Writers are an interesting bunch. We spend hours upon hours doing what many others dread, and we make it look rather easy. That’s what a lot of people think when they look at us. But as writers, we know that it’s not all easy.
Writing comes with a great deal of effort, uncertainty, and at times, even insecurity. It also involves plenty of hours toiling away at the keyboard. But most of our audiences only ever get to see the finished product.
Author Rafael J. Gamero says it best, noting that quite often the result of writing is much more enjoyable than the process. The New York Times‘ Benjamin Moser has also pointed out that even the best writing doesn’t have the immediate, measurable impact of a doctor’s work, or a plumber’s. It’s a sentiment shared by most, if not all of us. But even so, we choose to write anyway, which, I believe, is a commendable act.
“It’s a love-hate relationship (between a writer and writing). You don’t wake up every day loving it. Sometimes it’s grueling. Sometime’s it’s hard. The result is always better than the process.”-Rafael J. Gamero, Belizean Author
It takes a special kind of courage—and dedication—to sit before a blank page and remain there until you’ve created something worthwhile. And we do it all without knowing whether others will think that creation is worthwhile when we share it. Then, we come back the next day and do it all over again—willingly.
Even the late, great Zee Edgell knew of the struggles that a writer, particularly us Belizean writers, may often face. During her interview with Asymptote she acknowledged this:
“Writers who live in Belize do face a number of obstacles. Like in other small societies, most Belizean writers do not have the economic independence or access to resources that would enable them to write without considering that their literary work could affect their jobs, career advancements, business interests, and endeavors,”
In short, writing is hard. Being a writer, especially one in a small, Central American country, is even harder.
According to Forbes, it takes 5% talent and 95% hard work. Many of us might not have known that when we first decided we wanted to be writers, but it always becomes quite evident with time. And yet, so many of us have prevailed in some way, shape, or form and have managed to pursue our passion. Even as we began to realize just how much hard work goes into the craft of writing, we were still compelled to continue. Why is that?
Maya Angelou believed that it is because we are all driven by an innate need to communicate—a need to share and a need to be understood. Whether the reason is this or something else altogether (to tell a story, or to escape, maybe), despite the difficulties and the challenges, we have continued to write.
We’ve all at some point realized that, for whatever reason, writing is our passion—that it is what we’re willing to suffer for—and we’ve kept going at it.
For me, being a writer means being able to share stories from the unique perspective of an Afro-Caribbean woman in a Central American nation. It’s a privilege that was granted to me the moment I was born in this small but fascinating country that’s overflowing with beautiful culture, rich history, and almost magical settings. And that, to me, is worth the struggle.
Being a writer means a lot of things. It means being able to connect with others and to have an impact on their lives. It means tired eyes and tired wrists. It even means being misunderstood sometimes. But more than anything else, being a writer means pushing forward despite the odds, and that in itself is a beautiful thing.
So tell me, what part of being a Belizean writer inspires you to keep pushing forward? What does being a Belizean writer mean to you?