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Just Write

17 Nov

The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.

Those words from the late great author Harlan Ellison so aptly sum up what it is to be an author.

Anyone can decide they want to write books, screenplays, the Great American Novel.

The problem is staying the course.

Writing, you see, is not among the lucrative professions out there. Oh. Did I call it a profession?

A profession, at least to me, means a career. You know, one of those jobs you show up for at some office – five, six, even seven days a week – that pay well and provide a decent living.

You see, that’s the crux of the matter. Writers, for the most part folks, don’t make a lot of money. In a world that, let’s face it, revolves so much around chasing the almighty dollar, it can come down to those very words uttered by Ellison.

Let’s repeat those words: The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.

Ellison knew whereof he spoke. He began writing as a kid, making very little money through the years.

He did it because he couldn’t imagine doing anything else with his life other than being a writer. His climb to success, like many writers, was a slow one.

If you want to be a writer, to put yourself in front of that blank computer screen or scroll of paper each day, without any guarantee of large royalties or even recognition, then do it.

Yes. It can be lonely, frustrating, and the 4 a.m. whispers of “give it up for God sakes you idiot” when the work is going particularly bad will likely hound you.

It’s going at it alone, getting inside your head, and spilling out the words.   

There is an old belief that writers are not made, but born, that those who choose a life of sequestering themselves in a room to pump out their creations, opt for such an existence because they have no other choice. They simply must write, come hell or high water.

It’s probably true. But it’s also likely that those who believe they have no other option than to write will find a way not only to do it, but to find some joy, and dare I say, even fortune from their labors.

What about you?

Mike Reuther is a freelance writer and author. His books can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Reuther/e/B009M5GVUW%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

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