I sat down this morning to write about how tired I am of the whining of writers. I’m so tired of hearing us complain about how we’re too busy or too depressed or too scared or too uneducated or too . . . whatever . . . to get our work done. Because I am, I am weary of our whining. I’m weary of my own whining.
But then, I read this amazing letter from “Sugar” (AKA Cheryl Strayed) to Ellen Bassist, and well, I figured it was better for you just to read it yourself.
If you are a writer, if you want to call yourself a writer, if you’ve ever whined (as most of us have) that we don’t have enough talent or enough permission or enough respect to write, READ THIS!!! I think you’ll find yourself, as I did in Bassist’s letter, and I hope you will heed Sugar’s advice:
We get the work done on the ground level. And the kindest thing I can do for you is to tell you to get your ass on the floor. I know it’s hard to write, darling. But it’s harder not to. The only way you’ll find out if you “have it in you” is to get to work and see if you do. The only way to override your “limitations, insecurities, jealousies, and ineptitude” is to produce. You have limitations. You are in some ways inept. This is true of every writer, and it’s especially true of writers who are 26. You will feel insecure and jealous. How much power you give those feelings is entirely up to you.
Mostly, I hope you’ll write like a motherfucker because we don’t need to hear more whining; we need to hear what you really have to say when you hit the floor and put the pen to the page.
What do you take away from Cheryl Strayed’s letter?