Thank you, Jodie, for that post! It was a necessary, and very welcome, reminder of the goals that I need to set for myself, too. And that picture? Well. That’s the jolt I needed – if not to write a story just this moment, but at least to write another (long-overdue) blogpost.
“Don’t talk about it; write.”
Seems simple, right? Ha. It can be the most difficult thing in the world, and not just because the blank piece of paper in front of you tends to win. Sometimes, all it has to do with is our definitions.
Consider this: reading is fun. It has always been a leisurely activity for me, it was never particularly difficult – though Old/Middle English definitely still takes its toll on my brain – and it always gave me joy. If reading is taking pleasure in another’s creation, writing is creating. It’s using your imaaaaaaaaagination, playing around with words, making things up, breaking all sorts of “real world” rules – and that’s your JOB.
But jobs are supposed to be tiresome and boring and troubling. You’re supposed to hate working, right?
And that’s where our definitions come into play. We’re wired to work. We’re wired to think of the arts, of the humanities, as “fun” – as if putting pen to paper, bow to string, action to words, is taking the easy way out. Yes, it is fun, but it is also important, not frivolous. Here, on the brink, just starting out, all of that isn’t the easiest to remember. Because I’m graduating! I need to figure out my life, find a job I don’t hate, do homework, rework my resume, make a living, find a home, get allofthethings – and, well, writing just doesn’t feel like work. So, it gets pushed further and further back, until the little seed inside you (let’s call him DOUBT) starts growing again and prods you until you wonder if you were kidding yourself, and there’s no point writing anyways. Right?
Computer engineers love writing code. Ask my parents.
Teachers (the good ones) love teaching. You can tell.
Reports love reporting (okay, not my best sentence). Hell, Belle de Jour loved being a call girl, despite the collective presumption of escorts in our society.
For the most part, those people have chosen their jobs for a reason.
And they don’t question their jobs just because they enjoy them. Why should we?
Neil Gaiman (did I mention he’s one of my favorite authors? Well, he’s also incredibly quotable) captures the essence of this perfectly:
I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don’t know why he carried a clipboard, in my head, but he did) would be there, to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn’t consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where you don’t have to make things up any more.
Break the definition. Make writing a priority. That’s the whole point of doing what you love, isn’t it?