writing with no reward

(Warning: This post is nonsensical. The title seems to be a nice indicator of what you think you’ll read, but it’s all-over the place.)

A few months ago, I’ve been exerting all my willpower not to cry myself to sleep at night. I’ve been through this ordeal about three to four times this year, and frankly, I don’t like waking up with my already-small eyes swollen to where they are barely eyes at all, but mere slits.

I’ve also been informed by my roommate that I mumble when I sleep, which to me, is a thought almost as unpleasant as the ones inducing my near tears. More on this later.

The thoughts that plague me at night can be generally put into three categories:

one: You’ll never get into a good college

two: Mom and dad are suffering financially because of you.

and three: You will never make it as a writer.

The first two have enough emotional rants to last for several posts, but fortunately, you won’t read about that here.

“Making it as a writer” offers room for ambiguity because of the associated definition and the emotional definition that each individual attach to it. For me, making it means first and foremost, earning enough money to support myself and my family. Secondly, making it for me doesn’t mean fame, but a level of recognition of my art and creativity – one form of this recognition comes from being paid for it, another comes from things like, winning competitions and having people tell me how my art has helped them feel closer to the world. This desire for people’s affirmations might change, and the form of it definitely will develop as I grow older, but for right now, I fear my stories are just that, they are mine.

A part of me is ashamed of wanting recognition for my art, for wanting a certain level of influence on the world. Because didn’t Stephen King say that we should only write for our happiness and not for the materialistic things of the world?

(My mind is jumping to a million places as I write this post, for which I apologize, because quite frankly, I don’t revise my blog posts very often, so this just might become a post of ramblings.)

There is this idea that Chuck Palahniuk highlights in his essay collection Stranger Than Fiction, that when a writer is too immersed telling stories, he or she breezes through life seeing everything as potential material for a story. The scary part is that in conforming to such a linear narrative, one forgets to live. More on this thought later.

Have I become so materialistic that I have forgotten (or maybe never really knew) the joy of writing? Are my fears so superficial and egoistic that it’s funny to think back on these thoughts and laugh?

(Right after I wrote that last paragraph with the two questions, I immediately saw the self-contained naivete and rather pitiful nature of it. Sometimes I wonder whether I should be allowed to write at all.)

I feel like I’m losing my point, so I go back to the title and stare at it for a while. Because I don’t really have anything meaningful to say, I’m going to question the simple basis of the question: What is a reward? And why is it necessary?

Of course, there are all the responses that I went through during the top part of my post, but if you clicked the post thinking “oh, I bet the reward is happiness”, you’re partially right. As I’ve mentioned before, happiness is the reward for Stephen King, but is it enough? Or rather, does it not become egotistical to only care for one’s happiness? And my other, perhaps more cynical question: why do we wish for happiness?

This post will stop here; it has gone too much off topic for me to continue.

2 thoughts on “writing with no reward

  1. I’d like to say that even though you may not feel that your art is recognised, I love reading your blog and always feel inspired by it! Every time you have a new post you encourage me to write, and write honest and raw things. You have such a creative mind – all your thoughts, though they might seem nonsensical together, all actually lead perfectly to the next point and show your skill as a writer! Keep it up, Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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