I am currently reading Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing A Novelist Looks at His Craft, a book by the man who came up with the character Rambo. Chapter two devotes itself to asking the question, why do you write? He goes through numerous answers ranging from “to be famous” to “I have a story to tell” to “It’d be cool to be on the Today Show.” The writing world is brutal. Rejection is around every corner, and, according to Morrell, not many can make a living from being a novelist. So, why bother? The simple answer he gives is “because you have to be.”
This resonates with me. I have been fighting for ten years to play the publishing game. I have begun to understand that I am only involved in a piece of what is to come if I continue. It is a game where people change to rules constantly. What is the best advice ever according to one person is the way to kill a career according to another. I have thought about giving up on countless occasions.
But I always come back to that simple fact. If I were to sit down and ask that philosophical question “who are you?” then the answer is, without hesitation, a writer. It’s been like that for a long time now. I can’t quit. To quit means to give up a piece of myself. My occupation may be a teacher, but my identity is a writer. While I can now understand the persona of writers being haunted drunks ;), I also understand that, while battling the world takes a toll on the ego, it is a small price to be who I am.