What You Write, Not Where
When I graduated from Ball State University, I had big plans for the future. Why not? I'd spent 4 years dipping a pen in my cerebral juices and constructing countless articles, research papers, short stories, flash fiction pieces, novels, screenplays, theoretical analyses, mis en scenes, and I battled exams and an endless series of sleepless nights. Not to mentioned I maintained reading gigs and a social life. I was ready for the real world.
Then, I entered the real world, and how I was wrong. A degree just meant I was with 70% of Americans, and around 50% of the unemployed. My big dreams, they seemed over. I was back in small-town, Indiana. No one I knew really liked to read. And as far as a career went, real life wasn't about pursuing your occupational goals, it was about finding a job that sounded like something you could do, although you wouldn't necessarily enjoy it or get to demonstrate your skill set.
When things went from worse to worst, I started to write more. However, writing now seemed daunting. I mean, how could I succeed as a writer when I was buried in some nowhere-town and surrounded by people who didn't want or have the time to read? I didn't even know another writer within 2 hours of travel. Until recently, I thought I was completely screwed.
Then I read about this author named Arthur Longworth (which is a sweet name), who in 1985, was convicted of murder. Now before we begin, I don't condone violence or support many convicts, but what's interesting is how this man wrote.
I sat at my desk, in a Midwest abyss, wondering how I could succeed in my environment, when Longworth was in prison doing the same. In short, Longworth spent countless days and nights in "the hole" scrounging for the breadcrumbs his cell mates left him.
Just when he tried to pick up the crumbs, the ants would come and take them away. So he began to notice how the ants could endure even in the worst environment. What an analogy! So he wrote about it.
His manuscript along with several subsequent works of literature have won him 2 National Literary Awards, including "Best Prison Memoir". Pulitzer-Winning author Junot Diaz even read his work on stage in New York.Colleges are started to adapt his work as well.
Although he writes about life in prison, he considers his writing an achievement: "It feels like a victory in some ways, because I'm not supposed to be able to do this," Longworth describes his success.
I think a lot of writers can relate to this. (The writing part, not the murder or prison elements.) To write in environment that doesn't believe in the art/craft is one of the most demotivating feelings an author can have. What's great, though, is haven written under tough circumstances. Writing isn't any easy gig, but that's why it feels so damn good to have that work of literature published. The harder it is to produce a manuscript, the better it feels when someone else is reading it, or even when a fan says, "I enjoyed this."
Writers tend to be against a fist when it comes to pursuing an artistic endeavor. There are so many elements which makes us want to succumb to the naysayers. But perseverance is the key to success, and the harder the struggle, the greater the reward. It doesn't matter where you writer, but that you keep on writing.
Things You Might Enoy
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.