Keeping Writing In Your Back Pocket
“Those who take joy in writing are never in want of something to do.”
I just came up with that while sitting at my intern desk at GrubStreet. I think it sounds good to me because it’s true, and that’s what good writing is: translating the truth—as we know it—into words. The above quotation is certainly true to me as I have found immense pleasure and repeatedly escaped aimlessness by keeping writing in my back pocket.
I don’t mean this literally. I don’t walk around with a draft or a notebook constantly in my back pocket (though that’s actually not a bad idea), but rather I keep my love of writing and my desire to write very close to me at all times. That way I can pull it out on a rainy day at home, or a sunny solitary day at the beach, or when I can’t sleep and there is nothing on TV. Writing gives me joy and a sense of accomplishment, it allows me to sort through my thoughts, and it prevents me from ever having nothing to do.
To find joy in writing is a gift, but to write well is merely a skill—a skill anyone with the prerequisite joy can master. If my eavesdropping or observations (the work of a writer) at GrubStreet this summer have taught me anything, it’s that. For GrubStreet is a place full to bursting with the joy of writing and people eagerly using that joy as fuel for improvement. It’s invigorating to witness. Personally, I’m thankful that I was given the gift of enjoying writing, and the writing well part is something that I continue to work at daily.
As I head into my senior year of college, I am constantly peppered with the question, “So, what are you going to do with your life?” I’ve been asked so many times and in so many different settings—my own 21st birthday dinner notwithstanding—that at this point I’m just waiting for someone to pull me aside and talk to me about “plastics.” As a liberal arts student, my current answer to that question is, “I don’t know yet,” and the fact that I don’t know gives me varying degrees of stress depending on the day, hour, and minute.
What I can take comfort in, however, what I can depend on, is that I will always have writing. Sure, I don’t know what I’m going to do yet to pay the bills, but my joy of writing will prevent me from wandering completely without aim. I might even be able to squeeze a few bucks out of it (just ask Ethan Gilsdorf).
There is also, of course, always the option of diving into the deep and becoming “a writer,” but I don’t know that I’m ready to label myself just yet. What I do know is that when I grow up, I want to make people laugh and I want to make people think, and if I could do both at the same time, that would be pretty great. I also know—thanks to my summer at GrubStreet—that I want to be around writers and people who like to write. The community of writers is a welcoming one, and writers are some the coolest people I know.
So, as I go forth out into the world, I will keep writing in my back pocket, and I suggest that you do the same.
Noam Waksman was the Marketing & YAWP Intern at GrubStreet this past summer. If you enjoyed Grub’s “Meme Mondays” on Facebook and Twitter, then you already know him. Noam would like to thank Sean Van Deuren, Lauren Rheaume, and the rest of the crazy cool GrubStreet staff for the best professional experience of his young life. You can find him at [email protected] or on twitter @NoamWaksman.