About a week ago, I reached out to #writingcommunity on twitter and asked people what was the best and worst thing about being a writer. The answers were mixed, but there was definitely a theme that I could relate with. (You can find the original thread here).
Best Thing About Being a Writer
Getting lost in the world I've created
Watching my characters deal with the world and events I throw at them.
Meeting other writers and hanging out with them
Creating worlds and characters and watching them develop
Living vicariously through a character
Writing is magic and creativity is joy
Having people who "get" you
Feeling like this is exactly what I'm meant to do in life.
Worst Thing About Being a Writer
Separating honest feedback from the trolls
Being asked, "How much do you earn from your writing" or "How many books have you published?"
Having to do so much of the process alone
Writing is solitary
Feeling I have no idea what I'm doing and wanting to give up
Fearing that my story is terrible
No immediate rewards, payments, or feedback
Feeling isolated and unmotivated
I think you can notice a theme with the "worst" thing. For many, writing is an isolating craft. You create characters and a world from your head, put it all down on paper, huddle with a computer and a notepad to develop your story...it's hard not to feel alone. At the same time, we fear what happens when we offer our work to people through way of editing or publishing. Will they provide honest feedback? Will they hate it? Will they review it at all? How dare we bare our soul to the world?
It's often said that we are our own worst critics, and I think we can see that in the list above. We're so afraid of failure and how our story isn't good enough. We beat ourselves down, thinking we can never amount to the other authors out there. It's a heartbreaking feeling, and it sometimes keeps writers from putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Some people stop all together because of that insurmountable feeling that they're not good enough.
But, on the flip side, look at all the amazing things that come out of writing. When you meet other creative minds, it's wonderful to develop a community where you can support each other. As I write this, I'm with The Rainbow Room of The Writers' Rooms, an LGBT writing group. I've met incredible people through the Rooms, through twitter, instagram, facebook, etc. There's a community out there for you, you just have to find the right one. If anything, start with #writingcommunity on twitter.
Writing also allows you to let your creative juices flow into the creation of worlds, characters, magic systems, alien races, and more. How amazing is that? You get to develop this thing that you can call your very own! I often read books to escape reality and stresses of the day. Writing (usually) lets me do the same thing, provided I'm not ready to throw the book out the window. That's special, and you should feel proud of the things you develop. Yes, first drafts suck. Yes, we all need and editor. But in the end, you take nothing and make something incredible; be proud!
Writing, as with all things, can have its drawbacks, but if we focus only on the negative, then we miss the good things that come with it. So to those of you struggling and wondering if you're good enough or if you're the only one who feels alone...there are others out there who feel exactly the same way. You aren't alone. And I hope you find the courage to pick up that pen or open up that laptop and share your story with the world. Because you deserve to be heard.