People need definitions to make sense of things. Jobs and hobbies are no different. We cage them behind glass panels to look at (admire?) with neat labels. If you work in accounting, you spin math. If you nurse, you’re a giver. Tennis players are athletes. Chess makes you smart.
So what about us? You know, the whisperers of words, hoping to find another person on the planet that supports our calling?
Writers, by nature, are misunderstood. You know it. And we get it.
Hobby writers are romantics, swept into clouds. People pull you back toward their reality. “Logically, it’ll never work. You’re not Hemingway and, even if you were, the written word is dead.”
If writing is your career choice, consider hospitalization. The infection is too deep, too sour. Friends and family wait for your failure, hoping that bills pile up too fast and you’ll get a real job to support yourself. Or you’ll be starving artist. When people ask about you and how you’re doing, your loved ones have a hell of a time saying you’re doing well because, in their minds, you’re not. You’re a faux-pas.
It gets even worse when we talk about genres. Erotica writers? Closet kinks, of course. Horror writers obviously murder people and store them in the dank basements, hidden in rusty deep freezers. It’s a wonder people don’t pick up on how many of us use pseudonyms. Nobody likes being judged.
But here’s the thing.
It’s bad enough we fear our own failure. Repeated questions from everyone around us really fucking suck. They make it worse. That’s why it’s so important to seek out backup – people who understand you and what you do. So you’re not alone in that glass viewing box. The other freaks and geeks are there with you, celebrating just how badass you are for seeing how everyone else looks at you and making the leap to write anyway.
We’re a community of bifocal and suspender wearing bookworms who share a dream – a passion – to see it through. And sometimes we falter. That’s why we need each other.
I sure-as-shit can’t do this alone. That’s the main reason we work together through 24/7 social media groups, unlimited emails and the occasional phone conversation.
What I’ve learned through this all-access style is writers live many different lives. I know grandmas who write sexy-as-fuck fiction. And divorcees who are ready to clear their lungs of the smoke and fire, to breathe again. I’ve met teenagers who fill the rest of us with hope because they’re writing now, instead of waiting years to gain the experience some asshat teacher said they needed.
Regardless of who you are or what you want to write, somebody in our harem will get you. And being successful is a hell of a lot easier when you have support. While some people in your life probably don’t understand your choices, your writing family certainly does.
It’s nice to feel at home somewhere. Just make sure you don’t put your feet on the new furniture. We’d like to keep it a while.
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