I Am Not a Writer
For most of my professional career, I would fantasize about a time when somebody would ask me what I did for a living, and I could turn around and nonchalantly tell them, “Oh, me? I’m a writer.”
At the time when people would ask me, what I’d actually say was: “Oh, me? I’m an ad trafficker,” and they’d look at me with a blank expression and then I’d go into a whole shpeel about how traffic is the flow of cars on the road, so ad traffic is the flow of ads on the web. At that point tears of boredom would flood out of their eyes and I’d walk away.
Now when people ask me what I do, I still dread it. “Oh, I’m a writer.” It sounds so cool, so fancy. Like, “Oh me? Yea, I’m pretty awesome.” They don’t want to know the reality, which is: “I write 200-word blurbs on a blog that nobody reads for a technology company that you may or may not have heard of. It’s mostly just an SEO game.” That’s the truth.
I am not a writer. I haven’t written a real essay in months.
I have nothing to say.
I am a phony.
That’s not true. I have a lot to say. But most of it feels played out, boring, self-indulgent. I mean, how many times can a person write about their dead dad? Like, we get it. He’s dead. What else ya’ got.
What is it about writing that’s so hard? I’ve described it to my boyfriend, who when he asks me, “Why aren’t you writing anymore?” I say, “Because it’s too hard. It takes so much self-discipline. Because it’s like taking something that doesn’t exist, pulling it out from the annals of your brain, and making it sound good on paper. Also nobody likes anything but lists anymore.”
Fucking lists. If I have to read one more awful list being published on supposedly reputable websites I will scream. No I don’t want to know if I was a “Basic Betch” from the ’90s. No I don’t care why being in my late 20s is hard, I already fucking know it’s hard, as outlined by my actually good list found here. No I don’t care about how to tell if I’ve found my soulmate, I can already tell because he’s put up with all my bullshit thus far. Fuck lists.
Over the last few months when I’ve struggled to write basically anything (well, besides my awesome Million Dollar Listing reviews on Curbed) I’ve found myself asking: Why? Why is it so hard? You know how to write, you have a general idea of what you want to say, so just flow with it. But something stops me every time, and I think it’s fear. The fear of being stuck on a paragraph, the fear of not having anything of value to say. The fear that maybe my idea isn’t so good, and if my idea isn’t good then maybe I’m really not a writer after all.
But then, sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it.