The Happy Writer, Writing Discussion

Writing is a Privillege

cave painting
Cave Painting of Wild Pig by Joel Abroad

The development of art was a fundamental milestone in human development. Pre-historic cave paintings provide evidence that humans had moved beyond survival, that they could pool their resources, and organize. It showed that some people no longer had to hunt and gather full time.  It was the beginning of something important, the first step to civilization.*

But art could only be created when basic human needs were  satisfied first.

I’ve been thinking about this much more after reading Stephen’s post about not having enough time to write, and then Ollin’s about why writers without the time still need to be valued.

I don’t believe that writing should be the highest priority in my life. I’ve got to put food on the table, pay the rent, take care of the electrical bills, the phone, fix that car when it breaks down. I have a family to take care of. These things come first.

Every time I sit down at the keyboard I’m thankful for the spare moment, even if it only a moment, five minutes in a day, a few words scribbled over lunch. Even these are a luxury. Writing is a joy. I remember the days when I dreamed I had this kind of time to dedicate to writing. It’s not full time, but it’s some time. I’m thankful for every minute of it.

Not all of us have the time to write, and not everyone can afford to. Just remember that, writers. You’re the lucky ones.

Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life. ~ Stephen King

I love this pearl of wisdom from King. What do you think?

*Here I badly misquote anthropology 101. Maslow’s hierarchy can substitute.

10 Comments

  1. Not just a privelege; a luxury! One that I fully intend to revel in when I again possess it.

    Though I’ve not been writing (except the occassional blog post), I’ve been thinking about writing in those free moments between one important thing and another. It’s not the same, and it’s not worth much, perhaps, but at least somewhere in the back of my mind plot and character and setting are bouncing around.

    But yes, I think it is fortunate to be able to write. But not fortunate only – or not luck only. There’s a lot that goes into it. Managing one’s life so that writing can be a part of it is virtuous. This means, of course, that whether one can write is dependent, at least in part, on their decisions. In my case, there was a decision made, and that decision has prevented writing from playing a large part in my life these last few years.

    Which goes back to Maslow’s Hierarchy. I’ve got to take care of family first, which means generating income for food and shelter and other such necessities. Which also means securing my education and position in life such that I can secure such an income. Which meant that I could not take the risk of depending on the vagaries of a writing life until after the former had been thus secured. I chose to do what I did because I am risk averse. For others, they would rather write because either they are not risk averse or because they rank writing as a higher-level need than those others. For me, writing is important, but it comes second, and family comes first.

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      We all need to decide on our priorities. It’s not always an easy thing. Putting so much energy into something (even if you love it) always requires some kind of sacrifice. Yes, family comes first, and so does living life, otherwise I’d have nothing to write about.

    2. I agree with Stephen. The creation of any art is a luxury. There’s a great deal of hardship in the world, and many things that will flat-out kill you if you don’t tend to them. To have the time, brainpower and resources to create something like literature are things to be grateful for.

  2. I agree. Being thankful for that spare moment is how we express gratitude toward the wonderful endeavour that writing is. Not every one is blessed with the pen, so consider yourself lucky, writers!

    -BrownEyed

  3. Thanks for the mention! And GREAT point. What a great way to put it, it is a privilege. That’s always a great thing to remind ourselves about. Especially when we struggle with writing the writing process–even THAT’S a privilege. Some writers can only dream of it. Thanks for the reminder.

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