The Writer’s Life: Courage

by Randy Murray on April 5, 2012

Even in these economically difficult times, it is easier to take a job, to work in an office or factory and to collect a paycheck, than it is to pursue the much more difficult path of living as an artist.

Becoming an artist, a writer, is a courageous thing.

You can’t be realistic and be an artist. You have to have a firm grip on the improbability of  doing this job, of the unlikelihood of making a living from your art.

That requires a level of bravery that many, most, do not possess.

I did not have it when I left college. Many of my friends did. Many, most of them, failed.

But then I found my courage. Three years ago, when I was at the end of my life as an employee, I had a decision to make. Do I get up, dust myself off, and get back into the rat race? Or do I do something different? Did I have the courage to live as a writer?

I wasn’t sure. So I sat down at this desk and began writing.

I’m not sure if that was an act of courage, but I think that it was. I was worn out, wounded, and tired beyond belief, but I found enough energy in myself to turn to that thing that I loved, that I had trained to be. I turned to my art, my writing. I now know that you don’t have to start out as courageous. That will come.

I don’t even feel particularly courageous now, but I understand what it takes. And I see what it takes for my daughters, one a musician and the other a painter, to pursue their callings. It is courage, a special kind of courage that says, “I know. I understand. I’m doing it anyway.”

Courage doesn’t guarantee success. Courage is the ability to move forward even when you’re exhausted and afraid. Courage, for the writer, is to sit in solitude and write every damn day.

The true writer knows it isn’t about getting published, getting paid, or finding fame. The courageous writer does one thing.

He writes.

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The The Writer’s Life: Courage by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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  • The Writer's Life: Courage | First Today, Then Tomorrow | The Writing Wench | April 5, 2012
  • The Writer's Life: Courage | First Today, Then Tomorrow | Writing and Editing | April 6, 2012

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