First, I’d like you to watch this video. It’s really short, and I assure you it won’t be a waste of your time. Then, I’d like to tell you how much I agree with what Chuck Lorre had to say about writing.
I’m an ardent believer in the fact that all great writing comes from a place of truth, from a place well hidden inside our soul. I believe that those elements that are based on our own experiences, faults, and beliefs give substance to a story. I can see many writers who are reluctant about that. I can also understand why. It’s the most difficult thing to do. Once you start writing about yourself, in one way or another, you realize how difficult it really is.Being a writer is tough. It’s probably one of the most difficult jobs on the Planet. Because it’s the one job where, no matter how successful you become, you always have to start with a blank page. A page that doesn’t know and neither cares who you are. And that is frightening. Also, if you’re a real writer, you’ll never get the feeling that you’re good. You’ll still feel like writing shitty drafts, there will always be plenty of room for doubt.
Being a writer also means that to some people you might be the best writer ever and to some you’ll be the worst. Art is subjective; you should get used to criticism if you want to make it.
Being a writer is also about perseverance. You have to write and write and write. The world excepts nothing less than this kind of commitment from you. It’s a world of small steps – so small that at times you’ll feel like standing still. It’s also a world where shortcuts are short lived.
And, in the end, the world of a writer is a world where all odds are against you. Statistically, you’ll never earn enough to make a living out of writing alone.
So, patience is a virtue.
There are no shortcuts, no easy way out.
But if you write something you feel strongly about, people will respond. People will either love it or hate it, will either love you for it or hate you for it. Also, it means exposing yourself, it means that you have to be willing to let others dissect your most intimate thoughts.
Writing may be one of the most solitary of jobs, but it also means that you have to be willing to share your work with the world, to let everyone know who you are and how you feel. And no matter how you call your writing, no matter if you make it wear the camouflage of fiction, it’s still you, just you underneath all the embellishments.
In a way, there’s this odd convention at work. Readers read fiction, knowing it’s just made believe, but they also know that every story holds a bit of truth, a bit of the artist. The empathy of it all, the parts that are to be hated or loved. To be understood, absorbed, discarded as fake, irrelevant, harmful.
Writing is about people. It’s not about characters or pretty phrases. It’s about being honest to yourself, about analyzing who you are as a person. In a work of fiction, just like in a dream, you’re each and everyone of the characters. And those parts, the parts based on the real world, are always the ones that shine the brightest.
Every time I sit at my desk and start writing I know that it’s going to be painful. There’s no anesthetic, no painkillers. If you write real stories, it never comes easy. It’s always frightening. It’s not just work, just another job. It’s not enjoyable. It’s painful.
Some might rightfully ask, “Why write? If it hurts, why even bother?”
It’s not masochism, it’s realizing that all great things require a sacrifice. There’s no way to avoid it. The rewards come after you finish writing. When you realize that your story affects people, that it makes them laugh or cry, that it makes them think, it makes them smile. But the act of writing is not meant to be easy, fun, pleasurable.
The act of writing is just as painful as sticking a needle through your skin. In time, you might get used to the pain, but it will never stop hurting.