Deserving to Write

Half-knitted mittens with needlesWhat writer hasn’t worried that she is wasting precious hours working on a project that might never come together? We are conditioned to believe in our culture that work should be compensated by money, which in turn confers value and worth. When a writer devotes months and years to a novel, with no guarantee it will earn a penny, it’s logical, at some point, to question whether that effort is justified.

It is. We deserve to write. I’m not saying it’s right to neglect other responsibilities, but when writing expands and fulfills a person, she deserves to do it. I deserve to create, to explore, and to imagine. I deserve to care deeply about my work, and to fail with it, and to keep trying. I deserve the magic when a page or a chapter is so perfect, it sets my mind buzzing. I deserve the chance to produce a novel that might eventually reach other readers and be part of the conversation of ideas across time and space.

Writing is not a lottery ticket or a self-deluding dream or an idle hobby for the privileged. It is at once intensely selfish, and a selfless belief in something larger than ourselves.

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