Every writer is convinced he’s going to be famous. That’s the thing about us. We read the last thousand or five thousand words we just wrote and think we’re geniuses. We’re the next Henry Miller, the next Vonnegut, and for the especially hubristic, the next Chaucer.
But it won’t happen. It’s unlikely it will be you or me. The odds just don’t work in our favor. We tell ourselves we’re great, insightful and intellectual, and maybe we are, but statistics will blow the flame out and tell us we’ll be spending the rest of our lives being those nice things on our couch.
While a lot of writers spend most of their time drinking thinking that makes them a better writer, other writers are putting in the time, anywhere they can fit it in, because it’s their self-imposed obligation. The former are destined to fail; the latter just have a better chance than the former.
A bottle of gin sits alongside me, fitting the cliché, never thinking there’s any correlation between writer and drinker, and taking an inventory of my writing catalog. I’ve written for numerous small magazines, one newspaper, I’ve published one book and I write for a marketing company – the first place I’ve worked where I can say I really like everyone I work with (no, seriously).
But I could die tonight. And it wouldn’t matter.
I feel bad for people who haven’t found their passions. I don’t care what some people’s passions are. What’s most important is that you find it. Writing, tattooing, teaching, bee keeping, butterfly catching, welding, selling cars, who gives a shit; if you found it, you got it. If you found your passion, you’re much further along than most.
Writing feels to be a part of my essence, so understand when I feel bad for someone who has not found their passion. Finding a purpose in your life seems to be the first step in planning everything else in your life. If you don’t know why you’re here, how can you proceed? I can and have been able to ever since I accepted that the only thing I should do in life is write. Once I set that up, I knew everything could fall into place.
If I’m a writer first and foremost, if it’s my priority, everything else is secondary. It’s the perfect launching pad. All of my choices and decisions will be based on me being a writer. If I keep my passion as a priority, I won’t die with regret – and that’s my goal in life. Nothing is sadder than dying with regret. That’s why I strive to write, to be a good person, to not screw anyone over, to do everything right and understand that in the process, that won’t always work out.
I’m with you. Life is uncertain. Life is fucking scary at times – especially if you live in ignorance-praising Florida, but that’s no reason to sleep until noon and not take chances. Life is not for packing in success, it’s for packing in failures. Allot failures under your belt and people will know you take chances and know you’re not a coward. Have you ever met someone who hasn’t done anything with their life? You didn’t respect them, did you? Neither did I. Forget uncertainty. Make your way through it.
On a Tuesday night, with a bottle of gin, a broken heart and the acknowledgement that if I died anytime soon, I recognize my own immutability. While other seeks immutability through child-bearing, I seek it through writing. I’m not looking to be famous. I just have a lot of words, thoughts and sentences that need to get on paper as soon as they come. It’s a compulsion. It’s OCD for people obsessed with words. My only enemy is the misologist, but I’ll wipe that person away with the compulsion to put pen to paper. If writing is first and foremost, I can’t be destroyed.