I am a writer. You will hear no pride in my voice when I make this declaration.
It was never my intention to be a writer, never was it a childhood dream, I simply find myself suitable as little else. Every writer denies the world a scientist, an engineer, a soldier, a police officer; there is nothing honorable in this. Because we rob the world in this way, our choices must give back. The things we choose to write must always be what need be said.
This idea birthed what I believe is the best piece of advice for any writer: lose all hope, then write what matters.
Every writer is a journalist reporting on culture, values, the world as it is. We tell the truth, even if we have to make it up. Writing is a lonely conversation with humanity. We are lent the ear of all who might listen. With such opportunity, and rarefied company, comes an obligation to earnestly convey that which we could not happily take to our graves.
If everything was lost to you, what would you write about? Tomorrow you wake with nothing, save for time slipping quickly away from you. What matters? You can say one thing, tell one story, convey one idea to a species which you will never meet, and may never notice you. When you grab their lapels, shaking them to consciousness or action, what message are you screaming for them to hear?
Hope dulls our sense of what matters, clouding it with what could be. We hope for comfort, but it is this very thing which breeds complacency. It is the antithesis of greatness, and true achievement.
This is the state of mind which all writers must have, if they are to say anything of value. And so in all your endeavors I urge that, whether you be a writer or something more noble, you do one thing:
Lose all hope.