27 June 2011
I'm twenty-four years old. I'm still young, but I'm not a kid anymore. If you look at my life in terms of goals met and prizes won, you could say that I've really accomplished very little. 

Deciding to become a writer might have been the most impractical choice I've ever made. So far, it's meant years of hard work without any pay off. While everyone else was starting their careers and making something of themselves, I have been poring over pages and pages of paper.

When you tell someone you want to be a novelist, however kind their response, you can usually see the skepticism in their eyes. Sure, I can explain my passion for storytelling and how I've wanted to do this since I was a little girl. It's still going to sound more like a psychological condition than a smart career move. And that's okay. I'm not doing this to impress anyone... and maybe you do have to be a little crazy to devote your life to something that might never happen.

Time is precious  it cannot be renewed or rewound  and five years is quite a lot of it. But I wouldn't trade what I've written for all the time in the world. Because this isn't just a story I've told. It's an experience I've had. Every sentence holds more meaning to me than anyone will ever know.

I know I'm taking a risk. I know that all of this could come to nothing. But it's a risk that I'm willing to take. I'm doing what I love, what I'm passionate about. I think one could do worse.

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Are you a dreamer like me? What are you passionate about


Kristan said...

I am passionate about this post!! :)

"and maybe you do have to be a little crazy to devote your life to something that might never happen."

Yup, hehe.

Obviously I share the same dream as you, and I'm 1 year old but pretty much in the same boat. It IS hard to go against the grain, to watch everyone around you get their promotions and their paychecks and whatnot. But I think about 5 more years down the road, how things may change, and what I might accomplish, and I realize that it's okay if my timetable is a little different. It'll all be worth it in the end.

Anthony Lee Collins said...

What Kristan said. :-)

(Except that I expect she meant to say that she is one year older, not one year old :-) )

Well, I am a bit older than both of you put together, and I've been writing fairly seriously since I was around 15, and I heartily recommend it. I've finished two novels, a dozen or so mystery stories, and am now about to do a second draft of my third novel. I have a few readers, not many, and have made a total of $20.16.

I think it's important to really understand what you want out of writing (and that can change over time, of course). There was a good thread recently about this over here:

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

Stephanie, I can feel all of this about your writing and I have no doubt that one day you'll have a bunch of readers. Five years for the first one...five months for the next one, right? None of it is time wasted, and like Kristan said, we're just on a different timetable. xx

Joelle said...

Every sentence holds more meaning to me than anyone will ever know. That is the payoff, but I guess if your talking in terms of a steady paycheck then yeah writing is a risky career choice. Life itself is a risk laden adventure. It's better because there are those who chose to be a writer.
Same wave length indeed, love it. :)

Juliann Wetz said...

This is a beautifully written post. I especially liked your line "...however kind their response, you can usually see the skepticism in their eyes." I think every writer can relate to that.

Being a writer takes courage. But maybe only other writers can understand how much.

Stephanie Mooney said...

Kristan, yes! It WILL be worth it in the end. That makes it easier, doesn't it?

Anthony, great advice and thanks for the link. I enjoyed that post. :)

Sarah, Thanks!! I don't know where I would be without you and the other WHYA girls.

Joelle, I told you! Great minds think alike, I suppose. "Life itself is a risk laden adventure." LOVE that. You're like a quote machine.

Juliann, being a writer DOES take courage. Even though writing is a solitary activity, I think we need to be part of a community to survive. Because, you're right. Sometimes only other writers understand.

sonje said...

Boy, I hate coming off preachy, and I really hope I'm not, but odds are none of us are going to make any significant money or have any significant amount of readers. So what does that mean for you? Does that make your writing mean less? Is the goal money and audience? To say that "it will be worth it in the end..." Well, "the end" might look a lot like right now. Is right now good? And if so, who cares about "the end"?

Whoopie Goldberg was once asked for advice on how to become a great actress, a successful one, like she is. And she answered (I'm paraphrasing), "If you want to be a good actor, you can do that. Work on your skills. Hone your craft. Go to workshops. Study the greats. You can become a good actor. That's in your control. But if you want to be famous, no one can help you with that. It's a crapshoot."

Stephanie Mooney said...

Sonje, I love telling a story. That's true whether people ever read it or not.

That said, I would like to make a living, and there's no shame in that. Dream job implies pay checks, right? "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." Isn't that what everyone wants?

I know the chances of that are very few — that was my whole point, after all — but a girl can dream, can't she? Whatever happens, my first love is putting words on a page. That part won't change. I just might have to keep my day job. :)

kaye (paper reader) said...

I'm such a dreamer that at times I have to pinch myself and float back down a few feet toward reality to stay somewhat grounded. Dreams are hard and scary because you so desperately want them to come true and you're never quite sure if all of the effort you're putting into them being real will come out to something.

But...we only have one chance at life. I won't waste mine not doing everything I can to make the things I want to happen come true. I wanted to go back to school - I'm going back to school. That's just the tip of the iceberg but, for me, it's a step in the right direction.

You have to make you happy sometimes, too, or else it's hard to spread that cheer to others. To be honest, one of my goals is to finish a book myself. Will I ever get it published? I don't know. But I have to at least try. :)

Sorry if I went on a tangent!

Stephanie Mooney said...

Kaye, tangents are welcome here. :) I completely agree with everything you said. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone in having improbable hopes. What's life without a little risk, right?

P.E. said...

Being a writer is a really scary choice but the fact that you took it shows how passionate you are for your work. I can't say I'd do the same because writing isn't my passion but I can understand giving your all for something that matters.

Right now I'm young enough to not need to consider a job right away but I know in the future I'll do anything for what I love and what's wrong with that paying off?

Stephanie Mooney said...

Thank, P.E.! I guess all the choices worth making are usually a bit scary.

Finding what you're passionate about is sometimes just as hard as actually doing it. Start thinking about it early. ;)

Courtney Koschel said...

Wonderful post! And I second that. I've been writing and telling stories since I could hold a pen. I have a bachelors in journalism and poured my heart and soul into boxes of notebooks. I started writing seriously about five years ago as well. I love how you say the writing itself is an adventure. I have learned so many things and met so many new people and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Like most writers, my dream is to make my living off of the written word, but I would write regardless. In this day in age (and economy), nothing is guaranteed. You can have a steady day job and then lose it. You can go to college and then never find a job. It's a tough reality, but it IS reality.

Keep dreaming and keep writing. They say the difference between a writer and a published writer is never giving up. And I take comfort knowing I have stubbornness and tenacity on my side ;)


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