A Writer Writes

A writer writes.

That’s a big frustration for me recently, a lot of people call themselves writers but you’re not a writer unless you’re actually writing.  Stephen King says he writes ten pages every day.  It’s a piece of advice in every how-to guide to writing, if you want to be a writer, you need to write.

I take it more literally as well.  If you’re not writing, how can you be a writer.  A lawyer that doesn’t practice isn’t a lawyer.  A plumber that doesn’t plumb isn’t a plumber.  If you want to be a writer, you need to write.

I’m not trying to preach about it, but you should do what you want to do.  If you’re compelled to write or do art, write and do art.

I have this fear of becoming a nine-to-fiver in some office.  It baffles me that no one aspires to work in an office yet millions of people do.  No kid dreams of running the rat race, and commuting, and pushing papers all day in their cubicle.  But people get lazy and uninspired and the next thing you know, bam, you’re forty-five in a cubicle and you’ve never crossed the ocean or written your magnum opus or painted it or performed it.

It took me a long time to realize it.  After I finished my English degree I didn’t really know what I was going to do.  I got my heating and air-conditioning license but returned to school when I realized that working the typical job was not what I’d always wanted to do.

There’s a picture of me, three years old, playing on my grandma’s typewriter at her desk.  I’ve always loved that desk, and at some point the vintage teak desk made it’s way into my bedroom.  I still love sitting at it.  And I’ve never not wanted to write.  There’s been times when I didn’t write, and times where I didn’t read (maybe more than a year, but who’s counting).

I’m at my internship. It’s unpaid, and there’s lots of writing, and sometimes it’s dry, but I do it happily, it’s good practice.  I don’t have to be here, it doesn’t even affect my education at this point.  I’m here because I want to do my craft.

I realized that writing is something I’ve always wanted to do, and so damn it, I’m going to do it.  People should do what they truly want.  There’s that one thing that made you happiest as a child, figure out how to make a career out of it and then do it.

But if you want to write, then write.  If you call yourself an artist, do art.  If you say you’re a musician, play music.  And take it in.  Always read, always observe art, always listen to music.  Immerse yourself in the craft, but don’t say you’re a writer/artist/musician if you’re only doing it for the paycheque or the recognition.  No one has ever made a living in an art that wasn’t their passion.  I know it’s a risk, but it’s well worth it.

Now think about how many times I wrote “write,” if that’s not passionate, I don’t know what is.


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