Books · Reading · Writing

If I weren’t a writer, what would I be?

I had a weird dream last night… as is typical with all my dreams, but I digress. I dreamt that I was a writer, traditionally published and successful and famous beyond my wildest dreams. Then along came a witch, and for some unknown reason she cursed me, sent me back to my childhood, took away that one moment that turned me into a writer.

My alarm went off then, and I didn’t know what had become of my dream self, but the mere idea of leading a life without books and writing kinda freaked me out. I have been a bibliophile for as long as I remember, and it never occurred to me that I could’ve been thrown into a reality where I wasn’t. I suppose I’ve been fortunate enough to have parents who liked to read, who took me to book fairs and allowed me to buy the books I wanted. If our circumstances had been different, if they were uneducated or poor, then I might have never learned to embrace books. I would have never considered seeing what my own words would look like on paper.


It might seem trivial in the grand scheme of things; after all, not every writer publishes. Not every writer pursues this craft seriously. It technically shouldn’t affect my life that much. But thinking about it, getting down to the nitty-gritty of it, I realise I would have been a completely different person and led a completely different life. One that I’m not sure I would have liked.

For one, I would not be in the field of translation. I entered this field because I liked being in a position where I can weave words, where I can act as a mirror for readers in other languages. If I had not been a reader or a writer, then my career choices would have been drastically different, and so many people I met through my job would never have become part of my life.

It’s not the people in the work field either; I have made so many friendships and connections because I like to write and read. If not for the written word, I wouldn’t have ventured out beyond my immediate circle of friends and tried to seek out like-minded individuals elsewhere, anywhere. I wouldn’t have gotten to know this community of wonderful writers here on WordPress. I wouldn’t have made some of my closest friends.

I also would never have known what it felt like to create something, to have my work read and admired by others, to actually hold my book and inhale its scent (come on – I know everyone loves to smell their own book!).

I suppose one perk would be that I’d be a little richer for not spending a big chunk of my money on books and stationery, but that’s one perk I’m more than prepared to live without. One of my favourite things to do is huddle up during the evening after a long day of work with a book and just allow it to take me away.

Bottom line? I am so grateful that I “grew up” to be a writer, because I can’t even imagine what else would I be.

What about you? Have you ever had these same thoughts? If you were not a writer or a reader, what/where would you be?

13 thoughts on “If I weren’t a writer, what would I be?

  1. I can’t imagine a world without books. They’ve been a part of my life every step of the way, whether in the form of textbooks or books for general enjoyment. A world without books–like yours last night, that would be a scary dream!

    1. Wouldn’t it? No matter how much I try I can’t imagine my life without them! It just seems absolutely impossible.

      Thank goodness it was only a dream – albeit a vivid one!

  2. I think it’s hard to imagine not being a writer because it’s more than a job or a hobby; it’s an identity. It would be like losing a piece of your self, the equivalent of losing a limb or more appropriately a lung. I know that’s how it is for me, at least.

  3. I agree, Zen, it’s hard to imagine a life without books and writing. Perhaps you are called to it though, despite your parents and your childhood. I have friends who were raised in families where literature was not given importance and yet they were drawn to it, even if it didn’t end up being their careers. I wonder if it’s a question of personality sometimes. Thoughtful post!

    1. That’s an interesting way of looking at it, and I suppose it makes sense – my siblings, for example, have my entire bookcase right in their faces at all times, and none of them ever expressed interest in reading any of it. =/

  4. TOTALLY! I can’t imagine my life without books and writing. Both have gotten me through some very tough times. Even now, I feel my life is going pretty darn good, but I always turn to words…my old trusty friends.

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