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Permission to be a Writer
by Jackson Pearce
“What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?”
|Chart by I Love Charts|
The thing is, the advice is the same thing your mom or dad or grandma told you when you were little. The thing you’ve forgotten, and maybe they’ve forgotten, the thing that’s been smashed a little bit by years of standardized tests or college admissions essays or fallback careers.
You can be anything you want to be.
(Well, except a bird, dinosaur or robot. Actually, that robot thing might be possible now. I’m pretty sure the bird and dinosaur still aren’t though.)
(But anything else. You can be.)
We’ve increasingly become a world obsessed with the bottom dollar—and that makes sense, of course, since being broke is no fun. But because of that bottom dollar obsession, we’ve started going to school to get degrees in fields we don’t even care about, just because “the pay is great.” Or “companies NEED people with this degree.” Or “I’ll be able to be fast-tracked into management with this degree.”
And in doing so, we’ve forgotten that we can be anything.
People are paid to be authors. They’re paid to be circus performers and motorcycle repairmen and horse trainers and aerobics instructors. They may not get an awesome benefits package. They may have to eat ramen noodles for a while, waiting for the first book to sell or their aerobics studio to really take off or Cirque du Soleil to need more people who can bend their body in unsettling ways. They may have to live in a studio apartment, pinch pennies. They may even have to have a fallback career for a little while. But they're still doing exactly what they want to do, being exactly what and who they want to be. They aren't special, they aren't unique, they aren't better than you—they're just people who didn't give in to the bottom line.
Don’t misinterpret this as permission to live in your mom’s basement till you’re thirty, slaving away at the Great American Novel you’ll never send out to agents because “it still isn’t ready.” You can be anything you want to be—but only if you’ve got guts, determination, and are willing to work for it. People aren’t handing out dreams right and left, and no one will ever be as invested in your dream coming true as you are—so don’t expect them to be. The rejections or industry or economy aren’t what’s holding you back—you are. Change yourself, change your outlook, change your work ethic, change your perception of time and effort and maybe even of what the real end goal is.
But don’t fall for the bottom line. Especially if it isn’t the anything you want to be.