Recently, a friend mentioned that she was thinking about writing—as in pursuing it as a career.
“I mean, how hard can it be, right? I like reading books and I’ve always wanted to write one. I believe I can do it.”
Should I tell her? Should I prick that golden bubble of innocence with a cold, hard dose of truth?
I knew by the stars in her eyes she envisioned something far different from the nitty-gritty, day in, day out, nuts and bolts thing we know as writing.
“And I know it’ll take work, but I don’t mind work.”
The more she talked about the written word, the more animated she grew.
As it so often goes with conversations like this, my friend went on for several minutes, espousing her lifelong wish to pen the novels of her heart.
“Sounds like the writing bug’s bit you, for sure.” I remembered those feelings.
And then I remembered others. The bittersweet ones that are tough to swallow, but necessary in the learning curve.
I tempered my thoughts with some polite niceties, but then my friend pressed.
“Okay, Cindy. Tell me. What are you not saying? What’s something I should know about the writing life?”
“It’s a unique calling…”
“No buts. That has a negative connotation. Let’s say and. And writing’s something that will always matter.”
Here are 10 more things I eventually told my friend about the writing life.
1. Writing will consume you. You’ll learn to juggle your passion through trial and error. There’s no shortcut around experience.
2. Writing will test your mettle. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Professionally. Rise above pettiness. Seek wise counsel. Stay the course.
3. Writing will challenge your comfort zones. Expect it. Accept it. You’ll write best beyond those zones.
4. You won’t always love writing. Some days you may hate it. Don’t worry. That will pass. If it doesn’t, rethink writing.
5. Writing with publication as your goal demands time. Sometimes lots of it. Months. Years.
6. Writing is lonely sometimes. Align your troops—those go-to souls who get your art.
7. Realize writing is a different medium. One size doesn’t fit all. In fact, the writing life rarely makes sense to those who don’t live it.
8. Writing is an honorable calling. When naysayers tell you otherwise (and they will), remember who you’re writing for.
9. Writing will shred your self-confidence. God will restore it.
10. The writing life will change you. You won’t live with what if. You’ll write it.
Melissa Tagg once said this and I asked permission to quote her.
“It’s so true that writing is a lot of work. It takes research and dedication and so much stubbornness it’s not even funny. But man…it is also soooo fun and so filled with magical moments. And there’s a divine mystery to it. Because for all the craft books and classes and conferences that help us grow as writers, we can’t force those perfect nights when the story starts telling itself…the characters start breathing…and the plot comes alive. That’s when I know there’s something more than my own brain at work. That’s when I know I’m not doing this storytelling thing alone.”
*This post first appeared on my blog.
What have you discovered about the writing life?
Does your current career path align with your heart’s desire?
If not, what steps are you taking to correct that?
Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances.
“Cindy” has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.
Cindy loves to connect with friends at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/
She also hangs out here:
For love, fun, and encouragement ~