Chuck Wendig has a not-flash-fiction writing challenge up at his blog to write on the topic “why I write.” Since it’s been *mumblemumblesnarzle* months since I posted anything, I figured, why not?
Only I’m putting a slight twist on it to write about why I persist in writing.*
I’ve blogged previously about how annoying I found this one commercial that indicated one can wait until retirement to write the Great American Novel. Because it feeds into the idea that creating art is simple, that all one needs to create something beautiful is a lack of fetters and/or great swaths of time. Then, presto, Beautiful Art! In like three months, tops!
It doesn’t work that way.
Yes, it is physically possible for a person to wait until retirement to write, but chances are slim that waiting that long will result in a great anything, at least not in a short time frame. Writing is hard. Learning the craft is hard. Learning the craft and applying it and then getting rejected anyway is hard. It hurts, until you get your carapace built up. Even after that, sometimes it finds your vulnerable spot and slips its stiletto through. Writing is not for the faint of heart.
So, having experienced the truth that Writing Is Hard, why do I persist?
I’m glad you asked, fictional asker of non-rhetorical questions!
I persist because I stay on a more emotionally even keel when I’m writing. That’s important for someone who too often lists toward depression. I persist because words are awesome, and I like making them do my behest. I persist because people are awesome, and sometimes not-awesome, and writing helps me empathize with them either way. (Bonus: I get to pretend they’re doing my behest.) I persist because the longer I go without writing something new, the crazier my dreams get, and that’s not a good thing. I persist because I want to leave a mark on the world. I persist because I want people to laugh, sometimes cry, and to think and engage. (With the art. Not necessarily me, because like I said, sometimes people are not-awesome.) I persist because stories are important. They help us understand and navigate the world. There’s a reason why Jesus taught in parables. I persist because I have daydreams about meeting my writer-heroes as a peer, and I can’t do that if I’m not their peer. I persist in writing because when I stop, I always find my way back, so why delay the inevitable?**
I persist because even on the days when I hate the slog or the rejection or the “Dear God why did that thing get published” bitterness, I can’t imagine loving any other work more.
Writers write, and writers persist.
I am a writer. I persist.
And if you’re a writer, reading this? Go write. Go persist.
*Which is really a lot of flash and jazz hands to make it sound fancier when it boils down to the same thing. But whatevs.
**I persist because footnotes work in no other medium.