I wrote this one day a long time ago out of sheer, overwhelming gratitude for my craft.
And you know what?
I’m still grateful.
You have all the tools you need
They’re right there at your disposal: the world, your five senses, literacy, a brain. You will never need anything more.
All you have to do is be a recorder
Record, as faithfully as you know how, the world around you as you perceive it through your five senses. Even one or two senses will work. Even one.
The more you do it, the more you love it, the better you get at it
The attention you pay to it makes it flourish. Your passion for it feeds it. Over the course of your life it becomes exactly what you, personally, need it to be.
Writing is a human activity
It is one of the gifts the gods have given us just for being us. The more you write, the more human you are. The more you reach out to other writers, the more human your world is.
You are not your fiction
When you create a fictional world, you are multiplying your experience of life. You get to be someone else, living another reality, and at the same time still be you. The more times you multiply your life, the more living you can do in this brief handful of years you have been allotted.
But the real you, in your real life. . .that’s the one that counts. And no matter what happens in your fiction, you will always have that.
You are not alone
Now more than ever in history you are surrounded by others—thousands of others—who also love this craft that you love. And the Internet gives you a way to be in touch with as many of them as you like, which is something writers have never, ever had before.
The community of writers in your lifetime is mind-boggling. Your literary soul mates are out there.
The creation of fiction gives your heart depth
The exploration of the world through the lens of your individual perceptions and choices makes you a better person.
Inside every writer burns the wild, unreasoning, piercing hope that life can be transformed through experience into something more than what it seems to be.
We can transcend the madness.
(Also, we have Western Spaghetti.)