Tuesday, August 16th, 2005 • 2 Comments on Why Write?
See what I mean about August? It’s such a dull month, I don’t have anything to write about.
I have less than two weeks left at the library. I’m not sure if it’s a good sign or a bad sign that I’m looking at the classfied ads and checking various job listings for nearby cities. I know the only reason I’m finally ready to make the shift to writing full-time is because I’m in graduate school. I need something to fall back on if I’m going to be unemployed in the traditional sense—if writing was the only thing on my calendar, I would probably panic and not be able to write a word. To be honest, if I fail to write the next Great American Novel in the next year or so, at least I’ll have a graduate degree to show for my unemployment. Perhaps this shows a lack of faith in my writing ability. I prefer to look at it as hedging my bets.
I made a similar transition from “real” job to “work-from-home-in-yoga-pants-with-bed-head” several years ago when I went back to college to finish my undergraduate degree. That particular stint lasted four years and netted me a B.A. in English, a writing award, a literary agent, one published novel, a collection of other writing credits and a major bout of depression as the result of many, many rejections. Writing full-time again is going to be wonderful. It’s also going to be scary as hell.
A friend asked me, in the course of discussing my forthcoming unemployment, if I still enjoy writing. I stared at her, somewhat perplexed. Do I still enjoy writing? Interesting question. I don’t write for the money—based on the past decade’s tax returns, I’d be sleeping on someone’s couch and eating Ramen if forced to rely on my writing income. I don’t do it to impress my friends and family—there isn’t anyone who reads everything I write and only a few people who inquire about my writing with any real interest. I don’t do it for fame—most people don’t remember the titles of the books or the stories they like, much less the names of the authors. I definitely don’t do it for the excitement—writing is mostly long hours of staring at a computer screen, trying to make sense of the stuff in my head, with the occasional burst of creative genius that no one but another writer could even appreciate. I’m still not sure I know how to answer the question of whether I enjoy writing, I just know I have to write.
In two weeks, I’ll have more time to write. Whether that’s a blessing or a curse remains to be seen.