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Things They Won’t Tell You About Being a Writer

6. Happiness is death. An unfruitful wasteland of euphoria. You might as well grind your pens in the disposal and run your Mini over your Mac. But heartbreak? Oh, sadly, heartbreak is money. You’ll write like an intelligent methhead but keep your teeth. Lucky you.

5. Life will be a series of chapters. You won’t want to categorize everything, but you will. “Dad’s Funeral” “The Night She Left” “What Is Wrong With My Head? (Parts 1-250)” “Birthing a 10lb 4oz Baby” “Conversations with the Dog.”

4. You will love everyone you meet and you will hate everyone you meet. Sometimes (most of the time) at the same time. People will make you crazy, and fascinate you. And you won’t be able to stop writing about them. You will realize every story ever written is really about people, even the stories of barbells and trees and race cars. All people, all the time. Your brain will be a 7-11 store that never closes, not even for Christmas or New Year’s.

3. Your characters will scare you. Yes, the people you make up in your head. The ones that you know are figments of your imagination will scare the piss out of you, often because they come from your imagination. They will frighten you so much that, at some point, you will find yourself reluctant to leave your bathroom because you know those creepy bastards are waiting out by your keyboard, wanting to talk, wanting to come to life. And you are their only translator. You give birth to them on the white screen. They will also be one of the reasons you don’t sleep well at night.

2. People in your life will be angry if you write about them, and angry if you don’t write about them. If you save them in your head and spare them from publication, they will think you don’t care. If you write about them, they will say, “That’s not me. How could you do that?”  But if you’re really lucky as a writer, they will leave you, break your heart into 10,004 pieces of brilliantly sparkling, horribly painful glass and you will arrive at #6 again and write like a madwoman. The totally inadequate prize at the bottom of the sticky, sweet box of Cracker Jacks. Yet this will make you feel useful in a society that openly questions your usefulness.

1. You will love it all. The wretched days and the lonely hours. The white paper and the dark thoughts. The fantastic highs and the productive lows. The words themselves, like children, waiting to be put (with soft hands and tender care) into the right order. But, most of all, you will love the euphoria when you finish a piece that you know doesn’t suck. “Maybe I do have something to contribute to this world,” you will think, if only for one glorious moment before you click “Add New” and start to pour more words from your head …

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