Writing is an Act of Faith
Writing has required more faith from me than being a Christian ever did.
There’s something slightly insane about the idea of sitting down and pouring your heart, soul, energy, and time into something, day after day, with no proof that it will pay off. You’re giving yourself away to the universe, and I hate the thought of that.
If there’s one thing I learned from my days as a Christian, it’s that I can’t live on Faith alone. I need something more.
I need the reassurance that things are going to be okay, that I am always going to be able to make ends meet. I would like to live without feeling afraid that I won’t be able to provide myself with the bare necessities. I had enough trouble with that back when I was working 50+ hours a week at a job that drained the life, soul, and hope right out of me.
But, for some reason, I keep on with this writing nonsense.
I keep writing with the hope that, one day, my name will become a household name, that people will appreciate me for my work and the stories that I tell. I keep writing with the hope that someday I’ll matter.
But I also write with the hope that, one day, I will be able to take care of myself. I invest time and energy in becoming better, in building up a corpus of articles and stories and novels, with the hope that someday I’ll be good enough.
And it’s fucking terrifying. Because, right now, at the end of the day, I have no reason to believe that I’m special. I have no reason to believe that my stories, my thoughts, my feelings matter. I have no reason to believe that writing will offer me everything that I need it to offer me.
I’m good at writing. I honestly believe that. I’m better at writing than I am at most things. But when I talk to people about wanting to make a living as a writer, it sounds crazy. It sounds irrational. It sounds like I’m putting all of my eggs into one basket, and the basket has a giant hole in the bottom.
This is an act of faith. This is, by its very nature, irrational. I wish this job came with surety, with the foreknowledge that everything will work out in the end.
I wish life came with some kind of guarantee.
I’m tired of being afraid.
Zach J. Payne is a poet, novelist, and thespian; a lover of languages and purveyor of useless knowledge. He is an assistant at Ninja Writers and interns for Pam Howell at D4EO Literary Agency. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at ZachJPayne.