If I could count the times over the last three years that I’ve asked myself why I’m doing this, I would be a trillionaire.
And to be honest, I don’t know what a trillion dollars looks like, but that has to be how much I’d be worth based on the number of times I’ve asked myself why I want to be a writer, much less a successful one.
I’m not like most writers who knew they wanted to be a writer since they were kids.
I wanted to be a pediatrician because of a children’s book my paternal grandmother gave me about the human body.
That dream ended real quick because I’m the girl that will throw up at first sight of blood and bodily fluids.
A preschool teacher was the next best option but was also questionable since I still found myself tending to the body fluids of little humans.
When I was a kid, I pretended to be a teacher writing on my easel that was half chalkboard and half whiteboard. I also loved reading books, especially the Goosebumps series.
I wrote ten-plus page stories for the fun of it filled with characters navigating haunted houses.
English was my favorite subject from elementary school to high school for writing and reading, but not so much poetry. In college, I was praised by professors for my writing, whether in my education courses or sociology courses.
I had almost every diary you could think of as a teenager, from lock and key to passcodes, and now as an adult, no stationary store is safe from my wrath.
It’s safe to say writing, and I are quite familiar, but over the last few months, I’ve been asking myself:
Do I have to love writing to be a writer?
The truth is, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should turn it into a career. Sometimes, a passion project or side hustle can be just that and nothing more.
Maybe when you decide to turn the thing you’re passionate about into your job, it begins to feel like a job and less like your passion.
So, should I leave writing alone and move on to another creative endeavor? Maybe podcasting? Or learning to paint or draw?
I would try, but there’s a problem. Every time I slam my computer screen shut because of a rejection email, a story not being curated, a client avoiding my email about payment, or words fail to show up on the page, the next day, I begin again.
Even before the next day begins, my brain never stops thinking about writing and how to do better.
I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to re-evaluate why a particular story didn’t work and think of solutions.
My friends listen to me without judgment as I vent about how “stupid writing” is, and in the next breath, I tell them a story I think would make a great article.
I would love to see the scans of the brains of creatives because I’m positive we’re the insane ones.
My hesitancy in saying aloud, even just to myself that I love writing, is two-fold: Some days, I don’t think I’m good enough to call myself a writer, and the other is I don’t like writing all the time.
Before committing to becoming a successful writer, I believed all writers loved writing all the time.
I now know that’s not true, and even if most writers do love writing all the time, I’m much more comfortable saying and living what’s right for me.
And I am definitely not someone who can commit to loving something all the time.
Most days, I will open my laptop and let my thoughts and fingers fly on the keyboard and for the days that I can’t live with as much freedom because of my anxiety, or perfectionism, or just simply not wanting to, that’s okay.
I commit to giving myself space and time to become the writer I’m meant to be.
So yes, to be a writer, you should love it because it is not for the faint of heart.
It will be the cause of many drunken evenings, and more rejection than you’ve probably faced in your life.
The challenging parts of being a writer may make you not like writing all of the time, and that’s okay.
It may even make you question if you’re a writer at all.
“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist’? Chances are you really are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” — Steven Pressfield
And if you are questioning if you’re a writer, according to Mr. Pressfield, you probably are, even if you don’t like doing it all of the time.