When I was in college, one of my biggest pet peeves (Besides being asked if I got in because of affirmative action—ummm, sorry, but Asians are not considered for affirmative action. And by asking, you insulted my intelligence and I want you to die.) was people saying they could “just be an English major.” Like it was so easy to be an English major. I know it’s not Computer Science. Ooohhh, scary! Or Physics or Engineering. But English is not a degree that you “just get.” You have to be logical. You have to be creative. You have to prove your thesis just like any mathematical theorem.
Today, I’m surrounded by people who say, “Maybe I’ll just pickup writing.” Or “When I retire, I think I’ll write a book.” Writing is not easy. It is a craft that you hone. Can you imagine if I went up to one of my lawyer friends and said, “Maybe I”ll just practice law.” Or to the doctors, “Maybe I’ll just start writing prescriptions.” It is NOT any different. Just because you tweet and write emails does not mean that you’re a writer. It’s very insulting. You’re telling me that my craft is easy. It’s simple. It’s a talent that can be picked up like picking up a writing utensil. It cannot. It takes time, practice, dedication. I dedicate my life to writing. I take classes. I study the masters. I write every single day.
It’s like going up to Tori Amos and saying, “Maybe I”ll just start playing the piano, singing, and writing music.” No can do, people. It’s a career. Artists practice every day. They sing. They do drugs so they can work like maniacs. It’s a tough job.
Nothing is simple in this life. Not even writing.