Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It's a wild ride
A student who works for a corporation wrote to me, and said she was hurt by what a friend said to her. She had shared with the friend that she hoped to be a published author someday.
Rather than sharing her dreams, the friend said she just didn't like to work hard.
This devastated my student, who has worked fulltime for years and years.
She asked me to talk about this on the blog.
All I can say is, so many non-writers just do not get it. I might expand that to say that people who are not in the arts don't get that while your particular art may have its wonderfully fun side, it's still work.
Hours upon hours go into practicing an instrument before you can play a song well. Artists put so many hours into art class before creating a beautiful painting.
And you spend so many years writing, taking writing classes, reading, studying craft and writing lots of crap, before a gem of a piece emerges, before your story or book or screenplay takes form and becomes something someone--an agent, an editor--wants to buy and publish.
Non-writers just do not understand.
In Pen on Fire, I talk about keeping quiet about what you're working on because you let the air out of it. The energy for the project dissipates.
I would broaden this to say, don't discuss your writing aspirations with your friends, especially if they're co-workers who feel stuck in their jobs and do not see a way out. They will want you to remain stuck as well, and the thought of you leaving, of you making something of your life that's more than they will ever see in their own lives, will fill them with dread and fear, and they will hurt you.
Share your writing dreams with other writers or artists, people who understand what it's like to ram your head against a wall--until it falls. And it will fall, if you ram it long enough.
Take heart. It's all about growing a thick skin. And it's about having empathy for people who have no dreams, or whose dreams have failed, but protecting your own dreams and doing everything you can do to make your dreams come true.
Have empathy, but protect yourself. What's that old, old saying: Don't cast your pearls before swine....
Your writing self is a delicate, beautiful part of yourself. Don't squander it. It takes so many hours of work and sacrifice to create works of art. The world needs art. Your sacrifice will pay off.
The creative life is a wild ride. Enjoy it (when you can).
Interesting talk on this Ash Wednesday.
Posted by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett at 10:46 AM