“A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” – Junot Diaz
On the 29th of January 2013 I wrote a blog post about my struggles as a writer. I wrote it and knew that I was a writer. I wrote it and knew that I couldn’t live without my stories, without my characters, without my strange habit of angrily punching those keys on the keyboard late every night.
It’s been one hell of a ride, guys. Ups and downs, and moments of hopelessness. I’ve lost my way a few times, I’ve given up on writing because I thought that I had everything I needed in order to be happy. I thought that I only wrote because I wanted to escape some sort of personal hell.
Maybe it’s true. Maybe we all make art because we are running from something. We are hiding from the world behind words and paints and brushes, but art is also an act of creation. An act of faith.
We are artists because we hope. We hope that our art will change something. We hope that our words will make a difference.
We are artists because we love. We love in a way that most people would never understand. We love life, we’re not trying to escape it. We love life so much that we want to show others that it can be beautiful, that the life they want can be won.
We are artists because we’ve conquered fear. We’ve found freedom in the form of a story, or a song, or a movie. And we give others part of that freedom.
Art is not about fame, glory, money, or fans. It’s not about adoration. It’s all about happiness, and finding it in a way that doesn’t tie you to anyone else on this planet.
There’s nothing quite like it.
And, yes, sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes it seems like a waste of time. Sometimes you want to give up.
But who are you going to be if you give up?
Maybe you should stop. Go out, live your life. See the world. Have fun. Get your heart broken, once or twice. Fall in love with everything you feel deserves it.
One of two things will happen: you’ll either start to miss it or you won’t.
Whenever I gave up on writing, sooner or later, I’d start to miss it. I’d start by writing down a few sentences, I’d imagine stories and characters, and I’d listen to people talk in coffee shops or buses. I’d spend more and more time observing life, rather that living it. I’d listen to a song, and it would instantly create an image for me. And the image would grow and grow and become a story, and there’d be no other way than to write it into existence.
And, oh, how much I missed it. Punching those keys, walking around my living room like some lunatic because I can’t find the right words. The adrenaline rush of having written something that sounds perfect. Or almost.
I once wrote that I’d never have written a single word if I had been happy. Maybe I was right. But the truth is that I’d never have written a single word if it didn’t make me happy. If it didn’t give me so much more than just that.
Writing has given me purpose, direction, discipline. Writing has made me realize what I want to do with my life, and who I want to be. Writing has allowed me to see the world in a different way.
Never give up on your dreams. No matter how impossible they seem. Because if you do, you’ll spend a lifetime feeling as if life’s just running away from you. Life’s just something other people are experiencing and getting the most of. You’ll simply exist. You’ll eat, you’ll breathe, you’ll sleep. And that’s it. You’ll build a web of intricate routines to keep you busy. You’ll want noise, because you won’t stand the silence.
And every single moment you’ll spend all by yourself, that’s when the dream will come to haunt you in the form of this strange sense of emptiness. You’ll struggle to overcome it, but you won’t be able to.