The Flaws of a Would-Be Author

Jake Lyda
Jake Lyda
Mar 6 · 5 min read

I wear a flat-bill hat. I wake up around nine a.m. (though who are we kidding; might as well say noon and be done with it). I live in an apartment in the throes of a “cute” community hub, complete with farmers markets and one too many Starbucks.

I’m a Millennial. An American. And I’m living the dream as an author.

Now, there needs to be some context here. By “Millennial,” I mean the age group of people who have reached young adulthood sometime in the 21st century, not the beat-a-dead-horse stereotype of an ignorant, insufferable know-it-all, complete with far-left fantasies and beliefs like Future is a good rapper. (Note: He isn’t — can’t understand a damn thing he’s crooning — and I’m currently listening to “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley while writing this.)

By “American,” I mean someone who was born in the U.S. of A. Not a “Make America Great Again,” racist, homophobic, sexist, ethnicist, classist, any-ist that can be easily demonized and blamed. I travel like a mofo and am in the process of getting long-term visa status for South Africa, my favorite place on Earth (my wife’s, too).

And by “dream,” I mean living paycheck-to-paycheck, playing my role in society as a freelance writer, while moonlighting — daylighting? — as an author with a story and aspirations of having an agent and a publishing contract and an advance and royalties…you know. That whole chestnut.

Yes, this is still a “dream” and I’m taking strides to actually living the good life as a writer so that I no longer have to be a poser in my own skin. I feel like I can relate to a ton of Millennial American dreamers out there. I also feel like I can relate to a lot of non-Millennial, non-American dreamers as well. Old, young, white, not white, Merica or no, we’ve all had a purpose. A calling. An “if-everything-just-went-like-so,” best case scenario lifestyle.

It’s a pipe dream, dummy. Why are you still chasing it? You should be thinking logically at this point.

To many friends and family members, I am playing make-believe at the age of 24. Which is ridiculous. What’s even more ridiculous is that I’m still at it, allegedly succeeding at the damn thing. I must:

  • be extremely lucky
  • have been around at the right time
  • have some awesome clients
  • be talented from birth

To which I answer:

  • Probably
  • Not likely
  • True, but not the reason for my success
  • As much as I’d like to say so, the jury will forever be out on this one

The reason why I am a Millennial American freelance writer and aspiring author is, at least in my opinion, which is valid no matter my age, this:

I work for it. I work hard.

At least, now I do. Now that I realize not going for what I want is incredibly stupid and the alternative is a slow depreciation of my existence. Before I loved to get lost in the minutiae of information overload, life hacks, writing courses, reading books that told me one strategy and then another, asking forums, and so on. All distractions from actually doing the thing: writing.

I don’t want to turn this into another Medium “writing is about writing” bullshit article. I’m just here to tell you my PSA: Stop hindering yourself by reading these articles, especially if you know what you need to do. You’re attempting to validate your decisions, like a security blanket and some hot cocoa for somebody in a motor vehicle accident in the snowy winter.

You don’t need any more validation. Is your obsession with this thing or that not validation enough?

Nothing in life is 100 percent hunky-dory. For me and my writing, there are days when I write one sentence, it’s crap, write another, still crap, keep going, f*ck, what’s the point, give the screen the middle finger and pace around my living room and raid the pantry for a snack that isn’t there. But I’m still obsessed about it. In my personal writing manifesto, my last line is:

I am a writer. And I write. It’s my job. And I love it, good times and bad.

Input your own thing for writer. Love it, good times and bad. And work your ass off for it. Why not? Might as well.

I have my flaws. I get writer’s block with the best of them. I always reach that point in my long writing projects where I honestly wonder who would ever read such garbage and virtually throw the whole piece in the trash. I let life distract me from my 2000-words’ worth of writing time (which is between the hours of nine a.m. and noon…so long as I get up in time).

In short, I’m not perfect. I don’t claim to be. I don’t want to be. I don’t have to be.

(Kind of a terrible poster child, aren’t I?)

I lied in my subtitle. I’m not living the dream. Yet. But I’m not not trying for it, either. That’s what I see a lot with people my age — or older, or younger. They stop trying for it. They go all logic on us. (The thought process, not the rapper.) Job, white-picket fence, golden retriever, kids, still just a job, no travel, no fun until retirement, retirement, medical complications, death. *Shudders*.

Screw that. Dream and do.

This has been the flaws of a would-be, aspiring author. One day, I’ll be able to remove the “would-be”s and “aspiring”s from my title. And that’s a promise.

(P.S.: Now it’s “Listen to the Music” by The Doobie Brothers. Come at me, those with Millennial prejudices.)


There’s more where this came from:

My first article since coming back to Medium. I think it’s good. So does my wife.

Want to live a balanced life? Well, this won’t help that…

Stop reading self-help articles…right after you read this self-help article:

Jake Lyda

Written by

Jake Lyda

Storyteller / Digital Nomad

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