Ever since I wrote my first story eight years ago, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I self-published a novel when I wasn’t ready. Hell, even the damn thing wasn’t ready. At times I considered writing to be easy. It’s not. No matter how good you get at it, it’s never easy. I even considered myself to be a good writer, hiding inside a cocoon of shallow praise that sheltered me from the outside world. But there’s one mistake. The biggest of them all.
I gave up.
Around the age of sixteen, I just stopped writing altogether. And this self-imposed break lasted for more than two years.
Why did I give up? Because I had reached that point when I realized that writing isn’t fun. Or easy. Writing is damn hard, almost painful at times. Writing requires hard work and perseverance. And I’m notoriously lazy. It was difficult for me to find readers, so it was almost impossible for me to get any pleasure out of writing.
But then something happened. I told a friend of mine that I used to write, and she asked to read some of my stuff. I brought her some of my best short stories, and after she read them, I began rummaging through a folder on my computer I’ve named “Projects,” which was basically a collection of other empty folders, searching for a short story, a fragment, something I hadn’t brought her. But I found nothing worth sharing with her. So I began writing again. Just for one person. And I brought her a brand new story. And she loved it and asked for more.
So I wrote more. And more. And more.
Writing is a solitary job. There’s no doubt about it. But I find that we never, ever write just for ourselves. Whether we build him in our heads or he’s real, there’s always an ideal reader – someone we’re writing for. Just like a letter.
One person. Just one, out of eight billion who inhabit the Earth.
And it was enough to keep me going.
We, as human beings, need a reason for everything we do in life. A motivation, a reward.
And I found out that, oddly enough, what really triggered my creative process wasn’t money, or fame, or glory. What made me happy was seeing one person smile because I brought her a new story.
One person to genuinely like your writing.
Sometimes it’s enough. Sometimes it isn’t. But maybe we should all remember that we can only call ourselves writers if someone is willing to read what we’re writing.