Today I would like to address something that has been on my mind for quite a while now: the unwarranted notion that writing is a lazy profession. I came across someone a while back who firmly believed that those of us who write professionally lack work ethic, something that couldn’t be any further from the truth of the matter.
I will admit that I can see how, to the outsider looking in, it can appear as if a writing career lacks the overt effort shown in other fields. Most people are only privy to the end product and few, if any, are fortunate enough to understand the hard work that we writers put in on a daily basis. People walk into stores and see books on the shelves; books with pretty pictures and attractive covers and rarely take the time to think about where the book began and the journey that both book and author took to get from a single thought to a book shelf.
Writing in itself is a demanding process; something that takes time, dedication, and tenacity. While some of us write quicker than others, the fact still remains that each and every single writer pours hours upon hours of energy into the process through brainstorming, drafting, and revision in addition to the demands of publication. Not only do we have to create an idea, develop it, and put it into words that are accessible to different groups of people, but we must also revisit and rewrite numerous times in order to create something that is fitting to our intended audience.
Time and time again we are met with rejection and disappointment. I would even venture to say that when it comes to writing as a career, it can be one of the most mentally and emotionally taxing of all professions. We are constantly being critiqued and being continually told that our end products are not in fact end products and need to be changed to meet the demands of the market.
We must then also take into account that writing is an art form; it is the ability to use words to convey feeling. The page is my canvas and my pen is the brush. By writing I am exposing myself to the world; parts of myself that others would not dare to show for fear of what it would mean. My writing is a reflection of who I am and I am giving you the opportunity to see the world through my eyes. To have this art form continually under attack by critics, publishers, and the general public is nothing short of emotionally draining and sometimes even damaging to overall self-esteem.
Furthermore, people like me who are just starting out and trying to establish themselves have the added burden of working other jobs to make ends meet, which in turn takes away valuable time that could be spent developing the craft. We devote a great deal of our energies to our jobs and relationships and then must use our remaining resources to put our thoughts and feelings into words for our readers.
Like any other job or career, writing is hard work and to argue otherwise is not only insulting, but indicative of a person’s inability to see the world from another person’s point of view. It’s a given that some professions may seem easier to some of us, but that’s only because we do not have first-hand subjective experience of these roles; even if some of us do, we must then take into account that the concept of ease varies from one person to another.
Ultimately what it comes down to is that writing is as valid a career choice as any other, requiring hard work, determination, and strength of character. To think lowly of this career choice is a mistake; a mistake born of ignorance and one that I hope you will no longer make.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry
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