Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Writing isn't Rocket Science... It's Much Much Harder

When I became an engineer and more specifically an aerospace engineer, I thought it would be one of the most difficult things I ever did in my life. I truly earned the pride and joy behind getting to say I'm a rocket scientist. Sure it's super cool to say that now and even more fun to joke about it, but it was a long, long road to get to that point where I could say hey I'm a rocket scientist and I'm smart dang it!

In college, I spent countless hours studying to only get a 32% on an exam which was in fact average. I learned to say D is for DONE in Thermodynamics when I'd never had less than a B as a final grade in a class and in fact I picked up a pair of C's to go with it that semester. I took eight to twelve hours to complete one homework problem, yes one single problem, and no, I'm not kidding! I even struggled to find a way to cope with learning disabilities that I'd only discovered in college. After all that, and countless other road blocks, long nights of studying, and second guessing my major and my life a million and one times, I'm here to say this does not even begin to compare to the journey I've been through as a writer.

In fact, I'm not even sure I should be comparing the two journeys, or if that's even comparing apples to apples. But having been through both, I can say with full honesty that rocket scientists have nothing on writers. This isn't discrediting any rocket scientists out there or even discrediting my day job. There's no doubt in my mind rocket scientists are smart people, geniuses in a lot of cases, that work their butts off. However, the journey as a writer not only tests your knowledge, your brain, and your ability to think and plan, but it also tests your will, your strength, and your emotions. And it's those last three things that separates writers from a lot of other professions. Because along the journey as a writer, you not only discover things about your characters, your settings, and the stories you construct, but you also are constantly discovering things about yourself - which is simultaneously the most wonderful and most frightening thing there is.

Everyday that I write, I see a thousand paths laid out before me and most of them aren't any better or worse than the next. But how do you choose? And how do you know if you are even on the right path? When do you step back and re-evaluate? I've got news for you, while these answers are never easy, they are a million times easier in engineering than they are in writing.

While engineering doesn't always have one right answer and sometimes doesn't have an answer at all, writing has an infinite number of answers. Writing is only limited by the writer's imagination not by the laws of physics. If you can dream it, it's possible. And as much as we engineers like to think that any dream is possible in the real world, physics unfortunately doesn't always cooperate. DARN YOU GRAVITY!

And even though rocket science isn't easy, it is possible. And although writing feels down right impossible at times as well, it too is possible. But it requires a lot of time and strength everyday to keep putting words one right after another on the page. It takes courage and swallowing down your emotions to keep going when your mind is telling you that you're insane and your heart is saying that it's completely broken. And yet we writers keep pushing through and keep going despite all the fences, hurdles, and walls put in front of us. We find new ways to bust down the obstacles.

So writers, give yourselves a pat on the back, what you do may not be rocket science but it also is by no means easy. And anyone that thinks so, is either kidding themselves, or hasn't given it an honest shot. So keep doing your thing writers. This rocket scientist and writer takes her hat off to you!

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