I’m going to be a writer.
There. I’ve said it, it’s out there, you know my dream, so now I’ll just have to make it true because if I don’t, the crushing knowledge of my failure won’t just sit inside the nerves of my own brain, it’ll also permeate out to the rest of you. And I’m not saying you have any investment in my success or failure, I’m not saying that the first thing you think about in the morning is hey, that girl with the funny name, I wonder if she ever…or whatever, but I am saying that maybe there’s the smallest smidgen of a chance that you will see me at a coffee shop, bookstore, libraryhallwayclassroomstreetcornergrocerystoreonthe405inanicecreamplacepumpkinpatch sandwichshop and wonder. And if you wonder, and if in that wondering you dare to google my name…well, I just hope this post isn’t the first thing that pops up.
But I’ll be really honest with you: I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. That fact is something I like to try and ignore as often as possible. Here’s the little I do know: until my senior year at UCLA, I pursued every career path but writing. I thought about carrying on the legacy in Computer Science. For a brief hiccup, I was a Psychobiology major going to med school. That changed quickly. Then, I thought, I like reading, I like people, hey, I could be a professor! Too bad I wasn’t a fan of teaching. I shrugged and turned to law school. It made sense – I was in Mock Trial (basically an activity in which people pretend to be lawyers on the weekend and like it), I was good at it, I enjoyed it, what more did I want? I signed up for LSAT classes, sat for the test, researched schools, got recommendations, all but signed my name off on Ursula’s little contract when I did a mental check and realized that there wasn’t a cell in my body that wanted this.
It was like trying to please a pregnant woman. It may have taken running down a dozen and a half wrong paths, but when I finally picked the one marked writing, nothing else could compete. For the first time, something felt right. Scary as hell, but right.
Do what you love. When people say that to you, they never tell you how hard it is to figure out what the hell it is you love. It took me SEVEN YEARS of putting pen to paper and a YEAR of (happily) slaving over writing my thesis before the rusty lightbulb in my brain sparked and went Oh!
Do what you love and don’t let anybody tell you it’s easy. Trying to write is often like sticking a nail into your brain, picking up a hammer, and swinging. To quote one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, (whose graduating speech at the University of Arts still inspires every tiny hair on my body to stand up and listen):
Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.
But when the mess inside my brain spills onto that blank screen, there is nothing that can match the euphoria of my synapses. And when I’m sitting there, glowing, my hammer and I smiling at my creation, I know happiness.
I want to grab the world, pick at it, change it, recreate it. I want to tell you what lovehateangersadnessfear means, and then I want to make you feel it. I want to take apart time, rewind it, stop it, break it. I want to poke at life and have it poke back. I want to reach into you and make your heart beat. I want to pour 99% of my sweat onto paper and create.
I want to make good art, and here’s my 1% of inspiration to do it.