Why I Still Write

Something recently happened to me that I hope will never happen to you.

It was a writer’s worst possible nightmare.

I met someone who’s a better writer than I am.

I see a writer as one of two kinds of people: An otherwise ordinary man who enjoys writing and always tries very hard to get it to work, or, another type of person entirely who just seems to belch and accidentally create a beautiful work of literary art. For this other person, writing is natural and easy.

I am a citizen of the first class. The man I met recently is a person of the second.

We happened upon each other through random means, which is the only real way to meet somebody. We began to talk, discovered that we shared the interest of writing (specifically creative writing), and -as is natural for writers- we exchanged examples of our writing skill. He read one of my blog posts, said I was a good writer, and gave me something he had written.

I hated him immediately.

His writing was amazing.

He had literally written this piece on the back of an envelope. A large manila envelope, to be sure, but still.

In cursive, with a leaking ballpoint pen.

The story was not long, but concise, quick, and powerful. It moved me.

What I hated worse, was that as I read his short story, he told me that he had written it at work while waiting for a meeting to start. He felt bored and had a pen in his pocket, so he decided to pass the time by writing something.

After I read his work, we exchanged pleasantries, he finished his coffee, and left the coffee shop to go and ruin someone else’s life.

I am not a writer. I’m a guy who writes. I hope to be a writer someday.

Moments like these send me into a pit of despair because they show me how far I am from what I want to be.

To add insult to injury, the guy told me to keep the envelope. He said he remembered the story, and could rewrite it a little bit better next time anyway. I’ve read that the genius of Dickens was not that he could create characters of personality and depth, but that he could do it all day every day at the drop the a hat. My guy in the coffee shop was the same way.

Oh how I hate him.

I don’t resent that the guy’s a better writer than me (okay, maybe just a little).

I don’t resent that he did this excellent writing so effortlessly (Okay, let’s face it, I’m a little jealous of that too.)

I do resent that knowing there’s another writer on this planet who’s better than I am bothers me. I don’t want it to bother me.

Immediately after he left, I did the hardest thing I could have done.

I wrote.

It was just something short and stupid, but I knew that I had to write. If I didn’t write that very second, who knows when I would’ve written again.

Ultimately, I want to be a writer, but a specific kind of writer. I want to write not because I have to, or because it’s expected of me, but because I like to. I want to write because I want to write. I want to write regardless whether people like my writing, or whether it’s popular, or even if my writing is good.

I just like to write, that’s all.

Someday, if I become a famous and ridiculously overpaid writer, I hope that I will still sit down at night and type out a silly little tale intended for no one else’s heart but my own, because my writing makes me happy.

That’s why I still write.

But seriously, guy. If you’re reading this, know that I despise your soul. Go bake cookies for orphans or something. -BW


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s