What does it cost to be a writer?

This past weekend, I was happy to be a part of the Written Word Festival for Chesterfield County, and in doing that, I had the opportunity to meet so many aspiring and novice writers. They exuded so much energy and had hopes for their future, but there was one thing that bogged them all down: not finishing their story.

It’s too simple to say that writers write. We do more than that. We bleed on the page. Our tears are sacrifices to the gods to breathe life into mere figments of our imaginations. We sweat and bear within our bones the cinder to start a spark — through our words we convey emotions and hopes — and if we are lucky, at the end of a story, we’ve entertained.

But to be a writer, it still comes down to the task of writing. It doesn’t matter on the genre, the beats, the tropes or themes used. Nor does it matter if one is successful or not, for success is not a standard but an achievement based on perception.

Writing a book is no small feat. Hours spent in front of a glaring monitor, and as life in this world continues on, we reveal to the world that which we understand behind closed doors, and in the recesses of our minds. Each word put upon the paper reveals a little more about us, the authors, and each scene carries a little of our souls.

So, at the conclusion of our greatest tome, we do a jig and wait, hoping that our imaginary friends will play with the reader, and that they will enjoy the tales that we’ve crafted. We stand there metaphorically naked, and bask in that it means to have accomplished a dream, but also to be on display.

For the books  we’ve created carry pieces of our souls; our heartbeats, our dreams and goals. Each character represents a part of us, through the darkened glasses often colored in varying tints.

What does it cost to be a writer? Writers write, but we do more than that — we tap into human emotion and offer an escape for the wearied soul. We teach — through hours spent doing research, and entertain. We counsel, console, and introduce concepts. We create bridges to cultures, and people, humanizing them in an often inhumane world. We reveal the nuggets of truth, and at the end, if we’ve done our jobs correctly, we’ve inspired someone, and made their lives a little bit better, a little bit brighter, a little bit more enjoyable.

This calling of writing is no easy task. It is filled with its own struggles, self-doubt and negativity, but it is knowing that our words have power that make writing such a great responsibility and reward.

I write because  I can’t imagine a world without stories, and I love the research. So, if you want to be a writer, the first thing you need to do is just simply, write; place your butt in your chair, and finish your story.

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