You do. We all do.
No one has ever actually said these words to my face, but I’m pretty confident in guessing plenty have thought them. If not about me, about someone else who somehow got lucky enough to write for a living.
Sometimes I get major FOMO when I scroll through my Facebook feed and see all the pictures my friends have posted about their vibrant, adventure-filled lives.
I’m still learning to remind myself that writing is in itself an adventure.
As writers we travel all over the world. We meet hundreds of amazing people. We learn, we grow, we find ourselves in all the places we go — even if we never actually go there.
Some people spend money on traveling, and that’s cool. Some people save their money because writing is time-consuming and exhausting and pays like garbage. That’s also cool. Sort of.
Just because your life doesn’t look amazing from the outside doesn’t mean it’s boring.
Other people can’t see what’s going on inside your head. That’d be weird.
There’s a constant stream of stories up there. It’s like teleporting. Time-traveling.
A story can carry you away.
Even if you never actually make it too far from home yourself. At least not right now.
You know what’s funny, though?
I’ve always, since I became an Adult, used money — or lack thereof — as an excuse for not traveling all over the world. And, I mean, writers don’t get huge paychecks, and I’m not saying I have a lot to spare. But within an exceptionally short amount of time, I won’t be able to use that as an excuse anymore.
In all these years of barely leaving the country — let alone my hometown — I’ve climbed far enough up the creative-career ladder to technically be able to afford to travel wherever I want.
A luxury still, yes, I know.
But the point is … I’ve lived for so long inside all these thousands of pages I’ve written. And now I have the freedom, because of all that, to actually go there.
It’s hard to see, from a distance, that you or someone else, is working toward something bigger.
I remember sitting in the top floor of the science building at my university, because it was the quietest place on campus to write on weekends, and I had a key.
I remember peeking inside the labs and thinking, you could be doing research that’ll change the world.
And then I’d go back to my laptop and write stories about fictional characters falling in love.
Now my job requires me to write about science, because life is funny like that.
You’re not missing out.
You’re just doing something different. And you won’t know how it’s going to change your life until it does.
You’re living. Not the way your non-writer friends are living, but you’re still living.
Someday you’ll be glad you wrote all those stories.
You’ll be glad you went so many places, without actually ever leaving.
Keep your butt in that chair. Keep writing. It doesn’t have to make sense — to you or to anyone else. If it matters to you, then it matters.
Keep hoping for the future. You don’t know it yet, but it’s probably amazing.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.