Reasons to Keep Writing

I recently stumbled on this article on The Daily Beast: 22 More Reasons to Stop Writing.

From a glance at that list (and the website that inspired it), it would seem that most of the people Pamela Redmond and the original blogger are discouraging from writing are people who actually aren’t interested in being writers, but in the romantic idea of being a writer. “You Think Anyone Can Be a Writer,” “You Don’t Buy Books (So Why Would Anyone Buy Yours?),” “You Don’t Read What You’re Writing,” “You’re a Cliche Abuser”… none of these apply to me or any of the people I know who are seriously pursuing writing as an actual profession.

There is a percentage of the population who think that being a writer is sitting down jauntily at a typewriter for a few hours, writing something brilliant, and dashing it off to the New Yorker for a giant check, instead of knowing that 1.) Writers read a lot, 2.) Writers write a lot. Both of which seem obvious to me, but not to someone who doesn’t understand what writing entails. (And I think that reason that this is so common is that being an astronaut, or a doctor, or a hundred other things, requires a known set of skills – everyone knows you can’t just quit your job and go be an astronaut, because you have to have a certain background in math and science and lots of school and degrees. But because writing doesn’t need any of those things – plenty of writers have no formal schooling of any kind – that translates in people’s brains to: “I can just become a writer!” Which is to say that people assume that “no formal training” = “anyone can do it,” which is obviously not true)

And even the ones that do apply to people pursuing writing as a profession — “13. Whatever you write today, you’re just going to hate tomorrow anyway” — yeah, okay. That’s definitely part of the process. But it doesn’t always happen, and you know what? Sometimes you’ve gotta push through stuff that you’re not sure about. Sometimes, a project that you’re sick of looking at will be fresh and wonderful to a reader.

So, to adapt what Pamela Redmond is saying: If you don’t realize what being a writer actually entails, then yes, please stop writing. If not – keep going. Don’t stop don’t stop don’t stop.

One thought on “Reasons to Keep Writing

  1. I rather had the impression that middle-aged ladies called Judy were significantly more likely to write and sell books than anyone under 25 or from a third-world country.

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