And What Exactly Is It You Do?

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How many times have you been confronted by the above question during your lifetime? I was reading an article posted by Jay Lake on this very subject earlier today in relation to those of us who are writers.

Whenever you answer by telling the usually disinterested questioner you are a writer, either their eyes glaze over and move on, or they start asking you inane questions like – ‘Will I have read anything you have written?’ Or they may even say something equally inane like – ‘Oh yes I’ve wanted to write my life story for positively ages, but I can never find the time.’

Writing is quite simply the most demanding of all the disciplines. Reading the products of our efforts is easy and relaxing, writing it is anything but. If you are serious about writing, your days are fraught with countless hours of anxiety. Your every waking moment is given over to how you have constructed that last sentence, or what will happen next in the plot.

Most people still believe that writing is not a ‘proper job’, and that it is the preserve of the idle and indigent. Well writing is certainly not nine to five by any stretch of the imagination. Forget about commuting and spending time in the workplace being paid on a regular basis.

They are right on the second point. Most of us make very little if anything from the product of those thousands of hours we spend sweating blood over our current work in progress, just to deliver that, novel, short story or article you happily read on your way to and from work, or on your holidays.

So the next time you ask someone what they do and they reply ‘I’m a writer’, don’t simply ignore them or turn your nose up with a superior air. Think on. A writer’s existence is one of the toughest, least financially rewarding and tortuous within society today.

Writing is definitely not for the faint hearted, only the brave and completely dedicated write, sacrificing a normal existence to fulfil their dreams.

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