A New Creative Class

Confessions Of A Writer: A Mixed Bag Of Suffering, Relief, And Acceptance

An honest assessment of pursuing the painful, masochistic, and sometimes enjoyable path of becoming a writer.

By Chloé Williams

Photo by Eric Helgas


In collaboration with Urban Outfitters and Dickies, we commissioned a series of stories that feature creative leaders who offer their insight on the “new” work world.

I’m still a little unsure if I’m cut out for all of this.

It surprises me when people know me as a writer. It's not always the word I would use. Perhaps because I never intended to do it—to write.

It happened to me as these things can. A series of directions, qualifiers, and adjectives set a trajectory, and it seemed I was overruled. One afternoon in high school my mom was driving me home and she said, I always hoped you’d be a writer. I felt the way I imagine people renovating houses do when they open up a wall and find a doorway, a walled-up room. There was something built in, and I wanted to use it.

I didn’t know the rules then. The old world with its expectations wasn’t so obvious, but I went to college and found them waiting. My first creative writing professor asked us once what we thought of when we imagined a writer. Words were thrown out, suicidal, depressed, alcoholic, isolated, loner. Something absolute seemed to reveal itself over the years in different workshops and groups, in panels and Q&As: When we talk about writing, we must mention its sufferings.

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