Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why I Still Want to Be a Writer When I Grow Up

When I was in the second grade, I was assigned a one-page paper on why my future self was famous enough to be featured on a U.S. postal stamp. 

I had an overactive imagination. I pretended I was superheroes, a yellow-clad crime fighter, and a dashing archeologist. As my mother likes to say, I became so immersed in whatever role I was playing that Daniel Ford ceased to exist. I was that character.

However, when it came down to what I wanted to be in real life, only one thing captured my imagination completely.
“I am Daniel Ford and I am famous because I write books. I wrote Batman, Ghosts, Future Dream, and Future Dream 2. My books are all around the world. I wrote my first book Ghosts when I was 9-years-old. I got a medal from the President. For every book I write, I get $6 million. I give half to the government. I got another medal for Batman as well. I wrote other books. Here are their names: The Lost Bunny and Dick Tracy. Each have up to 100 to 200 pages. Now that’s how I got my name on a stamp.” 
I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I may have had an unrealistic expectation about the salary, but there’s nothing I wanted more than to be an author.

It hasn’t always been an easy career choice. There have been plenty of moments when I thought my muse had forever deserted me. I doubted I had enough words left to finish my first novel and give the characters I had fallen in love with a fitting end. I’ve stared at blank notebooks terrified that I had no worthwhile ideas to fill them with. I let people in my life convince me that I didn’t have the talent to make a living crafting content.

But I've been blessed with inspiration when I needed it most:
  • My older brother Tom demanding I rid my work of clich├ęs. 
  • My father—and family in general—for giving me colorful material.
  • My mother, who is a good writer and creative talent in her own right, telling me to never, ever give up. 
For the last two years, I’ve shared thoughts on how I stay passionate about working with words and how other writers can improve and grow their craft. There’s one slightly more cynical piece of advice I left out of both blog posts.

To be a great writer, you have to hate doing it. Okay, that’s a bad way of putting it. You have to love to hate doing it. 

Here’s why:

Also, even without a $6 million salary, you could be lucky enough to have an attractive woman in a beautiful dress read what you wrote and admit, “I’m weak.”

Someone I care deeply about recently reminded me that the insignificant things that stand in the way of us being great on a daily basis—which pale in comparison to the more horrific and tragic elements of the human experience—don’t define our characters.

The people we love, those who love us, and the actions that raise us up over pettiness, divisiveness, and self-pity are the things that stamp a good and valuable life.

In my case, words give meaning to my life. An endless, wandering, emotional, and persistent stream of words will forever define me.

And I plan on writing much, much more.

1 comment:

  1. cool,when i am older i want to be either a doctor or a writer.but lately,I am more into writing.especially,since i wrote 6 lined pages(front and back)filled with a short story I created IN ONE DAY.i have also written some songs.unfortunately,i think I take to long.cause the shortest time it took to write a 3 minute song,was 30 minutes.i know it's a long time.But, i guess it doesn't matter how long it takes to write anything,as long as it has meaning and that you are proud of your own work.well,that's all for now.Bye.