I wish writing was beautiful. I wish it was like this picture; romantic and inspiring, wistful and admirable. I wish that when someone asked me what I do, they pictured this instead of some sort of cliched artist who watches a lot of TV and doesn’t have a proper diet.
I wish, often, I was not a writer.
I have a quote taped near my desk by Gore Vidal. It says, “I was born a writer. If you’re born that, you can’t change it. You’re going to do it whether you want to or not.”
I try to remember that when Austin asks for the 100th time when my writing is going to make money or when a friend asks if I’ve ever thought about getting a part time job, just for something to do.
I try to remember Lady Gaga and that I was born this way.
I try to remember that being a nurse wouldn’t be all that better.
A few weeks ago I met with someone who wants to write a book and she made a comment that has haunted me ever since. She said, “writing just comes so easy to you.”
There is a scene in the movie Juno when the main character (Juno) tells her best friend Bleeker that she’s in love with him. He says, “You mean as friends?” And she says no, for real, because he’s the coolest person she’s ever met and he doesn’t even have to try. There’s a dramatic pause here and then he responds, “I try really hard, actually.”
I think about this scene whenever someone mentions it’s all so easy for me; the writing, the blogging, the well constructed sentences. I try really, really hard actually. And even then, I fail a lot. I write a lot of really crappy things and throw out more than I keep. I use too many commas and insert more than my share of misplaced modifiers.
I live the same life as most every other writer: in a state of constant failure.
I wish it was easy. I wish I sat down every day and wrote something great. I wish that when someone asked what I do for a living, I didn’t have to make something up. I wish saying “I’m a writer” didn’t make you sound like an asshat.
I wish I was Anne Lamott.
There comes a time in every writer’s life when you write terrible sentences like “there comes a time in every writer’s life” and just accept your fate. This is it. This is me. I’ll be here writing bad sentences and banging my head on the desk until I’m 100 years old and turn into a giant Cheeto. It isn’t cute. It isn’t a hobby. Writing is, unfortunately, what I do.