The Most Important Career – an Email to a Friend

I wrote this in an email to an author friend, on the subject of writing as a career, as opposed to other, more lucrative and “parent-and-society-approved” professions.  I’m posting it here in the hopes that it resonates with other writers as well:

Frankly, I think writing fiction is the most important, most noblest career anyone can aspire to.  That may just be my years of wanting it so badly brainwashing me into thinking that, but stories are important.  They change lives, they comfort us when we’re sad (no one understands you like your favorite book, you know?), they let us glom up all the experiences of another person, both the fictional experiences of the characters and the real thoughts and emotions and tidbits of reality put in by the author.  Stories are transformative and allow us to experience change in a safe setting.

And writing is hard.  You could take a writing class, turn in all your assignments, and get an A but still be a crappy writer.  It’s learnable, obviously, but it takes a lot of time and effort.  People often say it’s a ten year apprenticeship, which it definitely was for me, though I guess it depends on how quickly you get in your million words/10,000 outlier hours.  But that’s a lot, and that’s just to be publishable, just to start a writing career.  And most people don’t have the discipline to put in the crazy time and effort it takes to become a pro writer.  Everyone who’s read your books has a little piece of you in their minds now.  That’s pretty amazing.  More amazing, I think, than going to grad school or earning lots of money.

  1. Sue Pallas

    Talked to your dad today and he told me the exciting news about your book becoming a movie we are sooo proud of you, always knew you were special and you would do something great and here you are!!!! Can’t wait to see where all this takes you-soak up every minute of fame and glory you deserve all of it. Sending love to you both always, Mike and Sue

    • Chelsea Campbell

      Thanks, Sue! It’s not for sure going to be a movie yet, but it looks like it’s heading in that direction!

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