I follow a lot of writers — here on WordPress, and across several platforms and internet spaces — and I have a handful of friends and relations that are writers as well. All of them have one unifying statement, when asked “How do you know you’re a writer?”.
They say, “I have to write.”
Then they crush brick with their bare hands, and it turns into a glimmering red jewel. They place it on their brow, and a diadem of pure light and awesomeness appears.
[Okay, that only happened once.]
You know what I mean — the type of artist that knows in their bones, that they will continue to make their art regardless of any discouragement, regardless of outside factors. Steven King is a good example — that man has retired, what – eight times now? Then a few months pass, and another 1200 page tome appears on bookshelves across the globe. The man literally can’t stop.
Since starting the blog — and for better or worse, publicly defining myself as a writer – it’s something that I’ve grappled with a little bit.
Because I can stop. Because I don’t have to write.
I’m a slacker by nature — I just turned 32 recently, and this blog, Lodestar, and THAT THING are the longest sustained creative projects of my life. I’ve always been more comfortable with art that had a clear expiration date. You finish the painting, you close the show, you crack the joke.
I think that’s why I’m so focused on my weekly deadlines for page counts on That Thing — I have a deep sinking sensation that if I miss a deadline — It’ll be that much easier to miss the last one, then I won’t be even a faux-writer anymore. The endless minutiae of life — plus abundant other creative projects would pull me away, and I’d never come back — never finish.
So if you have a compulsion in your bones to write — I envy you. But if you’re like me — if you have to continually crack the whip, and keep yourself on task — if you’re more than a little scared that you’re not going to make it to the end — I know your pain.