Sorry, No Shortcuts Here

A lot of people say they want to be writers.

Typically, these are the people who have taken a creative writing class in high school or a course or two while in college. Maybe they’ve watched movies, or read books, where the writer’s life is romanticized and fluffed into something unwieldy and unrealistic. No, we don’t all live in an oceanside estate, sipping brandy from a sifter, beside the fireplace, writing bestsellers. It just doesn’t happen that way.

If truth be told, most writers cannot make a living from their craft. Many times, they don’t make any money. The people who say they want to be writers have visions of writing the next bestseller at their seaside estate or mountain retreat. The people who say they want to be writers don’t understand what it takes to be one. You see, they envision the muse flitting about their head, whispering the next lines of their book. That’s not how it happens. It’s a wonderful notion, but unrealistic. They don’t see the late nights, the agony of each rejection, or the torture of wondering whether you can do this or not with every word you get down.

For the true writer, the ones who add words to blank pages every day, there is no romance to it. There is nuance but not romance. There is no magic muse whispering sweet nothings in our ears and no seven-figure contract waiting once our manuscript is complete.

It’s just us against the blank page.

We grind out words each day–sometimes painfully, sometimes effortlessly–but it’s a commitment like no other. It’s a commitment to ourselves that we can fill another page, write another story, and make another sale.

So, why do we do it? If there’s not much money in it, why do we write?

For me, it’s a need. It’s undeniable. I have to write. Even when I had a day job, I still had to write every day. I had to get words down. Even now, on those days when I can’t write until late, my fingers get itchy, and I get restless. There is something wonderfully cathartic about creating something out of the blank space of a white page. Characters, dialog, places, and events. All at my fingertips. All mine.

For those of us lucky enough to make a living as writers, there are no shortcuts. There are just words to create and stories to conjure.

For those out there who say they want to be writers? Stop talking about it and start doing it. Put the words down and fill the page.

And then another.

And then another.

You get the point.

Never give up. And always write ON!

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