The title above is one of my favorite lines in the movie Shakespeare in Love.
It’s a scene where Shakespeare is chasing after Gwyneth Paltrow, (I don’t remember her name in the movie) so he jumps in a small boat and the guy rowing the boat recognizes him as the great playwright. So out of the blue the boat rower guy pulls a manuscript out of his butt (not his real butt, that would be gross) and says the above line as he tries to get Shakespeare to take a look at it (the manuscript, not his butt).
It seems like everyone one wants to be a writer. I don’t know why that is. I am not sure if I want to be one. I know I want to write. I like to write, to express on paper with words (paper, lol), but I am not sure I want to be a “writer” or experience anything that might come with that. I am not sure, but I think that I don’t like writing knowing that I would have a reason to write other than I feel like doing it. I don’t want to have to write. Writers have to write. Sounds like work.
But what makes us think that we can be writers? I know I have posed this question before, but seriously, what in the world makes us think that we can? Even if we can what in the world makes you think you can be successful at it? Most people don’t like to think like this, but it is entirely possible that you sit down and write 70,000 words and nobody on the planet will want to read it. Not a single one. Many (most?) of you out there will write books that almost no one will want to read. That is a fact. I have written many things that no one wants to read. There is just no telling what people want to read. I don’t write with the idea of what people might want to read anyway. I don’t think that way. But many of you do. You are trying to write the next best seller and chances are when you are done no one will read it. There are millions of unread books out there. Many of you have books on Amazon and can’t get a dozen people to read them. Yes, yes I know, getting people to read your stuff is not just a function of how good it is and many other factors are involved (like advertising) but still, no one is reading it.
I used to think that in order for people to want to read something, it needed to be well written, and it needed to be a good and an interesting story. Twilight and Fifty Shades cleared that up real quick. Lighting quick.
Still, even if it does or doesn’t take any real talent to win at writing, why do many people want to do it? Or even think they can? Do that many of us really have a story to tell? Are any of those stories original anymore?
I can understand people out there writing a journal for personal reasons, or writing to pass down family stories. But there are millions of people out there who actually think they can sit down and write a book, and that somebody might actually want to read it. If I were to make a guess I would guess that many of them actually can’t. It isn’t as easy as many wanna-be writers think it is. I understand why they think that though (aside from stupid 50 shades and Twilight).
People think “Well, those are just words, right? And I know words, right? I mean I can write sentences and stuff, so yeah, why not? If I were to pick up a book right now I would know every word in it so yeah, why not me?”. It almost makes a little sense. Until it doesn’t. Until you sit down at your computer and nothing happens. Oh yeah, you spurt out some words here and there for a bit. You’ll make sentences and paragraphs and then it hits you that you have no idea where you are going, or even how to get there if you did. Everybody can throw words together for a little while. But to write for any length of time and make it all good takes both hard work and talent. Writing isn’t easy. Writing well is even harder. If you try it enough, you might even realize that the only truly easy thing about writing is getting it all wrong.
You need to decide yourself if you can ever be a writer and plan accordingly. By that I don’t mean that you need to stop writing. Those two things are not the same. Write every day if it makes you happy. But don’t waste your time trying to be a writer when you have so many other things you can be doing. The decision is yours (before some of you cry babies comment and say I am telling people not to write). I’m just saying think about it before it consumes your life and you look back and wonder what you could have done with all that time you wasted writing. I think about it all the time.
We can’t all be writers. We shouldn’t all be writers. If everyone is writing, who is actually out there doing something worth writing about? Right?
P.S. Having said all that, I hope you have an amazing writing day!! You didn’t think I was talking about you, did you? You go write.