This is my claim, hear me roar.
Writing is a tricky thing. I never really thought about how hard it was to be a writer. That is a horrible thing to say, but it’s the truth.
See, I imagined a writer to be… calm. Zen almost, as if words just flowed out of the mind and onto the pages. I pictured myself as a writer every so often when I would space out at my real job. The fantasy always looked something like this:
I sit, curled up in an armchair with a laptop burning against my bare legs, drawing inspiration from the view of an incredible sunrise, faint orange with streaks of pink hovering atop. A coffee mug, teasing me with the scent of freshly brewed coffee, only an arm-reach away. And suddenly, I begin to type rapidly as if my WPM cannot keep up with my racing thoughts. A plot forms instantly in my mind and characters spring to life. The cursor never halts, blinking, waiting, mocking.
Of course I would be living in a fancy house on the beach with huge floor-to-ceiling windows. Yeah, that’s what I fantasize about. It doesn’t take long for me to realize that this is not the case. It’s the freaking opposite side of the spectrum.
Writing isn’t a hobby. I used to claim it as a hobby. It occurred to me that I was lying. A hobby is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time, according to Apple dictionary that is. I’m a liar on two counts. One, I do not write regularly (as much as I hate to admit it). And two, during my leisure time I watch TV or workout (two things I do to avoid writing, again, I hate to admit it). So, what is writing to me? And why can’t it be claimed as a hobby?
One stone, two birds. Writing is a creative outlet. It intrigues you. It offers you an opportunity to create another world. It urges you to share that world with others through the art of words. You spend years, months, weeks, days, hours, writing something and you yearn to have people believe in the world you bore. You want to draw feelings out of people. Have them feel what you trigger them to feel through characters, dialogue, and descriptions. The ecstasy of it gets you addicted, as it should. You don’t write for yourself. You write to be understood. To be heard. To be present. To be seen.
I could be completely bonkers. True. It wouldn’t be the first time. But this is a new perspective that I’m bearing. I think it’s time for me to stop hiding behind this notion of writing being a hobby. Yes, I do sometimes write for myself. Personal thoughts and emotions that I cannot keep inside. That’s what journals and diaries are for. Writing in one’s diary is not a hobby. That could be a basis of an argument, but let’s save that for another time. What I’m trying to conclude is that writing is difficult. Being a writer is one of the hardest jobs in the world, which is why there are very few of them and why they are the most underpaid, under-appreciated, overworked, and highly criticized. To be a writer you have to be committed. Disciplined. Outspoken. Blunt. And most of all, fearless.
I’m going to take full ownership in this claim: I, Katie Chau, am a writer. I’m not published or famous or haven’t done really anything in the literary industry, so reprimand me if you must. The one thing I learned from all the creative classes I’ve taken in college is that no one declares you a writer. You must claim yourself and be the one who disciplines if you don’t honor the claim. It’s time I start honoring it.