That's the title of this blog post by Rachelle Gardner and as I read the post, my first response to the question was: YES!
Of course, the comments in the post reflect my gut reaction. Most every writer who commented said that writing for them is a way of life and what isn't worth it is the risk of not writing. I have to admit, sometimes I have my doubts. When the rejection letters keep pouring in, I think, maybe I should find something else to do. Maybe I should focus on my day job and make a career out of it because that I seem to be good at. But, instinctively, I reach for the pen.
It is my home, the place I go to when all else has failed. When I'm down and feeling lonely, the pen is always there to comfort me. The characters I create never let me down, they don't end the relationship because they don't feel anything for me anymore, they don't walk out of my life unaware as to the regret they may feel later. They are there, always and forever.
Not being published will never stop me and even if I never get published, I will never stop writing. Just today, I finished writing the draft of my second book and it is an accomplished feeling I will never let go. I sometimes forget this feeling is there. When I struggled through some of the scenes, I forgot about they joy that's waiting for me when I pushed through. Now here I am, ready to take the manuscript to the next step. Here I am, a pasted smile on my face because I did something I love to do. I wrote a story that means something to me even if it doesn't mean anything to anyone else and it is something I will never give up.
Is the writing life worth it? I think the more appropriate question is: Is breathing oxygen worth it? Because that is what writing is, it is oxygen giving me life.
Today is National Day on Writing. As I look at the Twitter posts, read the articles and tweet my reason to the hashtag #whyiwrite, I think back reminiscing about my journey. I remember why I wanted to be a writer and why, after all this time, I still rely on it as an old friend I refuse to let go. So, today I'm going to tell you the story of how writing and I came to be.
I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't write. I still recall being a kid in elementary school jotting down rhyming limericks in my pink fuzzy diary because I thought all poems had to rhyme and even though I didn’t know it yet, it was the start of the most important friendship of my life. Then I got my hands on Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy and I was done for. Reading about Harriet and her desire to be a famous author made me realize that my words on paper weren’t just a dumb pipe dream of a 10 year old with big glasses and frizzy hair. This book made me realize that I too wanted to be an author, that I too wanted to write everything I knew and everything I saw and thus was the official start of my writing life.
It always stuck with me. No matter what I did or who I was, writing was a loyal friend with arms stretched open waiting for me to embrace it. I tried different things and experimented with different talents, but in the end writing was what I was meant to do. For a time in high school as I was applying to colleges, I began to think that maybe I could try my hand at acting. I applied to Emerson as a theater major selecting writing as a back-up in case I didn’t get into the program. I guess the universe knew better. Writing was what I went in for and I never looked back.
I found my writing self at Emerson. I fell in love with the first children’s writing course I took and I knew that was going to be my genre. As I progressed through my college years, writing never let me down. It stood by me at 4am as I was cramming the last few words onto my 15 page paper. It handed me tissues as I cried over whatever boy broke my heart and it picked me up when depression hit me hard. For almost two years, I lost myself. I didn’t know who I was anymore and as I struggled to find myself again, writing was my security blanket. I knew who I was when I had a paper and pen in my hand and as long as I had my writing, I would never be lost. It was then that I knew we were soul mates.
I don’t write for the glory of it. Even if I never become that famous author that Harriet wanted to be, I know I am happy with my writing. As I said in my Twitter post, “I write because it's who I am and to do otherwise would feel really strange.”
Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining ‘Blog’ is a fool’s errand.