Is it worth it? It’s a question we see over and over in the writing world. And not just introspectively, but, as was discussed in the comments of Nathan Bransford’s blog today, when we should and shouldn’t encourage writing.
To that question, Sex Scenes at Starbucks said it best:
I wholeheartedly agree that no one should discourage a writer to write. Who are we to make that call? But moreover, I liken this very conversation (sorry Nathan) to when my kids tattle.
I always ask them, "Who are you in charge of?"
"Just myself," they say.
Through the comments section, I kept reading the likes of, “But I hope a professional would tell me if I should throw in the towel and stop writing.”
To that I say there’s no magic indicator. No one can know such a thing. And that’s a question typically asked at the beginning of their journey, which makes it one thousand times more difficult to answer.
First, writing is a skill like any other and it takes, at the very, very least, 10,000 hours to get to mastery. There is no telling, by how much your first efforts suck or don’t suck, where you’ll be in twenty years. Even ten years down the road, there is no telling how much you’ll grow in another ten years.
Worse, even when you’re great, you’ll still write a clunker now and then. (Sometimes they’ll even be published!)
There’s no way for someone else to ever say, “You won’t ever make it.” Worst of all, in this business, there’s no way for someone to say, “You rock. There’s no way you won’t be published.” (I’ve thought and said that about so many people who haven’t been, which sucks.)
We are such a success-focused society. It’s crazy. It’s like some people think someone’s choice to write is only wise if they get published one day. Getting published is not a big deal. It’s an ego rush for five minutes (hopefully only five minutes, but sometimes they can get out of hand), you get a check (and getting a check may feel great, but in the long run, doing something for money is far less fun than doing something for fun), and the IRS says you’re a writer and asks you to hand over half your income (which sucks).
Of course, when the going gets tough, we ALL wish a fairy godmother would come from the future and say, “Someday, this will all be worth it.” But we are grown-ups, and we have to make our journey worth it, no matter what the whole world may think or judge, because somedays may or may not come.
What think you?