It’s easy to want something. It’s hard to sacrifice for what you want. So the question is, exactly how much do you want it?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It was the first thing that I ever wanted to be, and the last thing I’ve ever dreamed of pursuing. I’ve lived out my childhood in the arms of books and a self-imposed sense of isolation. Stories were my refuge, the food for my fantasies. I never had the ability to fit into reality, but I had always been surprisingly at home in the fantastical world of words. Out there there are others like me, young lives who seek greater adventure and more meaningful relationships than what they have in their own. And, unconsciously I’ve always known that, felt that, I needed to tell them that it was okay to be who they are.
That was my want defined and justified. I wanted to be a writer to provide a home for those who felt like they didn’t have one. I didn’t want them to be alone anymore.
But, no. I would not be lamenting about sacrifice if writing came easily. Writing has never come naturally to me and it is with great pain that I do admit this. No matter how badly I wanted a story told, my writings had always become unsustainable. I had grand ideas but puny words to tell them with. Writing isn’t a natural talent for me, and I don’t think that it ever will be. Sometimes, it is painful to write knowing that I will never be good enough. I am bitter. Angry at the craft. I want to shred it up. Set fire to my computer. Shriek at it. Despise it. Hate it. Leave it.
But then I always return. That’s called love isn’t it?
Writing and me. We exist in a one sided relationship. I love writing. I really do. But, the going is tough and I have to coax and cry and plead. I dedicate my time and frustration trying to please it all for the simplest of reactions. A blessing of the perfect word here, a muttering of the loveliest phrase there. When that happens, I turn to jelly. Worth it, I would say. The writer’s block, the self-deprecating criticisms, the guilt of commitment. Every. Single. Thing. Worth it.
I hadn’t realized that it got this bad. I’ve never been addicted to anything before. But here I am, starved for words and stories. I have been given the power of creation, and, my God, it is intoxicating.
Writing has always been indifferent to my efforts, but that never really mattered. I’m in love. Trapped? Yes. I can’t leave, but then again I don’t think I want to.
It’s all a bit unhealthy, I guess. Writing points out my flaws and my mistakes. It never ceases to highlight my insecurities or my desperate need for approval. When I write, I see myself anew. The words on the page are like a mirror, and they reflect me like a broken kind of spotlight. I am forced to realize how imperfect I am. With myself so plainly presented in front of me, I realize that progress really only comes in two forms: Acceptance or change.
Like any relationship, love takes effort and time and patience. Everyday, I painstakingly make mistakes and try to rectify them with little apologies. Some days I would sense that my hard work might be working. Every day, it gets a little better. One the odd blue moon, I feel as if it might even love me back.
One day. It’ll all be worth it.
Sometimes, I get jealous. And, other times I am afraid that my journey to become a writer will end one day when envy finally gets a hold of the reins. Envy knows harm if only when comparison is possible. The Greats never made me doubt myself. I would read Harper Lee, and everything would be okay. Knowing that I would never be able to write like Hemingway or Dickens was a fact that I just accepted. Because the truth is, such writers are unearthly. They are beings of another race and age. The majority of the human population can’t compare to them, so why should I?
Then, there would be the times when a writer of a less godly nature would write something great.
And usually that writer would be someone very much like me.
Say, a girl. She would be nineteen- well, so am I! She would come from an average life and go to an average school- that’s not much different from me. Well, she’s got seven novels out, she started writing since she was nine, she said that she knew from the moment that she was born that she’s a writer.
And after that, I find myself for lack of words.
It is during those times that I turn to my own ink stained hands and wonder why the hell I’m even trying. There are people whose words just flow from their fingertips, uninhibited loops of words like strands of gold. I struggle to eke out a sentence as simple as this one.
It took me a while, but when I did figure it out, it was pure, glorious freedom.
I realized… that I just. don’t. give. a. f***.
And after that, I just start writing whatever the hell I want.
So, yes, I’m not a good writer. Hell, I’m not even a decent writer. But, there is no crystal ball out there that will tell you that I will ever stop.
So, this is my declaration of independence. Take that talent! I don’t need you. From now on, it’s just going to be cold, hard, sweat and dripping blood. All grit. All me.
In conjunction with the Daily Prompt: Journey
Despite my own inability to write, I do in fact adore other writers. Here is Shaelin (19 years old), who actually prompted this post. She’s amazing. Really check her out. I may not believe that talent is essential to becoming a good writer, but I still am amazed at those who are naturally gifted with it.