I know I would still be writing. And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of… it can be a result, but you’re going to do the work anyway. Because you’re just wired that way. It’s so engrained, it’s such a part of your personality that you don’t just stop doing it. Eventually I’ll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it’s inevitable that’s going to happen. Uhuhuhuh fake cries But it won’t stop me from writing. I’ll just write about how sad I am all the time.
– David Sedaris on whether he’d persevere as a writer without validation.
If a tree falls in the woods, do you hear the sound it makes? If you write and write and write but don’t get the feedback or recognition you need to push on, does it matter?
Yes and no. I’d write anyway, just because it’s the only way I can organise my thoughts and when it’s quiet, I enjoy writing just for myself. I enjoy the tap-tap-tapping on a keyboard, I enjoy writing on a thick pad of paper and I enjoy the solitude writing gives me.
On the flipside, I don’t enjoy the solitude when all I hear are the voices in my head. If I write for myself, sometimes it feels selfish if I’m the only one getting anything out of it. I would prefer if my writing was doing something for someone. Probably because it’s been drilled into us in school and uni and whatever that if you love something, you should find a way to share it with the world.
I see how that works, but also … does it take the fun out of what you love, if you put a monetary value on it?
I love to write, but sometimes it doesn’t come easy. Right now I’m on fire, but I’m emoting and I feel like because this is just me on a rant, it doesn’t matter what I write. I had a previous role where the writing tasks were draining, so much so that one Easter long weekend break I went home alone (while my husband and friends went out for a post-work drink), polished off a bottle of wine by myself, ate a wheel of blue cheese by myself and fell asleep in front of the TV watching old episodes of 30 Rock. My husband came home and found me passed out on the couch like a chick flick cliche.
It was one of the worst nights of my life, and it was the beginning of the end for me with that role.
Ironically, though, I wrote about that experience in a long and frustrated entry in my journal the next day.
I decided I would write because I love it, and to stop focussing on the money and the recognition. There is so much around making what you love the thing that you do for a living. It is hard work … but it has to be worth the hard work. If you come home at the end of the day and the hard work just doesn’t seem rewarding anymore, then … what’s the point?
But writing is different. It’s kind of like a habit now. I’ve come so far from being someone who denied herself the right to finally embrace my love of writing, that I can’t abandon it now. I wrote for myself before, but now I feel like I can share that with others.
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, does it make a sound? Yeh of course it does. The reality is, a tree dropped from an upright position and crashed to the ground, and yeh, that makes a loud sound. Whether anyone was around to witness it or not is irrelevant.
I want to make a sound with my writing though. I want people to hear the crash as a piece or post or article hits the ground. I want people to come running into the forest to check out the noise, “What was that? Who did that?”. They don’t need to be rich people. Or beautiful people. Or important people. Because I’m not one of those people.
So I’ve dropped something, which has taken me years to put together as it’s been germinating in my head for a long time. I’ve finally knocked that tree down.
From my welcome note on my homepage:
Welcome to MY LOCAL WORLD, which I hope will soon become part of YOUR local world :) Get outside the world you live in, and discover multicultural experiences right here in your own home.
This is about bringing the world to you, and in the process, discovering that it is, in fact, a small world, after all.
I’d be delighted if you could check out the tiny noise I’ve made. Maybe as more people join you in the forest, the sound, in hindsight, will just grow louder …