If You Want To Be Famous, You Have To Love The Process
Because fame isn’t everything
More than half a decade ago, I sat next to a girl who wanted to be a writer. It was a University Medieval English Literature class and compulsory, especially if you’ve decided that Shakespeare isn’t your thing.
She told me about how she’s going to write a novel one day. There was the dreamer’s air about her and constant annoyance that she had to write essays and do assignments for the professor. She hated the class — not because of the subject content but because she had to write things.
Over time, I figured that she just wanted to be famous but never actually want to put pen to paper. She had visions of book tours, of public signings, endless love and adoration from fans and movie deals. She wanted to be the J.K. Rowling, the Stephanie Meyer and who ever else exploded into the scene with a billion fans in tow. She wanted her books made into movies like Hunger Games and Twilight.
But she had a problem. She didn’t want to write.
Not because of writers block or anything of that sort. But because she hated writing. She loved the idea of becoming famous but not the process required to create. She lived in a land where riches magically appear for mediocre, half arse verbal deluge to make up the word count equates to an instant smash hit.
Looking back at it now, I was sort of like that too — my head in the clouds and dreaming of grandeur without wanting to do the work. Looking back at it now, oh how naive and silly I was.
I was impatient.
And my perception of the world was skewed away from reality.
Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that everything is a process and there’s no point dreaming about fame, riches and grandeur when I’m not in love with the process. All those things shouldn’t be an end goal or even reward for slogging through the process, but a by product of doing a series of right things in a certain way at a certain time.
Over time, I’ve come to see that we both had it wrong. The echelons of timelessly big and famous authors got to where they are not because they wanted to be famous, but because they wanted to produce the works they created. The imaginations of their tales became so vivid that they crafted words to translate their constructed worlds into the minds of others.
It’s easy to create crap on mass. But to create something worthy of being recommended to another person who will give you some money for the opportunity to keep doing what you’re doing is not for those chasing the ‘dream’.
The last time I spoke to the girl, she still hates writing and now lives in the land of one days. She’s still yet to write anything — too busy to put fingers to keyboard, never having enough time to sit down and do the things she needs to do to get to where she wants to be.
“I just need time” she told me. “And money. So I can quit my job and finally become a writer.”
She did recommend that I start watching Pretty Little Liars and told me about how she’s just finished binging season 6, along with a bunch of other shows she’s watch recently.
I told her I didn’t have time. Baby hours are 7–7 and hustling hours are 7–11.
She told me I don’t need sleep.
Perhaps in a few years I’ll talk to her again. Perhaps I’ll remove her from my Facebook friends list in a few week’s time and call it a day. Perhaps I’ll leave her on the list as a reminder of what not to do.
What I do know is that I’ll keep writing in the small pockets of time in between when the baby is asleep and there are no more customer service emails to answer. Depending on how tired I am, 11pm–1am are my writing hours.
Fame is a by product that may or may not occur. I’ve given up chasing that dream. The hustle pays the bills for the interim but writing — writing is the thing that keeps my soul alive.