THE BLOG

13 Painful Realities of a Writer's Life

08/02/2016 23:55 GMT | Updated 06/02/2017 10:12 GMT

I don't think this post needs an introduction. People wouldn't read it anyway. They always skip down to the numbers. Don't think I don't know this. If you've read this far, I'm impressed.

As a writer, I enjoy:

1. Awkwardness. Dealing with people's faces when I say, "I have an MA in English Literature."

2. Expectations to be a living-breathing-walking thesaurus. Oddly, there are moments when I can't think of the right word either - particularly when I'm nervous and put on the spot. It's called being human.

3. Assumptions that I've read every book under the sun and can name-drop authors at a moment's notice. Do I look like the Library of Congress? No. So stop quizzing me. Do I quiz you on your professional knowledge at a party? No. Knock it off and hand me a Guinness.

4. No confidence. Everybody thinks they could do my job (if they were forced to). And by everyone, I mean everyone in the entire world.

5. Unending criticism. Because of #4, anything I write is openly criticized - by anyone - at any point in time, for eternity. And thanks to social media, all opinions are considered legit. Everyone, from the coffee shop guy to someone's grandma, feels entitled to tell me what they think of my writing ability, without fear of backlash. I'm doubtful this happens in all professional fields.

6. Lack of support. Virtually no one encouraged me to pursue a writing career, except the people who genuinely loved me. And, while those people meant well, they really couldn't help me... at all.

7. Dashed dreams. My dreams of being on SNL were soon replaced with trying to land any job that involved any sort of writing. Bye-bye Tina Fey. Hello product descriptions, marketing emails and taglines.

8. The questions. While everyone thinks they can do my job, no one knows what a copywriter is. And, let's be honest here, writers don't know either until they're hired to be one.

9. More questions. Random people feel free to ask me about my unfinished novel. Why? I don't know. It's like being asked to describe your underwear: Embarrassing, intrusive, confusing and absolutely unnecessary.

10. An education? I have two degrees. They prove that I'm relatively smart but not necessarily employable. For my BA in English, we were assigned thousands of essays. We sat through millions of lectures on "the classics". But no one mentioned how we were supposed to make money with writing. No one. No information was given on copywriting, marketing content strategy or digital writing. Screenwriting - sure! Fiction writing - absolutely! Journalism - why not! But not a single class requirement armed us with the skills to pay rent and feed ourselves. To rectify this, I got my MA in English Literature. Now I'm super smart and slightly employable.

11. Troll comments. Oh the many, many comments that make me want to kill myself, slowly... while I read another troll comment.

12. A Bit Lip. As an employed writer, you write. That's it. Most people don't want you to have an opinion about what, how or when you're writing. It's like being a wedding photographer with absolute no say in what, how or when to take the pictures. Instead, some dude's uncle tells you where to stand and shoot. Oddly, everyone is super surprised when the photos turn out horrendous.

13. And, lastly, a permanent record of opinions - good and bad. Everything I ever wrote or will write in these modern times will last forever. These words here - I'll never escape them. The words I've written before - those will never be deleted. Trust me, I've tried. My perspective may change, but I will never, ever escape my work, my words. They are attached to me like ironclad shackles. And ain't nobody ever gonna let me forget that.

So, yeah. I'm a writer.

And I love it.

Most of the time.