Is it Worth It?

"Pierre Writing" Renoir

“Remember, that writing is translation and the opus to be translated is yourself.”      E.B. White

A former writing student feeling very weary of rejections recently asked me the classic question: “Is it worth it?” The question is a big one, and one I’ve wrestled with it at least once each year for over 30 years. Most writers I know are in the same boat. The vital thing is deciding what “worth it” means for you. Each writer is likely to have a slightly different answer. And, that answer may change over a period of time.

If one defines “worth it” as getting rich or even being able to support one’s self with writing, then the answer is probably no. Like most people in the arts, very few writers are able to make a solid living by their writing alone. I can’t.

If one defines “worth it” as enjoy the brainstorming, the writing, the revising–the process of creating, then one is far more likely to find the time and effort worth it. The value and satisfaction are in the effort, in the doing. Damn right, that getting published and earning a bit of money would make it even better. We writers cannot control reviews or sales.  But we can control (or attempt to control) our definition of “worth it” and our pleasure in the process.

Writing to explore our lives and passions is the dual gift of our efforts, indeed all the arts. We experience “the worth it” as we create. We experience “the worth it” as we translate our selves as a way to connect with others. And, whenever someone connects with our writing, we experience “the worth it ” in yet another way even though we rarely meet our readers.

So, “Is it worth it?” Only you can decide.