A Writer Is…

…someone who can endure the struggle of writing while not yet feeling like a writer.

This may or may not be true, but it strikes me as a useful fiction.

On nights like this, for instance, it keeps me going.

Tonight I do not feel like a writer.

Tonight I do not feel like writing.

It is my willingness to write this, however, that makes me a writer.

By writing in spite of my resistance, I become battle-tested. I ascend to the status of a person whose output isn’t determined by convenience or circumstance. I graduate to the level of someone who figures out a way to move forward even when inspiration is lacking.

Is this not the essence of creativity: The ability to compose your song even when the muses are silent?

It can perhaps be said that the definition of an artist is a person who has overcome the inability to make himself or herself feel like an artist.

If you want to be creative, you have to start creating no matter how you feel. You have to identify a result and aim after it. To a creator, feelings are like colleagues and coworkers, not CEO’s and customers. That is, the creator must work with his or her feelings, not for his or her feelings.

Whether you want to be a writer or anything else, do your work even when feelings fail you.

Moods come and go, but the results of creating (and sometimes the consequences left by their absence) last forever. And by “the results of creating,” I don’t just mean tangible things like finishing a book or completing a painting. The greatest result of creating is the transformation that comes from giving a part of yourself to the world during the very moments when you feel like you have the least to give.