Confession: I hate it when writers complain about how hard it is to write.
I’m not gonna pretend it’s always easy, as if the moment you sit down, inspiration comes streaming in like sunlight through an open window in summer.
Yes, there are days when you sit and stare at a blank page and it stares back at you, unblinking, trying to suck your soul dry and make you question everything. There are days when it’s incredibly hard work to get words on the page, and even harder work to make sure those words aren’t the worst drivel you’ve ever written. I get that.
It’s a privilege to do what you love. Do you realize how many people get up every morning and go to a job they hate, simply because they don’t feel like they have any other option? That my friends is hard. The occasional day when writing feels like a job instead of a passion ain’t nothin’ in comparison.
(You can tell I feel strongly about something when my southern ghetto side comes out, m’kay chil’?)
How can you possibly sit in a comfy chair at a desk in your home office or at your local coffee shop, creating characters and worlds and plots, and complain about it? You get to do what you love. (And if you don’t love it, stop. Right now. Because your potential readers deserve better.)
I’m gonna go ahead and say that again. Ya’ll better listen up.
You’re working your dream job. Yes, some of you have other jobs and a lot of times those “gotta pay the bills” jobs aren’t the most fun. But it’s writing you complain about?
Unh-unh. Not on my watch. I’m callin’ you out.
Of course it’s not easy. Do you think it would be as meaningful if writing a book were as simple as alphabetizing files? I’m glad it’s hard. It weeds out the casual hobbyists from the in-it-for-lifers. It forces us to be better, to push past the difficulties, and makes us appreciate the easy days so much more.
Even on the worst days, when you’re stuck in revision hell or you have a plot that’s unraveling faster than your latest attempt at knitting, you get to live a dream, a passion. You chose this life and it chose you. And that, ladies and gents, is an honor.
So I’m holding us to a higher standard. I’m challenging writers to stop whining and, well, write. We have the best job in the world (in my humble opinion 😉 ) and an entire sea of opportunities for growing and reaching people with our art.
Shame on us for complaining when the words don’t come as quickly as we’d like.
So let’s stop sharing our heartbreaking writing woes on Facebook and Twitter, and go write something like it’s a beautiful gift we’re meant to share with the world. Because it may very well be.
I’m sorry for this messy, broken world you’ve inherited. A world where anyone can be targeted for anything they do or say. A world where the term “terrorist” is used daily.
You won’t remember this, but back before 9/11, “terrorism” was something that happened in other countries. Like car bombs and drone strikes. It was horrible, but a world away.
Until it came to us. Until it landed on our shore.
I’m sorry that you won’t remember a world before that.
I’m sorry that there are metal detectors in your school and lockdown procedures for school shooter scenarios.
I’m not praising the past. It had its problems, believe me.
And the future isn’t all dark.
Because I believe in the strength of the future generation. In you, Bridget. I think your generation will refuse to accept limitations to what you can do and achieve.
More than any generation before you, I believe you’ll learn how to assert yourself and ensure your voice is heard, your contributions acknowledged. I think you’ll grow up showing your male peers exactly how talented you are, so that they will grow into men who respect you as an equal.
You’ll grow up seeing the broad reach of a single action in this incredibly connected world, and that ability to reach across and around the world will impact the way you think.
It will be easy to grow cynical, though. To focus on how imperfect and broken the world looks. And it is. I’m sorry for that. But it always has been horribly imperfect. So fight for the good. Because although there is darkness in this world, there is still good. And you get to be a part of it, Bridget. If you choose it.
Terrorism only achieves its goal when you give in to fear. Darkness can only consume you if you hide the light of hope.
You’ll encounter issues and problems previous generations never had to deal with. You’ll no doubt see more attacks and hatred flowing in any number of directions. But you’ll also have more opportunities than any other generation, more options for your future and chances to make a positive impact.
Sooner than you think, the world will belong to your generation. You won’t feel ready for it. You never will. But you’ll have everything you need to fight for hope, to fight for the future you want.
Hold onto that, Bridget. And don’t let anyone steal away your belief in a bright future. It’s yours. You only have to fight for it.
What’s Dear Bridget all about? It’s a series on my blog composed of letters to a hypothetical teen girl named Bridget. Why Bridget? It means strong. And it represents the current generation of young women. These letters are my attempt to break through the chaos and the crap that’s flying at today’s young woman in order to offer advice and encouragement, from me and other incredible women who remember what it was like to be in her shoes.
If you’re a teen girl and you’ve got a question or issue you’d like us to address, let me know. Just click on the contact button (that round envelope icon at the top of the sidebar) and send me your thoughts. If you’re a strong adult woman who remembers those teen years clearly and would like to write to Bridget, feel free to contact me and tell me about yourself.