Full disclosure: I signed up for a Medium account so I could write about whatever I wanted to, which is mostly about myself. It feels really self-indulgent and narcissistic. I make a living writing about other people’s experiences, transcribing their interviews, crafting marketing copy and writing cheeky slogans. Which is great. But it’s nice to break from the hustle and grind of it all simply to muse…
Here’s why I love writing (and maybe you’ll gain some benefit as well, so perhaps it’s not entirely in vain):
- I enjoy the craft, regardless of what I’m writing about. There’s something really gratifying about just dumping a bunch of words onto a page, then chiseling and fine tuning away until I’m done. It really is like making a sculpture, even if it’s just marketing copy.
- I get to work from anywhere, as long as I have access to wifi by the time I need to turn my assignment in. Right now, I live and write in Bali, Indonesia. My co-working space has a gym, a pool, two saunas, a steam room, a basketball court, it looks like the Ritz Carlton and it’s in Southeast Asia so I can actually afford it on an artist’s salary. It really sucks. ;)
- I make a difference with my words. From the seemingly mundane product description, to the breaking news stories, to the anecdotal pieces, people read what I write. They gain value. Companies sell products. All based on what I write. I still haven’t figured out why yet, but I was able to afford my breakfast and my coffee again today so I stopped asking questions a while ago.
- I get to create something where there was nothing. You can say this about almost anything, really. But when it comes to art (if you consider writing art. I do.), you really are creating something totally different than anything else anyone has. Every time you put your words out into the world in any way, shape or form, you’re leaving some type of legacy behind.
- Whenever I date another writer, we end up having fun, totally inappropriate exchanges (I think all writers are a little twisted and moderately–if not excessively–perverted). I’m talking about “sexting” but I kind of hate that word. Probably because I’m not the one who came up with it. Anyway, I’ve dated a lot of writers and we always use lots of dirty puns in our messages, make up subtly perverted stories and serialize — stuff like that. And, of course, this almost always carries over into the bedroom (or basement, or public restroom — I’m no vanilla chick).
- I can, more or less, choose which editors and clients I’m willing to work with and write for. And if I happen to make a mistake in my judgement once or twice and have a negative experience with someone, I never have to work with that person again. It’s pretty cool. I do have a few bills to pay so I can’t be too picky. Maybe one day if I ever reach Pulitzer status I’ll have an endless pool of options, but I’m still not complaining.
- I can work in my pajamas, or my sweatpants, or my swimsuit (which I’m wearing right now and I’m about to go jump in the pool when I finish writing this), or nothing. This right here is pure freedom, even if I’m just writing a damn press release for a new auto mechanic in Simi Valley.
- The more I write, the better I get. And the more challenging the topic, the more diverse my skill set becomes. I haven’t really taken on too many projects I haven’t liked. Every once in awhile, I get a shitty client, but the content itself is almost always something I can make interesting. It’s all a learning and growing curve and it feels good to be continuously evolving in my craft.
I never set out to become a writer. As cliché as it sounds, the craft chose me and I just roll with it. I also have several other passion projects, some of which make me money, and they’re all creative. I’ve never liked the idea of identifying as one thing, so when people ask me what I do, I don’t typically say, “I’m a writer,” but I do say, “I write,” since it’s my primary source of income. I’m also a human, and I know that I’m not the best writer out there. But who is, really? That’s the novelty of any creative profession or craft — the value or beauty behind the finished product is always going to be entirely subjective. As long as I remember this, then I know that provided I’m always giving my work my best, I’m doing it right.
Why exactly do I write? Maya Angelou once said, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” The older and (sort of) wiser I get, the more I agree with Maya. Whether we tell our stories through music, painting, sculpture, writing, or any other outlet, it’s so important to get our stories out. We owe it to our precious little souls if nothing else, particularly if we’re creative. And I believe that we all are. So that’s why I write, and the side benefit is that I get to make a living doing it while soaking up rays on a tropical island in Southeast Asia. Literally.