On the Necessity of Writing

Smith Corona "Silent" portable typewriterM. gave me this vintage (late 1940s) Smith-Corona “Silent” portable typewriter for my birthday earlier this month. Let it be a sign. Time to start writing—with the latest technology!

Speaking of writing, my former department chairman used to teach a once-weekly one-credit course called “Careers for English Majors.” He would bring in outside speakers, and he always tapped me to talk about a writer’s career path.

But there isn’t one.

Some people figure that out, e.g., Cassie Boorn, 24, in this article, “Six Young Female Journalists, One Year Later.”

Here is what I spent the past year learning; there is no path to success. Social media changed everything, the recession ruined most industries, too many people go to college and any sort of path that once existed is gone. That path is now paved with women who are too poor to have children and burn out by the time they are thirty.  Forget the path you have been sold and make your own. Start a blog, major in Philosophy, have a baby in college, pitch a story to Forbes, ask too many questions, take things apart and put them back together and turn it into a good story.

The path is that there is no path. If you are a writer, you will be writing. Says another of the six, speaking of her still-younger self, “My diaries read like chapter books, with clear beginnings, middles, and ends as I planned, undertook, and achieved milestones.”

That kind of thing.