How to become a writer

Start fights, throw punches, get your heart broken, drink that bottle of wine, be the other woman, watch your grandmother die, smoke that blunt, snort that line of coke. Go home and write it all down. Pour it onto the paper. Let your emotions roam and vomit out all the words you could never say sober. Let the pen be the messenger. And the paper its lover.

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Writing always came easy to you, at least in a classroom full of 13-year-olds. But writing is a fine art. Writing is a love affair, between the pen and the paper. Writing is a solitary act. It’s being the only one awake at 4am, drinking or smoking or both, all to the soft hum of your laptop. In front of your laptop, from now on it’s the only place you’ll ever be. Everything in your life is now performed in front of that gleaming screen. Your only company being the made-up characters inside your head.

It’s reading Hemingway or Dickens and never feeling good enough. Never finding the right words and never measuring up to any writer. It’s rushing home from the store with a brilliant idea, only to have it vanish in front of your eyes when you grab for the pen. It’s eating noodles for five days straight, because that’s all you can afford. You chew on the end of your pen, trying to suck the ideas out of it. You go to pour yourself a drink, unconsciously deciding that you’d rather drink yourself to death than ever publish something mediocre.

Growing up, your mother always used to tell you how good your writing was. From essays to short stories to poems. Even the teachers loved them, rewarding you with many A’s. Yet growing up and becoming a writer was never an option. “It isn’t a real job honey” your mother would assure you. Or at least not as real as a doctor or a teacher or a lawyer. Those were the ‘real jobs’. So, growing up you wanted to be many things, first an actor, then a surgeon, a pilot, a lawyer, a designer, a plastic surgeon, a marine biologist and then… Suddenly you didn’t know anymore. You wanted to be everything and nothing at all, all at once. So, you became a writer.

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