by Elisabeth Wong
Alright, there’s just no denying it: we’re crazy. We just… we’re… I mean, yeah, everyone’s crazy to a certain extent, but being a writer is like the legal, non-institutionalized way of actually being insane.
Look at us. We talk about characters like they’re real or something. (Which they are, just… just by the way.)
Chances are, you’ve got a friend/ex-friend(?) who loves/loved to write. And you’re not exactly sure how to deal with this social recluse, this person who feels like they live more in a novel than in the actual world.
Well. Before we go on, let me once more remind you of the more commonly-defined difference between a writer and an author (though this can change depending on who you ask): a writer is any person who writes, while an author tends to be more legit and serious with published works.
Yeah. Most of us are writers. And here are some things you shouldn’t say to us.
1. “Oh yeah, I wish I had time to write, too.” Hey, good news, man: YOU CAN!! Writing isn’t just something people do when they’ve got nothing better to do. You don’t just wait around working or studying until you realize you’ve got an open time slot to write. (I mean, I guess this could happen, but…)
Most writers make the time to write. If something’s important enough to you, you always can find some extra time to dedicate to it. Writing isn’t just for the lazy or the slackers who are avoiding school (cough); it’s for those who love it enough to spend time with their stories. We’re not the people just sitting around all day doing nothing else. Most of the time.
2. “Wow, you actually made it out of your writing hole!” Yes, yes I did. Because I have no life other than that which I make up for my characters. Yup, you’ve got me all figured out. I mean, well, it IS true that I basically have no real friends, but I’ve got a life outside of writing! Crafting worlds with words really isn’t the only thing I’m capable of doing.
3. “Writing is so easy.” I bet you’d tell Da Vinci that painting/inventing is easy, too. And Phelps that swimming is easy. And God that making the world would’ve been easy. And here you’ve only got one of two possibilities: (1. You’ve never actually tried writing, or (2. You haven’t been doing it well.
Anything is easy if you chuck quality out the window; push-ups are easy when your stomach never leaves the ground; drawing is easy if you’re just scribbling everything on a canvas. It’s easy to fill up a page if you’re just throwing words out, but when you’re carefully considering and weighing each sentence, you’ll find out just how hard good writing is.
4. “I’m writing a book too.” Great. I’m so impressed. Come back to me and boast when you’ve actually finished it. There are so many people who have started writing a book that it just isn’t anything special anymore; by now I would say that probably more than half of my friends have ever told me they’ve started writing a book… and never finished it.
What’s actually impressive is seeing that you’ve had the guts, perseverance, and will to push through until the very end. When/if you get to that point, let’s start talking.
5. “It’s alright; you’re just a young writer.” Okay, go back in time and tell that to writers like Jane Austen, S. E. Hinton, Mary Shelley, Stephen Crane. Why can’t a teenager or even someone younger try to write well? Why shouldn’t we push ourselves as hard as we can to improve? Just because we’re not adults yet doesn’t mean we can’t put just as much effort into our writing as any adult would.
We’re going to be grown up someday, and if we put our all into our writing now, it’ll make life that much easier for us when we find we’ve got no other excuses to fall back on. We can dream; we can aim high; we can try to get published before the age of 20. We can learn to accept rejection and failure early on. What’s so wrong with that?
WE ARE WRITERS!! You cannot stop us with your puny words; we are the masters of entire worlds, wielding our pens as our magical scepters! Bring it ON, reality.
Guest post contributed by Elisabeth Wong. Elisabeth originally created her blog for a creative writing class and continues to pour out her thoughts from there. She also goes by 时慧 and 雪（ゆき).