Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writer Wednesday: What It Really Means To Be A Writer

Ok, so here I sit; Starring out at the sun halfway set glinting off the water in my pool, the sounds of nature really speaking to me. It's a weird concept to think about but really does anyone truly know what it's like to live the writer life. I thought, who better to talk about the writer life, than me, a writer.

Being a writer is the greatest job in the world. Half the time, I could be writing this naked and you wouldn't even know. I just made this awkward. I'm sorry. Let me rephrase that. Nine times out of ten, I write these things in the bummiest clothes I own. My spellcheck just said that bummiest wasn't a word so I added it to my computer's dictionary.

Yet, it's the most misunderstood job and the hardest to endure. Why? Because everyone assumes that when a writer is "writing," they are surfing the web, staring off into space, or in my dad's case, looking at porn. I have no personal comment on the third idea but the first two I darn well know I'm guilty of. And the saddest part of the matter is that a lot of young people today don't even read anymore. Apparently, the only thing they read is their social media newsfeed so if you are irrelevant by social media standards, you are irrelevant in their eyes, period.

For example, my family has always misunderstood me when I announced at the age of fourteen that I wanted to be a writer professionally. I heard things like:

There's no money in writing.
You can't just be a writer.
Does that mean you can write all my school papers for me free of charge?

Yet, these things didn't stop me. I've known since I was a young fourteen that writing was going to be the key to my greater destiny, my calling, the job where I could go everyday doing what I love and it would never feel like work.

The problem with the writer life is that, although it seems like a magic act, the job is an incredible amount of hard work and study. Since my creative writing class my freshman year of high school, I have studied the craft because I still don't believe I'm the best writer out there. One day, I will be. And no, it won't be when my book becomes a NYT best-seller. I will consider myself the best at my craft when people stop treating me like being a writer isn't my job.

Sure, my writing hasn't all been published yet or made millions but hey, I'm well on my way. Don't ever throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Every time I sit down to write, I get this feeling of intense butterflies, and if it's a good day of writing, the words just flow, and before I know it, I've written 2000 words.

Yet, the scary part about being a writer is not the writing part at all, but the revision part.

For example, the memoir that I'm currently writing is the most personal piece of writing I've ever worked on yet I constantly am nagged by an inner voice that it's not good enough.

I've let some trusted writing friends and non-writing friends read it through, and I just finished the first draft editing. I ended up cutting a good seven to eight thousand words out of the whole thing.
Granted, my current word count the last time I worked on it was over 67,000 but still, the scary part of writing is getting feedback on your work.

In a recent interview with the Writer Magazine, Ladette Randolph, author of  Leaving the Pink House, a memoir, states that she has "only three enemies: self-pity, false guilt and fear."

I don't always have all the answers but writing is how I make sense of the world. I feel better expressing my thoughts, feelings, and emotions with the world, even if later, I end up getting rejected for those same thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I guess all I can say about being a writer is that writing choose me, I never chose writing. Besides that, I've faced so much rejection in my personal life I guess I owe it to myself to stare rejection in the face on a daily basis and say, No matter what or who approves of my job title, I'm not giving up until one person has their life changed by the words that I write. 

You know what I mean? It's the same reason people save their books from their childhood because those words grabbed them by the shirt collar and spoke to the inner parts of their soul, and at the same time, sung them a lullaby. If, like me, the child suffered socially, then those characters in those books, such as Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls, or even Peter Hatcher became the friends they wanted so badly to have every day at school in real life.

Now that I'm an adult, people are a little less judgmental in the sense that they judge you because you prefer books over partying. I've found a good group of people who are also word lovers.

Another aspect of every good writer's job is going on random adventures. Last week, the reason there was no blog post was because I was out with my sisters on the open road. To see more of our shenanigans, please Click here.

The day after the road trip, in all spring break spirit, I hit up the beach for a few hours with my sister so I could get a little Vitamin D.

This past weekend I went to see Boys Like Girls in concert so basically I think it is absolutely important for a writer to have a plethora of different experiences in order to write about this thing called life in a natural flowing way.

In essence, writing is much like the red cardinal that was peaking in at me through the screen cage on my patio. As a writer, I become the red cardinal, looking in on the world, and seeing it from multiple angles. The trick is to use just the right words to infuse atmosphere into the story or piece I'm creating; all while keeping my trademark tone of voice that I believe I bring to each and every fetus that is conceived within the confines of my mind and imagination.

Next time you see a writer, please remember to thank them for what they do, no matter if you understand it because one day, you may find yourself in need of the words they arrange like a symphony of sounds on a blank page.

Until next time, remember: "Try to be more yourself, not less yourself. It's a very hard thing to do. I don't want to apologize for being a dorky, nerdy, offbeat person. I'm not looking for the broad path. I'm looking for my path." - Ladette Randolph

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!

~Just Keep Swimming~


  1. Chelsea! I'm happy to know that your long absence in the web is because you're too busy writing a memoir! How exciting! I've always wanted to write one but don't know how and where to start.

    I'm sure it's gonna be a hit. It's your memoir no one will question it. ;)

    1. I definitely think you could write a beautiful memoir. Thanks Lux! I can always count on you saying just the thing I need to help me to keep on pushing toward my dream. :)

  2. Chelsea! I'm happy to know that your long absence in the web is because you're too busy writing a memoir! How exciting! I've always wanted to write one but don't know how and where to start.

    I'm sure it's gonna be a hit. It's your memoir no one will question it. ;)


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