I talk myself into and out of quitting writing every two weeks or so. Sometimes it’s oh my god, this is impossible, I’m never going to be successful, but usually it’s OH MY GOD, I suck. I am awful. I need to quit now, learn to code, and never, ever write a freaking paragraph again.
The hardest thing about writing isn’t how few benjamins I make. It’s how much I care. Yes, I care about finding professional success, but I also care so, so much about being fucking great. I need this thing I’m writing to be great yesterday. I need to write the greatest fucking screenplay this town has ever seen. I need to write the greatest novel to ever see e-ink. I need to be better. I need to work harder. I need to type until my hands are numb.
Last night, I had one of my mini-freak outs. Oh my god, that scene I wrote today is actually shit. Or is it? Is it shit? Am I shit? So I rushed to my computer at the ripe hour of midnight, and poured over my pages until I had a good feeling they weren’t total shit. Only partial shit.
The most seductive thing about a career is not the money or the stability or the place to wear cute dresses. The most seductive thing about a career is how it might rescue me from myself and my insecurities and my obsession with making my writing great. After all, if I am a teacher or a lawyer or a programmer, do I really need to write an amazing screenplay? If I am a teacher or a lawyer or a programmer, I am a hobbyist writer, not a professional. And a hobbyist writes for fun, not for excellence.
And, let’s be honest, chasing excellence isn’t fun. It’s fulfilling, sometimes, but it isn’t fun.