’t have the words to say. It’s a way for us to attain a legacy that can last for generations to come. It teaches, encourages, corrects, and beautifies. And for many of us who feel writing is our calling, it’s not just a part of our life-it is our life.
So even though I’m not sitting in that cottage, sipping tea (yeah, I’m not a coffee drinker-sorry), I’m still living the writer’s life.