Hello everyone! Before I get to the rant part, I have to apologize for not posting on my usual time. Sorry about that. I was too tired after spending two days sitting in a seminar. I may have mentioned that I supervise a therapeutic discussion group for the senior citizens and this seminar was part of that. Training and whatnot. Anyway, the point was it left me drained (sitting indoors six hours straight, both of the days.) Okay, but now to the rant part.
Past days I have been wondering about the future and what it might bring. I think most of us do that. Often enough such thoughts are accompanied by the feeling of dread especially if we are uncertain or doing something out of the box. Writing is always riddled with uncertainty, and you could say it is not the usual career path. And most often every writer will come across comments like “Get a proper job,” “You are wasting your time dreaming,” or my favorite “There is no future in writing,” or like one of my friends put it: “Succeeding in writing is a snowball’s chance in hell.” And he moved on saying I should think my pension. Yes, future what a hold you have on the decision we make now. How much it can cause stress and crush our spirit to try. It is not only in writing.
We, humans, are “programmed” to predict the future and mitigate the negative effects. Due to our many biases and blind spots we are surprisingly bad at it. But who wouldn’t want to minimize the risks they take and survive? And in our modern societies, the education and job we chose is one of the most important factors that not only determine our income but our general well-being: what food we can buy, in what group we find our mate, who with we interact, our exercise habits, our health, length of our marriage, our voting habits. Everything really. And some professions bring stability and certainty. Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote that if you want a stable job with nice pay and security chose dentistry. Then why all of us aren’t dentists? Why pursue something so foolish as writing, if most of the comments we get are “Get a proper job”? Many of us would say that because we love writing or like I would say: “I don’t know how to do anything else.” That is a lie. I know how to cook, clean, in my past life sell products, and most of all waste my time, but those are beside the point. The point is that writing gives meaning and while teeth are necessary and I like them white and intact, but I don’t have a passion for peeking inside anyone else’s mouth and tampering with their fate.
And while I think security is a good thing for both the individual and the society as a whole, still we all know we need those risk takers. And while writing may not change the world or further the humankind, it makes people think, and it builds empathy. Without empathy, humans would have a long time ago gone extinct. Cooperation, baby. Key to our physical and mental well-being and our survival. So we need writers as much as other inventors who think outside of the box. And while my friend is right, the chance to succeed in writing is slim in the current global market where there are thousands of traditional and indie writers competing over the ever-shrinking population of readers (new trends are encouraging, yay for books), he is wrong about quitting.
That is what is wrong with most of the people. They don’t give themselves or others enough time to succeed. In writing, it is not usually the first book that will launch a full-time writing career. Nor it might not happen with the second book or the third, but while you practice and write you not only build your own skill set but also your readership. And I would argue with anything endeavor really, give yourself time to try and succeed or fail. At least, you pursued that something you loved. Working with the senior citizens, I have realized how precious time is, and how true the saying is that we regret the choices we didn’t make more than the choices we did. So crit those who discourage us and crit our own thoughts of doom in our weakest moment. The future is uncertain for most of us, we can mitigate its shakiness by becoming dentists, but unless teeth rock your world, give yourself permission to try. Yes, failing is always a possibility, but it hurts less than what-if when you are eighty-nine.
Thank you for reading! Have a lovely day!