You know, it’s kind of funny. I have preached to all of you at some point or another about my writing. I have told my story and journey among countless stories. However, I have many people in my life such as friends and family that I have not explained my career as a writer to.
Here is my explanation, why I write when I could be doing something that makes more sense. Why do I write even though I know my family looks at me with scrutiny? Even though I know it won’t give me the best money that the world could ask for.
Why do I write when sometimes it is the hardest part of my life?
These are all perfectly valid questions and yet, I shy away from it. I wanted people to not ask me and I didn’t care if I were judged for my lack of my response but now I care more than anything in the world about how I respond and this is my public forum to do so. Without publicly addressing any of my family members who have judged my choices or my friends who have simply not understood, here are my answers to your questions.
“Why aren’t you a doctor or a teacher or something that gives guaranteed money?” My answer to those who have asked me this question was a shrug in response or a simple, “I don’t know.” However, here is my honest response.
I have looked at my mother who was dreadfully unhappy with her career- something that she had no interest in doing and I have looked at teachers who were upset about something their bosses did. I have learned what it would be like to see a teacher happy to teach and passionate about it and I have seen a teacher who lost all hope in the career as a whole.
Early on in my life, I had decided that this wasn’t the course of action for me. I refused to do something that made me want to call in sick to work when I was perfectly healthy or just completely give up to the point where all we did was watch movies during class so that they didn’t have to do anything. I was not going to be that person and if I were a doctor or a teacher, I wouldn’t be doing anything that I was passionate about.
“Why have you never looked at any other career options?” I had once mentioned that my favorite class at the time was a philosophy class that dealt with the concept of ethics and what exactly ethics were. The person that I had been conversing with said, “Perhaps you should look into that career more, become a philosopher if that interests you.”
But, he didn’t bother to ask me why I was interested in the class or why it was my favorite class of the semester at the time. He didn’t bother to find out that I was taking Math 3 and some other class that I can’t even remember now and that I was having daily panic attacks and stressed out moments because of those classes. Additionally, my interest in the class had absolutely nothing to do with the topic but how I could see the topic forming my work.
My favorite thing about all of my classes for a long time, and even now, was directly correlated to how it would help me advance in my career as an author. Did it help me form my characters better or inspire me in a new piece of poetry that I had worked on?
Ethics was doing all of that, I was listening about topics and writing in the margins of my notes constantly about what I could do with that in a story and whether I wanted to address the ethical implications of anything. It even enhanced the work as I began including ethics in the background which gave the story more meaning and impact.
But, that didn’t really answer the question. “Why don’t I ever look at other career options?” The amount of times I’ve heard, “You can write anywhere” or “Writing is involved with every career” could make me a millionaire if money were involved.
These same people however, who would ask me these questions never did ask me if I had considered other career options. They assumed that because I wanted to be an author that I had never once looked into other careers. But actually, I had looked into being a business owner, baker, chef, teacher, political activist, and so much more. If I had ever showed the slightest fascination with the subject, I looked into it.
But I was never passionate. I was never the way I am now with writing. I knew that if I were to decide to major in International Studies and become some officer or representative that I would never have the ambition or desire to work as I do now as a writer. If I wanted to do something with languages, I would never try as hard as I do to be an author.
I am 17 (almost 18) years old and I just published my second novel, I have been published in multiple poetry books, and I write this blog where I try my hardest to post every single week.
So, my answer to this question is simply this, “I have looked into multiple professions but the more I looked, the more I was drawn to writing as a career. I feel as though it is my duty to write and that I am somehow betraying myself if I don’t follow through with it.”
“Why don’t you want to make money?”
I know that I will not have guaranteed money, in fact the likelihood of ever having guaranteed money within this profession is fairly low unless I write a best selling series such as Harry Potter and create a franchise that is beloved and cherished by millions. So, why don’t I want to make money?
Well, if I didn’t want to make any money, I could easily make my work free or as cheap as humanly possible just for everyone to be happy which would basically be the cost to actually publish the work. So, the fact that my work isn’t free immediately makes this question invalid.
However, if you’re asking me why I don’t suck it up and go after something that is more substantial in the materialistic lifestyle of those around me, well, maybe I don’t care about money as much as I care about my mental health? Writing is a life source for me and in my personal belief, if I wasn’t writing then I wouldn’t be alive or who I am now which I honestly put hand in hand.
I am not being dramatic when I say this either. There are only two occasions that I can remember where I completely stopped writing. I turned my back to my work as I left many things unfinished and never once picked up a single piece of paper or a word document and did not write for even a minute.
The first time was going into my freshman year of high school where I was actually grounded from writing and I had gone off the deep end to the point that I took every single piece of paper out of my room and locked it in some random closet and took every single pen, pencil, marker, highlighter, or crayon and placed it among my paper.
It is during that summer that I lost myself and when I returned to writing, I was no longer the same person and I could feel it. I had lost a sense of passion and confidence in myself that I couldn’t regain for a long time and it took me an even longer time to actually write once I could again. It was an out of body experience for a long time, I had once been a bubbly and excitable person but I had taken up a darker side in my personality that actually never went away.
The second time had been my personal choice and even though I was still writing this blog, I had given up on writing entirely. A horrifying concept to admit but it was only during the summer going into senior year that I had walked away from writing and almost considered giving up entirely. While admittedly it was under personal events that lead to this, I had grown into a serious depression that I was struggling with in which nobody in my family or my friends noticed. I had felt as though the safety net and comfort of writing had been taken away from me and with this breach, I felt disconnected from the world because of it.
As you can see, writing is my mental health staple and it is only when I am not writing that my mental health makes a serious decline. So when I say that writing is my choice in the benefit of my health, I am never exaggerating.
“What are you going to do with your degree?” As many of you probably know, my plans for my educational career is to get my bachelors in Creative Writing and to minor in European History. On many occasions, the reaction is almost snooty and I immediately have to find myself boasting about my work so that they don’t judge my experiences.
I have spoken with college admissions counselors during college fairs where they would openly insult my choice in majoring in creative writing, telling me that I was destined to become homeless and that he had bet I had never even written anything in my life and that I was taking the “easy” way. My response to him was very simple, I got out a piece of paper and wrote down the words. “The White Butterfly, Amazon. www.sheswritingmore.com.” Which is my novel and this here website.
I quickly walked away from him, never once looking back to the college as a potential option but unfortunately, that has not been the first or last time that I had such as similar encounter.
Somebody was working on their senior project recently and they messaged me, asking me if they could me as they needed to interview an author and ask them questions. It actually surprised me when I realized that I actually did qualify for such an hour and in one of her interview questions, she asked me, “do you ever get writer’s block and if so, why do you still write?”
I have struggled with writer’s block countless times, as I’ve mentioned before and it always seems to coincide with the darkest moments of my entire life. I am a broken vessel that might as well have been possessed because I was never myself during these times.
The days where I am hunched over my computer or furiously writing the newest chapter of my novel during class are the best days. The clacking of the keyboard or the scratching from the pen to paper are my favorite sounds in the entire. These sounds, feelings, and surroundings are what gives me life in the long run.
So, why do I write? Why do I write when sometimes I can’t? Why do I write when sometimes it is the hardest thing to do in the world?
I am a writer and those hardest moments are my weakest moments. Those moments make me want to walk away from writing as my heart aches in pain and my mind races with thoughts. But those best moments are my strongest as I am hunched over my computer or writing on a piece of paper as my thoughts turn into words.
I write because it is my oxygen more so than oxygen really is.
Buy The White Butterfly Here.
Buy The Girl in the Cage Here.
Follow Me on Twitter Here.
Check out my other work while you’re here!