As someone who has a fulltime job, is going to school, and tries to be a slightly better than average parent to his children and an okay husband for his wife, I tend to find myself rather overwhelmed when it comes to my life. And honestly, although I already have a hyper-busy life, the one thing that tends to be the biggest struggle to fit into my already crazy days is writing.
Now, sure, everyone needs a hobby, and writing is something that, to some extent, calms me, but at the same time, when I get stuck in these crazy deadlines I have from time to time and really don’t see any form of monetary compensation for what I do, it feels as though writing is the one thing that probably causes me the most unnecessary stress. When you toss onto the top of that the idea that I spend a not inconsiderable amount of time trying to market my writing and get it out there, well, writing is actually probably more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth.
So, why do I do it?
I honestly ask myself this exact question on an incredibly regular basis. Yes, it’s something I enjoy and it’s something which allows me to flex my creative muscles and it, from time to time, gives me an added bliss when people read my work or see it performed on a stage and let me know how much they enjoyed it. But, I could also spend that same time I spend slaving over a keyboard just sitting back in the morning and drinking my coffee while watching some mindless television.
I could have things a lot easier if I would just give the whole thing up, because it’s not like this stuff just happens. No, it takes countless hours to put together even the smallest of stories, or plays, or books, or whatever the heck I’m writing for whatever process. And I do so much of it purely for myself. Heck, even these blog posts take time, right?
I was actually asking myself this precise question this morning as I worked through my coffee and made it through my giant piles of emails, and I found myself feeling like I didn’t have an answer.
Sometimes the very act of writing feels like I’m fighting fate. Like, I’m working so hard to create art with the hopes that it will somehow become the thing I can spend all my time on, instead of cramming it into the odd free hours I find throughout my day, only for fate to constantly remind me of my actual career and how much of my life has led to that being the culmination of all my efforts and not some silly wordplay.
And this very vision of fighting fate, of having this no holds barred battle with the very rules of my existence, it sounds both exhausting and exhilarating. Like, I don’t know if you can actually win a battle with fate. But, there’s also this whole rebellious nature inside of me who thinks that if you don’t battle fate, if you don’t work to get out of the cage it has placed you in, what the heck is the point of even being alive?
I often feel a lot like a caged animal, like I have only these very specific places in which I’m allowed to exist, and my options are either to become the fat and comfortable caged animal who has just allowed that cage to be the reality, or I can be the ferocious beast who is constantly testing the bars of the cage to see if they have gotten weaker, who is looking for the zookeeper to make a mistake and leave a door open, who is always ready to leap out to freedom whenever the opportunity arrives.
And, for me, that metaphor tends to work, even if it sounds so much nicer to be the fat and lazy creature. I like the idea of being the wild animal who yearns for their freedom. I like knowing that I’m keeping fate on its toes. I like knowing that I’m fighting for what I want out of my life instead of purely allowing fate to decide it for me.
And this is why I write.
Because just because I’m a caged animal doesn’t mean I have to like it.
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