What does it take to be a writer? It’s a simple, yet hard answer: hard work.
To be a writer requires much. It requires sitting with the paper and pencil or pen or with the computer and putting words on the blank page. It demands editing and rewriting and proofreading. It necessitates training, i.e., working on the craft and learning some writing rules before breaking them. It demands consistency, persistence, diligence.
If all that isn’t hard enough, to be a writer requires humbleness. It’s no easy thing to listen to criticism and to let it sink into one’s consciousness so that it will effect the work it is meant to. It isn’t easy to labor on a draft only to have it turn into nothing but words that never cohere; in fact, it’s maddening.
The work also is discouraging. It can take numerous submissions before a writer’s work is accepted someplace, and it can take many more to have the second and third piece accepted. In the writer’s world, fame doesn’t come overnight. It’s gradual. It creeps upon the writer, oftentimes when the writer no longer is around to relish in his or her work’s popularity.
Why go to all the trouble if the work is hard? Why not just give up? Why experience the angst and frustration? The answer? The answer isn’t too dissimilar from the athlete’s. The writer writes because of a love for the writing and a certainty about being called to the work, and the only way to win at either of those games is hard work.
Image: Thomas Hawk (CC BY NC 2.0)