To Call Yourself A Writer

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Rob Edwards is a writer. And he is proud to admit it. Here’s why.

Like most my age, I’m languishing in that part of life filled with job applications and rejections…

Like most my age, I’m languishing in that part of life filled with job applications and rejections with a few small precious successes along the way (without wanting to go over old ground, you should check out my last article for Rife). No matter what various and sundry jobs I have over the next few years maybe, I’d like to one day be able be able to call myself a writer. It’s a title I’ve so far held off of giving myself, maybe out of modesty or feeling I’ve yet to reach the standards required of me. As a career path it’s one fraught with rejections, sleepless nights and wracked nerves, but when you love doing something you don’t mind the difficulties of it.

Writing is what I love.

Writing is what I love. I don’t know when the urge to write took me over, all I know is that it did and that it makes me happy. It’s something that comes naturally to me, my mind is forever racing with new and exciting turns of phrase, plot lines for screenplays I’ll never write or small poems I’ll forget after a few moments.

Not a day goes by when I’m not tapping away at my keyboard, and while most of it maybe unpublishable filth there are a enough gems to keep me hopeful. Some days the words come thick and fast and It’s difficult to keep up with all the ideas flying around your head. Of course the converse is also true. Days when writing even the most simple sentence becomes a laborious trial of patience and willpower. As with any skill or job you take the rough and smooth, learning and getting better as you do so.

As with any skill or job you take the rough and smooth, learning and getting better as you do so.

Writing, as with any creative pursuit can have a massive effect on your life. It consumes your every waking thought, thinking of new ideas, altering how you see the world and how you interact with it. But for all the positives it has, it brings with it some almost crippling drawbacks. It can at times be a solitary existence with social interaction being forsaken in favour of the fictional ones you create. We’re all familiar with storytelling – it’s ingrained in us from a young age, from books to films to television, but what isn’t so obvious is the processes behind it, the writer’s block, the cycle of drafting and redrafting. None of which is ever seen by the outsider. Unlike playing a instrument like the guitar, It’s not a skill that can be shown off at parties, you can’t write a short monologue in front of a crowded room and expect a standing ovation once your done.

Wanting to build a life around writing today can be tricky

Wanting to build a life around writing today can be tricky, especially if you want to be able to live off writing as well. The wealth of technology at our fingertips has in many ways devalued the written word; sales of print books have steadily fallen while cheaper ebook sales have gone up, meaning writers get less for the same work. Our attention spans have grown shorter, but our desire for content has grown and with that video has really become the popular medium of the internet age. That and an ever growing base of people willing to write for free on their own blogs means the market for a fulltime writer is shrinking. There are of course the big name writers whose success becomes the thing of legend. JK Rowling could live comfortably several life times over with her earnings, EL James never has to (to the relief of critics) write again. But these people are the exception not rule. The best most of us can hope for is a self published ebook which a few friends and family buy for 99 pence.

The best most of us can hope for is a self published ebook which a few friends and family buy for 99 pence.

But none of that matters to me and it shouldn’t matter to anyone else either. No one has ever picked up an instrument or paint brush and say ‘this is how I’ll make my fortune’ and it’s the same with writing for me. I do it because I love it, if that ends up making me a few quid than that’s a wonderful cherry on top. But the money should never matter, the craft is what matters. Writing a sentence that can make people laugh or cry is its own reward. Whether I’m writing articles for places such as Rife, working on that book I promised I’d write this year or just venting on my blog, writing has and will remain and incredibly important part of my life.

What do you think? Are you a writer? Do you find it a tough thing to admit in public? Join us @rifemag

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