Sometimes, when I decline invitations to hang out and be social (which isn’t something I do often), in order to sit at home and write, I receive an eye roll, or, if having a phone conversation, feel the eye roll flowing through the line. My guess is the other person is thinking, “Seriously? You’re going to be one of those?”
Those being the people who dream of writing and becoming famous one day, of changing the world with their completely original, groundbreaking thoughts on life. Those people that decline social interaction at times, in order to hang out with the voices in their head; people who can come across as superior and self important. Or maybe just weird. Those people who chase dreams that, for about 99% percent of the world, just. won’t. come. true.
To everyone else, pursuing a career in writing, especially in a way that puts bread on your table every night, is a pointless pursuit. The odds are against you always.
So is it pointless? And at what point should a writer give up?
Here are my thoughts on the matter.
Yes, it can be a pointless pursuit, but whether it is pointless for you or not, depends on where your heart is.
Where are your desires and intentions when you sit at your computer, or with a notepad and pencil, to write?
I first fell in love with writing when my cousin told me I should write a journal. She said it was awesome to write things and look back years later to see how all of it played out and worked together to form who you are. (Those weren’t exactly her words, but that was what she meant, I’m sure.) So I did.
After that, writing became something I did often- journaling and poetry mostly.
Now, I have a hard time understanding myself and deciphering emotions until I’ve written them down. When they are on paper, no longer raving in my chest and head, I suddenly have perspective.
I also write because I love creating worlds and characters, and learning from them.
Writing is not pointless for me.
But let’s talk about you for a second. Have you ever wondered if the hours at your computer, toiling endlessly, are in vain? To better judge if writing is a pointless pursuit in your life, ask yourself these questions.
Three questions to ask before becoming a writer:
- Why do I write? (And be honest. Are you thinking about the acclamation you’ll get upon publishing, or the fat check you’ll receive?)
- Am I moved by other people’s writing? (In other words, are you a zealous reader?)
- Would I write if I could peer into the future and see that I’ll never get published? (If that’s enough to make you quit, then go ahead and give it up. Your chances of hitting it big are as good as mine. Walking that road is lonely and harrowing anyway, at least that’s what I’ve been told by someone who has published without gaining fame and fortune. And for most of us, if we do actually get published, it will be under those same circumstances.
SO! If writing is something you love down to your soul, then it is no more pointless to you than chasing a squirrel is to a dog. Who cares if you never catch the squirrel, when chasing it brings such joy?
Some encouragement: Never stop writing, never stop studying and honing your craft, and never stop writing!