ABC’s of Writing (for Beginners): A for Ambition

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

DCA photo by Chris RandallWriters spend hours discussing craft; we talk about struggling with writers’ block, making time to write, and making a living while writing (but not necessarily making a living as writers). We can discuss every element of the process, down to what types of pens we like to use, but few of us can speak openly about our ambition. Not goals, not daily word counts, ambition. Why can’t we talk about our desire to be successful both financially and artistically?

Maybe we think we’re not allowed to talk about it. Maybe we think we’re supposed to be super sensitive literary types focused on the satisfaction we get from making art and being part of a community of artists. Those things are certainly satisfying, but we also want something else, something more. As much as people outside of the writing world –writer Lary Bloom refers to them as “civilians “ – want to believe that writers are all content to be scribbling away in studios and coffee shops and libraries, we do all have some level of ambition. Being a writer is inherently ambitious, partly because no one really believes we can be successful. Being a writer means having an ambition that outweighs feeling as though our work is not good enough. We move beyond our insecurities and return to the page because we’re ambitious. The act of writing, of exposing ourselves on the page, is ambitious.

We want to believe that creating the work is enough and most days crafting a great sentence, paragraph, page, or chapter is more than enough, but we still need to be recognized for our efforts. We want to be heard, to be read, to experience the excitement that comes when someone says “I saw your piece in a magazine,” or “I read your book and loved it!” We want the Pulitzer, the Nobel, and the New Yorker.

Just because we aren’t performers in the traditional sense doesn’t mean we don’t crave those things. The attention, the acknowledgement that our work is good and maybe even important, is part of why we write. The most basic level of our ambition: to be paid for our creative work so that we can eat and pay bills and live off of what we love to do.

We’re writers. We exhibit our ambition every time we sit down to write. Let’s not hide it anymore.


Daisy C. Abreu is a writer living in New Haven, Connecticut. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Hartford, and an MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University where she served as co-editor of creative non-fiction for the online literary journal, Mason’s Road. Her work has been published in the online journal Label Me Latina and The Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Arts Paper. Daisy is currently working on her collection of essays about growing up Cuban-American in northern New Jersey. Find her here.  ABC’s of Writing (for beginners)

4 Comments

  1. I love this. Thank you, Daisy, for telling it like it is. Spot on!

  2. Love this, Daisy! Keep on trucking, my friend.

  3. A good place to start the alphabet.

  4. I love this, Daisy! I vote for matching Pulitzer prizes one day!

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