What is writing? What is an author? Some people may think of an author as simply a person who writes a story, a person who crafts words. That is true, but not by half. Writing is a shell, an armor that we hold around ourselves: a protection against assault I guess it could be described as. Some may say that to be a writer is to be a coward, writing about heroic deeds while hiding behind a pen.
But I beg to differ.
Writing is anything but cowardly. Do you know what it takes to write? It takes becoming a whole new person—not yourself, a whole different character. You don’t just think one day, “I’m going to be a writer because it’s cool”, and then proceed to churn out half a dozen pages about a lovesick teenager in high school and then leave off because it got hard. Or you got bored.
No, a real writer suffers through; forcing themselves to write, write, write, because that’s what they live for. It’s not about writing when you want to write, it’s about writing when you hate it—when your soul is bleeding through your fingers, when your characters mutiny against you, when each word comes as a challenge. Because that takes true grit. To carry on, to write with all your will when you don’t know what to say, that is courage. And to love every second you do.
Anyone can write when they know what to say, what words to write upon the page. But a true writer will find what to write deep within them.
After hours of frustration and red-inked paragraphs.
After deleted and re-written scenes.
After pages upon pages of descriptions only to be trashed.
Many people do not understand the relationship between an author and their novel. Our writing to us is like our child. You don’t raise your child quickly; it is a gradual process, per se. The same with a story, book, or memoir. You don’t rush what is placed between the pages—you write with you fingers, you mind, and your soul…and never expect other people to understand.
That is what it is to be a writer—and I have merely scratched the surface. To really understand what it is like, look through the countless drafts, many tired nights, frustrations with a certain sentence, struggles with descriptions, choppy dialogue, and conversations we have with our characters as if they were real people.
That’s where you’ll find what it truly takes.