Contrary to popular belief, being a writer is hard. Being a writer might be the stuff of legends , evoking a bit of glamour and excitement. One might imagine a writer as someone sitting at their desk in a luxurious room overlooking the breathtaking ocean. One might also imagine that very same writer being inspired and mesmerized by the ocean, as not only a reminder of the beauty of nature but also a warning against the dangers.
At least, for me as a child, I used to imagine a writer sitting alone, writing away onto paper or screen, letting their ideas and imagination run away with them. But realistically, a writer would mostly likely be sitting, staring at that ocean, waiting for the ideas to come, while feeling increasingly stressed by the impending deadlines they have to make. The writer would also constantly be checking their bank account, hoping very much against hope that it doesn’t drop down into the negatives, while also hoping that their next book will make it big. It’s a hard life, being a writer. Read below to find out the five reasons why being a writer is hard.
Being in the Darkness
When you are a writer, you might often feel as if you are in the darkness. You are most likely going on a journey all by yourself, perhaps accompanied by one or many of your characters. You have no idea where you will end up. You don’t know if this journey will be fruitful or simply a waste of time. You are traveling in a dark tunnel and you can just barely make out the light at the end, but there is no guarantee that you will even reach it.
Well, that is what being a writer feels like most of the time. All you have to go on is your own trust and faith in your own writing. All you have to go on is the belief that all of this work will bring you success, despite mounting pressure from the outside and eventually even your own inner doubts. That is why a writer is an extremely strong person. To be able to withstand the external and internal influences and still be able to make it out of the darkness into light, or success, is one that deserves to be commended.
Negative Societal Assumptions
While taking this journey through the darkness, a writer will undoubtedly face negative societal assumptions which can influence the writer to doubt themselves. As a writer, you may have people telling you that you aren’t a real writer because you haven’t sold enough books or got enough reviews. You may also have people asking you So, how’s that book coming along? or Make it onto the New York Times best seller list yet? And as a writer, you may have people immediately look down upon you, assuming that you do nothing all day but sit at home and daydream, waiting for inspiration to strike.
All of these negative societal assumptions do nothing but create pressure and negativity on the part of the writer. It makes the writer feel as if their work is not good enough. Being a writer has nothing to do with how many books you’ve sold or whether or not it is being talked about by celebrities. Rather, writers write because they have this need to express themselves. They want to tell their stories. If just one person is touched by their story, then they can consider themselves to have made it.
If you are a writer, then most likely you’ve struggled with writer’s block. Whether it happens once, or many times, throughout the course of your writing career, you know how debilitating it is. You know that when you have writer’s block it is as if all of your energy has been depleted. You sit down at your desk with a notebook or computer, but five hours later, you are still looking at a blank sheet or screen. You walk outside, play a game, or watch a movie. You do something — anything — to distract yourself, waiting for your imagination to take hold, grab your unprotesting body onto a magic carpet, and then fly you away into another world where the words suddenly come flying out at you. But until that moment happens, you are stuck.
Having a writer’s block can feel interminable at times. It makes you feel as if you just want to give up because there is no idea in sight. But you still keep holding on because as a writer you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, however faint. You keep holding on because you know that the darkness, or writer’s block, will soon come to an end — eventually. You’ve just got to keep holding on until then.
No Guarantee of Money
As a writer, how many times have you heard someone tell you to keep your day job. How many times have you heard someone tell you that you won’t be able to earn a living, much less a part time living, as a writer? How many times have you had a teacher or guidance counselor tell you to choose a new career instead of simply being a writer because there is no guarantee of substantial income.
While it is true that being a writer doesn’t guarantee that you will make enough to survive, but that isn’t the reason why most writers write. Most writers choose to write because it is something that they enjoy. They write because it gives fuel to their own lifeblood. They write because without writing it is the same as living without a soul,
Writing as a Hobby
Because being a writer doesn’t guarantee any source of income, most writers have one or two additional jobs, or sources of income. Most writers have a day job, you know, your traditional 9-5. And then, they come home, eat dinner, and write by night. This means that writers simply can’t spend all day writing, much as they want to. They have to somehow find an hour or two in their busy schedules to write. This can seem like an impossibility. On top of working the full time job, taking care of the house, raising any kiddos, and nourishing the body, writers still manage to find the time to write.
The fact that writers can find the time to write despite the many demands on their time shows considerable dedication and motivation for their craft. Despite how hard it may seem to find the time to write, the fact that many writers can makes that one or two hours devoted to writing all the more precious. That late or early morning hour when you can simply just sit, surrounded by nothing but silence and the occasional muffled snoring, is what makes it all worth it. It is as if the entire day is leading up to that moment when the writer can simply let go and write, relinquishing their hold on the physical world as their story takes them to a new, unfounded world. Despite how hard being a writer is, as long as the writer has that moment of writing, it is all worth it.