Wise Words for Writers. Mark Twain versus the Deliberately Ignorant.

            This comes on the heels of the thought that people who haven’t the courage to pursue their own dreams will try and find ways to destroy yours.  This may be true about life in general, but it is certainly true of writers.

1.  Have you heard…?  Writing may be a nice hobby, but you really need to get a job, clean the house, do the yard, drive the kids, make the beds, make more money, and… 

2.  Have you heard…?  School first, family first, work first, shopping first, eat first, sleep first…  It seems everything else is first.

3.  Have you heard…?  Instead of staring at that computer (paper) all day you should be focused on your responsibilities.

4.  Have you heard…?  You are wasting your time.  There are so many more productive things you could be doing.

5.  Have you heard…?  You should wait until you retire.  If you want to write after you retire, that would be fine, no one would bother you.

            I try not to listen.

            I have not yet resorted to putting cotton in my ears, but I might.

1.  Writing is my job.  Work is my unfortunate necessity. 

2,  All of life is important and everything and everyone matters, but my writing is no less important.  It gets a fair and solid share of my time, not just whatever time is left over.

3.  Writing is also a responsibility equal to any other.  If everyone around me despises it, it nevertheless remains the primary responsibility to myself.

4.  Writing may not interest others, but for me it is the single most productive thing I can do with my life.  It is my calling, if you will.

5.  If I wait until I retire I will only be that much closer to death without having written a word.  At that point I might never get everything written I have boiling inside of me.

            But, while I understand this and others (apparently) do not, and while it is no more difficult to explain than I have just done here, nevertheless I do not explain it as I once did.  I do not defend it.  I do not try to persuade others.  There is no getting through to some people in any case.  And I certainly don’t argue about it.  I remember instead what Mark Twain once said:

            “Never Argue with stupid people.  They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”  Even so.

7 thoughts on “Wise Words for Writers. Mark Twain versus the Deliberately Ignorant.

  1. Today’s society is making the pursuit of art more and more difficult, downplaying it and making it look banal. The system, the man or however you wish to call it would rather have you as a teacher, engineer or office grunt to keep the machinery working.

    • So it seems. Every society has its own pressures, but in truth I was thinking more of the people that surround us and are otherwise near and dear to us.

      • In which case, I think it depends on the kind of confidence you demonstrate in your writing. At first, when I considered myself an aspiring writer, I was never lacking any detractors. However, things changed a lot when I took it seriously and eventually published my book. The people that said I couldn’t do it support me now.

  2. Exactly right, Joe. But many people are still living in detractor-land. Others, sadly, will always have a parent, spouse or child who will never come on board but also won’t go away. In a sense, this is my way of suggesting that it isn’t worth the breath answering such people. Just ignore them and get on with the writing.

  3. Hey, great post, you definitely hit many of the most common problems writers face. It’s hard because everyday concerns are always going to intrude. And there are always those people who don’t really understand how it can be anything more than a hobby. But I always try to explain that writing makes me feel so good, it’s so cathartic and energizing, that it improves all my other “real,” work. I’m much happier when I write, and at least for me, that’s good enough.

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