Let No Man Define You

Life as a Writer

Okay, look. I’m not doing a class on how to be a writer and I'm not exactly a life coach. But, sometimes, certain people need to hear the truth. Namely, people who want to write, and the people who declare they can’t. Screw them, btw.

I don’t care if it’s your mom, your dad, your sister, your lover, or your reflection. If they are telling you that being a writer is for other people, people who are magically special, somehow, they are wrong. W.R.O.N.G. You want the horrible—and beautiful—truth? There is only one criteria for being a writer. You write. Like WOW, right? No, we aren’t special just because we write. But that’s the beautiful thing. We are ordinary. We live next door, on the bottom floor, in ordinary houses, and under the stairs… wait… sorry, that last one is stalker, not writer. Our abilities are quiet and not very remarkable to watch. But we have this determination to capture the world by placing words in a particular order. Writers aren’t special in the way of being better than anyone. Just in the way they relate to words. Accountants like numbers. Computer programmers can understand the language of computers. And writers tell stories. It is beautiful and it is work. If writers were, somehow, different from everyone else on earth, then how could they ever write about ordinary people? And who wants to read something they can’t see themselves in?

Someone tonight tried to hint that I’m going around trying to impress people by pretending to be a writer. Which shows exactly how little they know about me. My single biggest talent is having an intense imagination. Think Walter Mitty level intense. It is, in almost every other area of my life, a burden and a disability. Because connecting fully with reality is hard for me and I’m extremely distracted on my best days. In school, this translated to abysmal grades. I suffer from insomnia because my head refuses to turn off. During conversations, I sometimes go bye bye and that means people think I don’t care what they have to say. Of course, it’s just that brain of mine getting away from me. But my writing allows me to use that annoying quirk.

What I’m saying here is that 1, a flaw is just something you haven’t figured out how to use to your advantage and 2, you want to write? WRITE. We need more books; the movie reboots are getting really old. And I need more stories to read. But, when someone looks down their nose at you and suggests that writing isn’t *real* work, ask them to sit down and write you a short story. One that’s good. Hell. One that just makes sense. Yeah. That makes them give the haughty ‘I could if I wanted’. And maybe they could. But they are too busy trampling all over you, spending their time trying hard to kick the legs out from under your chair and never asking themselves why they feel like they need to. So, there’s that. I don’t lift anything. I don’t break a sweat every day. I’m not saving the world. I am using what the universe gave me to give other people something that might make them smile. Or cry. Or check under the bed at night. And you know what? I am darn happy with that. Is it easy? Not always. It’s work. But it is work I love. As far as I’m concerned, if the definition of work means everyone has to hate their job and always be struggling just to make themselves do it in the name of money, count me out. I’d rather live under a bridge and pan handle on the street than spend eight hours a day and 60 years doing something that murders my soul in the name of gaining whatever pale, pathetic sliver of respect this would earn me from people who would then proceed to jump on all my other faults – and there are plenty. I’m not a fairy princess. Duh. But I’m good with that; I’m a collector of weird and a lover of words. That is so much better in my book. Life is too short for you to go around hating it. Too. God. Damned. Short.

So. You want to write? Go write. And, whenever someone tells you that it isn’t work and you aren’t smart/special enough, remember. Screw them. Define who you are and what you’re capable of and remember that bitter, angry people only want one thing: company at their table of misery. As for those who enjoy this lifestyle of happiness theft and "for your own good medicine," I have a suggestion you should try instead. Live to inspire. Live to lift other ordinary people into their happy place. Because running around telling people they are not good enough is a sad, unhealthy way to spend your life. Poison the well and you will only have poison to drink. Fill it with goodness and watch yourself thrive.

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