I fell in love with writing for many reasons. Some of which I can’t recall. But at the top of my mind, sharing opinions that change perspectives excited me.
Also, the idea of millions of people reading what I’ve written makes me happy. The more people read my work, the more confidence I have in my purpose to live.
But on the other side, I have to agree that writing isn’t particularly the most exciting job. It’s characterized by self-indulgence and loneliness. It’s more of sitting alone at a desk in your room and typing away for hours.
Most of this is not instantly gratifying. Writing isn’t seen by society as a spectacular activity. Not when people are more interested in short videos and beautified images than reading a block of text.
In addition, reading is tough for many nowadays. It means having to dedicate time to go through a piece of writing that might not necessarily pique your interest. It means dedicating some brain cells to understand what you’re reading. Not many people have time for that.
So as a writer, you’ll rarely come across people who love your work unless you’ve done it for such a long time that your skill (persistence) can no longer be ignored.
And that takes years.
I’ve been doing this for years, and I’m yet to reach a point where I feel my work truly matters. All this time, my primary motivation for writing has been to make money and achieve financial freedom.
Yet this dream keeps running away from me.
Lately, I’ve reflected on my indulgence in writing, wondering what’s to come out of it. The other day, I felt like I was at the lowest point of my life for reasons I now realize were so trivial to warrant self-extermination thoughts.
I think as a generation, we’ve become so weak in mind and spirit. I reached my low point after realizing that I couldn’t find a way to get consistently paid well as a writer so I could at least furnish my house and live a normal young adult life.
Have a couch for relaxing, a TV for watching movies, and so I can confidently invite friends over. That’s despite this dream being on top of my mind for years.
What have I done wrong to deserve this kind of stagnation, I asked myself. All my close friends are busy kicking life’s ass yet here I was a young man who made the ‘noble’ decision to drop an engineering degree so I can pursue this passion.
Was it noble, or just a stupid decision from a pretentious close-minded boy? If almost every single person I’ve interacted with felt my decision was a little crazy, why was I so adamant about it? Why did I have a deep conviction that it was my purpose, the thing I wanted to do for life?
Was I cursed? Was I going to end up an old man with not much to show for his life?
Tears welled up in my eyes and soon made their way down my cheeks.
What the hell are you crying you little brat, I’d ask myself. You’re a man, men don’t cry. Men don’t pity themselves. Men are strong. Men go out into the world and get shit done. You can’t afford to cry, bro.
My mind was in such a frenzy of thoughts. I was overwhelmed. I wondered why the world was so unfair to me.
Yet I also knew it didn’t owe me anything. I knew I had to go and get whatever I desired, not to sit down and wait, expecting it to be handed down to me.
But again, why did it seem spectacularly hard for me to attain these simple dreams? Why the hell did I seem not to find my way through life?
I had to contend with these feelings for three consecutive nights. Luckily, every following morning, I woke up with a bit of the stress load chipped off. The tears were helping a bit and I needed to embrace them fully and let my vulnerability show, as long as it eased my pain and self-pity.
While this was a tough time, one that made me doubt myself, I realized how important my desire for a life of meaning was.
A few times during my deep reflections on my bed, I wondered if I could go back to my dad, ask for forgiveness (for choosing to pursue my dream), and beg him to design my career life the way he aspired, i.e., talk to his network and get me a civil engineering job.
But I realized I couldn’t muster the strength to do that. I don’t know why. Maybe there’s just so much ego in me to go ask for forgiveness, which can only happen after I’ve accepted that I was terribly wrong.
Or maybe, I was a victim of the sunk-cost fallacy. I had dedicated over 3 years pursuing this dream that never seemed to come true and now I just couldn’t see myself letting it go.
Or maybe I was in denial. Like a breakup denial, one that comes after you’ve been with this one person for years and can’t imagine a life without them. Maybe I just couldn’t bear the thought that I had to accept that I tried what I could but it didn’t work and it was time for me to give up.
Whatever the reason was, it prevented me from picking up my phone and calling my dad to turn things around.
It’s been a few days since this low point, and I’m now in a better place mentally and spiritually. More than ever, I feel conviction in my life’s purpose. I feel like I still want to do this, forever.
Call it ego, denial, close-mindedness, delusion, or whatever, I’d care less. I just love the feeling that writing gives me, and that’s all I need.
I enjoy doing this. It’s energizing. It’s beautiful. It makes me want to live another day. It takes my mind away from the system that 90% of us are victims of. The life of doing whatever we do to pay bills and show our friends we can make it.
Obviously, I still have to pay these bills. I still have to build wealth so my family and friends can see my value. That’s just life.
But the beauty is, occasionally, whenever I’m writing, those thoughts disappear. And I love the feeling that I can take my mind out of the system when I want.
I’ve realized I need a bigger, more meaningful purpose for writing besides money so I can push past such low moments. Writing needs to be more than a piece of work. Maybe an intentional indulgence, an obsession, an addiction.
Because honestly, there’s just too much going on today, online and on social media and all this information is fighting for people’s attention. So, the probability of my work mattering for quite some time is almost none. I therefore need to have a bigger, deeper reason to write.
I have acquired this attitude. I’m actively and intentionally pursuing a deeper purpose for writing, and I hope to get it so I never go a day without writing.
I genuinely hope writing becomes an obsession, something I can’t let go of until I stop breathing.