I don't know which way to go. Any advice?

Everybody’s a writer

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One of the strangest things about publicly admitting that you “write” is that other people who write start coming out of the woodwork, flooding underneath your doors and banging on your windows. When I first started my creative writing MFA back in fall of 2007 (yikes), I felt quite silly telling people that I had the rather grandiose idea of fancying myself a could-be, would-be writer. I do not come from an artsy parentage; math, English and hardwork were what mattered, so for me announcing my post-undergrad venture felt a lot like telling people I wanted to be a musician or an actress or any of those artistic, one-in-a-million-chance-to-actually-be-successful jobs that people scoff at. But of course, as often happens in life, my fears were (mostly) unfounded. In fact, I have induced far more jealous cries than bitter scoffs.  Because: everyone wants to be a writer.

Often I find this comforting. I am so thankful to have other people who I can talk to, who get what a painful and exhausting undertaking all of this is. But sometimes, if I’m going to be completely honest, it bothers me. Not in a competetive way; after three years taking classes with a multitude of talented people I’ve pretty much nipped that issue in the bud. No, it’s irksome in a much more personal way.  Imagine if all your life you had had this secret inside you. Not a bad secret, but a special one. And maybe one day you got brave enough to own your secret, only every time you told someone, they said they had the same secret, too. You feel silly, like a fraud or, I suppose, just like everyone else.

Still, for every time I feel bothered, there are five more times I feel hopeful and inspired by one of these writerly-types. And amused. To think that there are all these people dying to write, to publish, to be read, while the publishing world is drowning and day after day news reports come out warning us that it’s only a matter time before books are obsolete. It’s a such a strange phenomenon and seems to illuminate the fact that far more people want to be writers than actually sit down, open up a legitimate book and read, page after page, word after word.

So I’ll say this: If you think of yourself (or would like to think of yourself) as a writer or there’s a writer out there that you love, please go out and read something, many somethings, if you can. Don’t just write. READ. Like your life depends on it. Certainly your not-so-secret dream does.


Written by ditheringmiss

February 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm

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