How my being a writer saved your life

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As I skipped over to the computer this morning to spring into action…and by that I mean, when I peeled away the drool-covered hair stuck to my forehead so I could see the computer screen, I realized how lucky you (the readers) are that I am a ...

As I skipped over to the computer this morning to spring into action…and by that I mean, when I peeled away the drool-covered hair stuck to my forehead so I could see the computer screen, I realized how lucky you (the readers) are that I am a writer.

Not because I have endless words of wisdom or pithy phrases you can tweet or hysterical stories that make you stop in your tracks and wonder what in name of all that is holy would you do without this blog. No, be thankful I am preoccupied with a relatively harmless task that keeps me from injecting myself into some other occupation that might actually adversely affect your life.

I often refer to myself, when describing my writing abilities, as a hack, or more precisely, a “hack writer.” If you look up the meaning for the term on Wikipedia, first you will see my picture. Second, it will say: A writer who is paid to write low-quality, quickly put-together articles for books. In full disclosure, I must confess I have yet to be paid for one single word I have typed. Unless you count my personal reward system of candy, cheese, and chardonnay. In which case, I have been more than adequately compensated.

However, would you believe with my vast experience (volumes and volumes of unpublished shoddy work), I arrive at the blank screen, every-single-time, with the fear I will never be able to write again? I know, right? Whether right before I drift off to sleep at night or when my eyes first flutter open in the morning, I have to fight off the feelings of dread. I am convinced I have lost the ability to string even two words together…except for “hack writer.”

Now back to why you are lucky. Imagine (put on your biggest imagination hat) if I had instead, decided to go to medical school and become a surgeon. Can you honestly conceive of arriving at the consult to find your physician sitting in a puddle of sweat, mumbling under her breath, “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay,” as she discusses her plans to cut you open and replace a heart valve? Would you really sign the release forms for Cindi Woods, hack surgeon?

Or what if the next time you boarded a jet you looked through the open door to the cockpit and spotted: Cindi Woods, hack pilot? There she is, hyperventilating into an airsickness bag with the co-pilot chanting encouraging words, “You can do this, Cindi.”

The list of occupations you should be grateful I did not pursue, is long and terrifying. I could be hacking the heck out of your life right now. But I’m not. So, you’re welcome. I’m getting paid in cheese and chardonnay.

The next time you read one of my shabby blog posts, be thankful I am at home hacking on my keyboard and not into your open chest cavity.

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