“The shortest answer is doing the thing.” — Ernest Hemingway
I have a day job, so don’t go telling me not to quit it. I’m way ahead of you. But writing fills the chinks in my soul. It keeps me from drinking too much. It prevents my lifelong depression from pulling me under. I have written stories and poems and diary entries since my teens. I’ve torched entire collections of those writings, wiping out chunks of my life, when I was ready to reinvent myself. I’ve laid myself bare in numerous blogs, only to unpublish them in moments of vulnerability and hatred of the human race. I’ve had several stories published in small online journals and then watched as, one by one, they stopped paying their hosting fees and cast my tangible successes into a digital grave.
There is scant evidence that I have ever written anything or acquired any external validation along the way. That used to bother me, and with every birthday I would berate myself for not publishing more stories or finishing a novel. However, beating myself up is an exercise I’m less inclined to engage in the deeper I sink into my forties. Now, the only thing I give myself a hard time about is not having more fun. Today, I write for the right reasons, which are entirely subjective as there truly is no right or wrong with writing. There is just doing the thing, in whatever way feels good and true.