Today I am going to play the iconoclast.
Writers are getting a bum rap, yo. We are seen as these sniveling little Woody Allen types hunched over keyboards. We’re so touchy when people don’t get us that we drown our sorrows in fine wine.
You think I’m that runny-nosed, bespectacled ninny? You see me wearing vintage cardigans in a ramshackle apartment full of meaningful eclectic curios?
I’ve got news for you, bro. I’m hardcore. Now let me tell you why.
Everybody wants to be a writer
Easy measure of hardcore: how many wannabes are there out there? Count the aspiring writers. Count the number of guys who want to write a book. This kind of imitation has to be worth some street cred.
Without writers there are no stories
We are responsible for masterpieces and disasters. An idea is the most powerful thing in the world, so the guy that writes down that idea is wielding a truly remarkable weapon. People go to war due to ideological disputes. Millions die. A movie or book can plant the idea that starts the next revolution.
Stop kicking us out, Mr Jones. Your daughter is doing well to hook up with somebody who wields these kind of weapons. Find me an accountant (barring the Parmalat and Enron guys) who has the potential to make this kind of impact.
Writers eat rejection for breakfast
Now we’re getting to the serious hardcore. Nobody likes rejection. Writers get it in their breakfast bowl on a daily basis. No milk and sugar on this one, son. This breakfast tastes like despair. We pour heart and soul into a project. We don’t let a stupid thing like reality hold us back. We’re more persistent than telesalesmen. Sadly, most of the time that ends in disaster. Most of us only ever meet with disappointment. This should put me off, but it just encourages me more. Why? Because I’m hardcore.
In fact, right now I’m inviting you to buy my work and insult me. Tear it to pieces, come on here and make a fool of me. (is this an obvious ploy? I hope not)
Also, because writers are generally such sensitive folk, we feel things deeply. Being rejected isn’t such a big deal if you don’t care much about what you’re doing. This is seldom the case with writers. When you write something, it’s like your little ridiculous child. Imagine seeing your ridiculous little fat child being rejected when he tries out for the softball team. Dealing with that is hardcore.
Writers face fear
I’ve saved the best till last. Somebody who tells you they’re never afraid is either lying, deluded or insane. Fear is a natural thing. It’s being able to face fear that makes a person courageous.
Writers have several fears that hound them on a daily basis. Fear of a blank page, fear of rejection, fear of failure. Sometimes your introspection gets so convoluted that you start to wonder if anything makes sense. You doubt your own reason, especially when 50 Shades of Grey and David Ike are making McDonalds numbers (as Ludacris said, yo) and nobody seems to like your great literary masterpiece. It becomes hard to decide whether something really is any good after all.
But we’re like the terminator. We just don’t stop.
Look into my red eyes. (Admittedly it’s from staring at a computer screen, but the similarity is not purely co-incidental) I am a writer. Now tell me I’m not hardcore.