So you love to write and you want to be a writer?
Well, I’m going to give you some advice. Some REALLY good advice. It's going to be advice that no one else will have ever given you before. It goes a little something like this:
'Go and write. Be a writer.'
Hang on, hang on. Okay I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Um. Yeah, that’s not really anything I haven’t already heard a thousand times before. That’s what everyone says to writers who just want to write. Haven't you got anything else?
Well, you see I hadn't quite finished. I wasn't quite done. And yes, I do have something else. It goes a little something like this:
‘Go and write. Be a writer. Give up your day job, if that’s what you want to do. Invest in your passion and talents and blind love. Don’t worry about money and paying your bills. Simply place your faith in the all-providing Universe. Trust that Universal Intelligence that grew your hair and skin and legs, and arms and face and body and organs, and which gave you a personality and a character, and tastes and senses and the ability to breathe and sustain life without a single conscious thought. Trust in that miniature version of yourself that somehow knew how to grow from within your mummy’s tummy. Trust, trust, trust. Go, go, go. Life is short. Or it’s long. Either way you may as well do what you love. So go and write. Be a writer. Do what you love. Be who you came here to be. Let everything else figure itself out around that...’
Now you might turn to me and say, 'What? I can’t do that. I can’t just give everything up and trust in the so-called Universal Intelligence. I can’t trust in my foetal aspect to sustain me while living in a stupidly expensive city like Sydney just to write and do what I love. No way, I would never do that. I could never do that.'
To which I would say, ‘Well, would you look at that. You didn’t need my advice after all then did you?’
Or perhaps you might not say that and instead you might proclaim, ‘Yeah, cool. That sounds about right. Hey thanks for that.’
In which case, you didn’t need my advice either, and instead I just confirmed what you already knew to be true for yourself.
So, the moral of this little tale is, if you haven’t already figured it out, is that there is no such thing as really good advice on how to be a writer because there’s no such thing as advice. There’s just people spouting off their individual perceptions based on their individual experiences which also happens to be founded on (for the most part) genuine compassion and care to save you from the trials and pain and heartache that they might have endured along their way.
But here's the thing: their path is not your path. How can they know what is right for you then? Seriously? That is not a rhetorical question. But let's move on anyway.
There is literally no person on the planet qualified to give you advice on how to wander your path and live your life. All anyone can do is share their experience of what it’s like to traverse their path. Take from it what you will.
Yes, you can read all the books, attend all the workshops, talk to your counsellors and therapists, converse with your mentors and coaches, ask questions of your teachers and gurus, but at the end of the day, they are only ever doing one thing: sharing their experience of what it's like to walk their path.
Always remember, there isn't a teacher, a speaker, a writer, a counsellor, a therapist, a mentor, a coach, a guru, a specialist, an expert, or even a saint, who can know exactly what is right for you. There literally isn’t a person on this mighty planet who knows diddly-squat about what it’s like to walk in your shoes along your path.
That, my friend, is your job.
Your job is to know what is right for you. And if you find that you don't know then your job is to figure it out. Sometimes it helps to talk and listen to others share their experiences. Sometimes it doesn't.
This does not mean you are alone in the world. On the contrary. It means you are more powerful than you realise among other more-powerful-than-they-realise folks who are also figuring out and finding their way. We're all in this together, y'all.
So if you want to be a writer or a painter or a dancer while holding down a day job then go and do that. If you want to be a writer or a painter or a dancer and throw in your day job then go and do that.
Only you can know. Only you know. Only you.
And whatever you decide, it's right.
Now, that's my advice.
(Okay now go and forget everything you just read and figure it out for yourself.)