Why I Write


August 8, 2013 by Ifeoma Dennis

Two or three days back, a friend told me, well-meaningfully I guess, “You know you’re just wasting your time with writing. How much are you going to earn, coming to even think about it? You’d be a doctor and even as a resident, what you’d earn in one year won’t compare to a writer’s wages.”

I stumbled for words at first. I wasn’t expecting someone to tell me this. I mean, my parents had never told me to give up on my writing dream. My family had never found it useless.

“I write because I love it,” I told my friend at last. “I can’t live without it. And it makes me very very happy.”

But days later, I still think about what he said. I’m a bit in a low mood, to be honest. I think about my medical board exams coming up in the near future, think about seeing my books one day in a bookshop and I wonder if it makes sense. If I am just one big-headed Pisces of a dreamer. If I should be reading, instead of writing (but hello, it’s my break this August and can’t I take a break from reading medical books?)

I wonder if I’d look back one day and regret anything…anything.

Not to mention, I didn’t make it to the first three in my class. I was the fourth, which is still something, you might say… but only the first three students get discounts for their clinical rotations. So in a way, I lost a scholarship. A discount worth a few thousand dollars a year. And I feel like a big, big failure.

But did it have anything with writing? No, it didn’t.

Writing didn’t distract me. Matter of fact, I made it a rule not to write during the semester. I tried as hard as I could to read as much as possible, I didn’t miss classes (except once in a while) and I read my hardest.

And even if I hung out on Twitter, my other friends were hanging out at parties, or playing sports. Everyone had something they were doing when they wanted to take a breather.

So when some of my friends try to suggest it might be my writing distracting me, I’m like, “HELLO”.

But then deep in my heart, I wonder if I am distracted. If it is wrong to love something that “might” not make you that much money. If it is wrong to give in to something you really want to do.

And it is not like I don’t like medical school. I love it, and I want to be a Doctor Without Borders one day. But I don’t know, when I think of long-term plans….it’s a bit hard to imagine past that.

It’s a bit hard to imagine past anything at the moment.

I just want to write and succeed in every area I find myself, and hopefully, one day all the confused pieces would come together and solve the puzzle.

Anyways, I guess I’m posting this because I need and I’m trying to give myself some inspiration.


8 thoughts on “Why I Write

  1. Spike Cordiner says:

    Write because you want to and damn the rest! The “Why are you wasting your time with that?” argument could also be applied to the million and one things people do to fill their time when not working or studying. With writing you’re producing your own, unique art that makes you happy and, with a bit of luck, makes others happy too.

    I did a fair bit of writing at school, less as an undergrad, and practically none whilst doing my PhD. On paper, that is. I was still writing stories in my head. Short stories, novels, all kinds. Finally, after 4 jobs, 6 changes of house, 1 change of hemisphere and many other things, I had the opportunity to write ‘properly’ again. I admit, it took a jolt to commit and get the first WIP done but I never stopped thinking about the story and I just wanted to write it. Not for money, not for the chance of being famous, just for the sake of telling a story. Because I wanted to.

    In case you’re curious (and still reading this increasingly long comment) there were two things that got me off my ass and made me write my MS. The first was a friend getting his book published. That showed me it was possible for people just like me to actually manage to write a novel (and if you haven’t read The Rook, by Dan O’Malley the go do so ‘cos it’s cool). The second thing that got me moving was a song I heard about 5 minutes after her told me about his bookdeal: The Car Song, by The Cat Empire. It’s still an inspiration.

    • I just googled The Rook and found the excerpt on the book site and OMGG it’s sooo good already!

      And thank you for inspiring me, thank you for writing this “not-really long” and “definitely interesting” comment… and giving me more reasons to stay strong, Yes, because that argument can be applied to a million other things, like you rightly said.

      I’ll check out The Car Song before I start writing today…thank you again!

  2. Cat York says:

    You said it, sister! Write for you!
    I can’t wait to meet you and hug you one day.

  3. *Hugs* I hear this from people sometimes, too, especially people who don’t understand why I would spend so much time on something that doesn’t make any money (I’ve yet to make a profit!) and would rather I got a ‘real’ job. But I write for the love of it, and it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s financially successful. Sometimes my family comment, presumably in a well-meaning way, that I shouldn’t be writing as well as doing another job because it’s ‘too stressful’. I think NOT writing stresses me out more, because it’s not a distraction, everything else is a distraction from writing! I can’t live without it, even if I’m not successful. But I’m in kind of a similar situation where I can’t see past the moment (doing internships and trying to find paid work) so it’s hard to see where my career is going! Here’s hoping that things come together for both of us! 🙂

    • EXACTLY. Not writing stresses me out more. I was almost a wreck near the end of last semester due to my self-imposed “no writing” rule.

      *Clinks glass with yours* Here’s to hoping they do!

  4. My grandfather was a doctor, AND a published writer. And look at Michael Crichton! Talk about a successful doctor/writer!

    To your critics, I say “phooey.” You’re already a success.

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"Dreams can get you through anything."

-Cat York


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First Draft:

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Second Draft:

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