Writing as an overused and underlearned craft

Quentin Görres is a content writer based in Athens, originally, he was born and raised in Munich. Who knows these two cities will know that two cities could hardly be more different. This and many other antitheses shape Quentin’s creative prospects.

He made a business out of writing, because that’s what he knows and because there weren’t many
other options. He tells us: “I was looking at my life, and everything I have always wanted to be, was being a writer. The only thing I really knew how to do was write. And without a high-school degree I didn’t have so many choices. So, I just went for it.”

But he also describes a problem: “Once I was a writer, and successful on my own terms, I noticed that this is now all I am. A content writer. My creative work started suffering heavily through my paid work. And I didn’t really know a way out. There wasn’t any time to write. To be creative. When? I mean I have to eat and drink. All my creative energy goes into my work. So, at the end of the day, there’s none left for creativity. For creative work.”

Because his writing started early as a way of processing and feeling emotions, he made this thought
into a poem. Not a very good one, he says, but something at least.

Two modes of writing

“I just get these flashes. These bursts of energy and thoughts, they need to get out. If I don’t let them out I feel like I am gonna explode. That’s when I pull up an empty word document and just start typing.” He says, when asked how he used to write. But there’s a different, a second mode to writing. One that he only discovered, when he made it his job.

It’s a duty. I have the blinking curser in front of me and it forces me to write something. Sometimes, I just open my excel sheet with my income fifteen times and put in the number of words I am supposed to write. Just to see what I am gonna earn from one article. Sometimes it’s the only way to motivate myself to write.”

He describes a grueling struggle of emotions. When he has an idea for a text or a poem there’s no stopping it. But since he spends so much time working out ideas for others, his own stop coming to him, or he lacks the energy and motivation to write them down. “It kills my spirit.”

When he does write creatively it is fulfilling and he knows that there’s nothing else he wants to do with his life. In the way he writes this is visible. You read the joy of observing, the detailed descriptions, and you see the world through his eyes. Often it is not a pretty view he has of the world (or himself for that matter).

Real-World difficulties

Making it as a freelance content writer wasn’t so hard for Quentin.

Easier than he expected in fact, but getting his creative work published has been hard. And that is due to his paid work: “Where do I find the time? I would have to take a lot of time out of my schedule to answer to a call for writers. Creating a good pitch for a fiction magazine, writing a short story, just coming up with a good idea, it takes time. I can’t take two or three days, maybe even weeks, off just to work on creative projects. I have deadlines to meet.”

But he understands as well that that is just the writer’s life and world: “I do know I can’t lose hope and that I have to keep trying. The rejections bother me of course, but they don’t stop me. Even if my fiction or my essays stay unpublished, it won’t stop me from writing them.”

On top of that he is struggling with mental health issues. I think every good writer is a bit crazy. I know that being crazy alone doesn’t make you a good writer. But as a reader I would say that a healthy writer is boring.” He says that reading about the struggles of other people and seeing others turn their peculiarities into great art has been his greatest inspiration since early on.

“I cannot glorify mental illness, but the best things I have written was when I was incredibly depressed. That is why I am happy to write for getinflow.io who make a great platform for people (like me) with ADHD. But also in my creative writing I don’t want to hide my state of mind. For me my greatest inspirations have always been people that obviously didn’t have a “normal” brain. Like Bowie or Kafka.”

What does the future hold?

A question that everybody would probably like to have the answer to, but never has. Quentin says he will go on, go on trying, go on working, both creatively and for money. He tells us he has the feeling he’s on the right path.

“I think whatever comes it can’t be worse than what has passed. Right now, I am on a good way. I love Athens, not everything about it, but most of it. It is a place where at times it can be incredibly hard not to be creative and at others it strangles all creativity. But for now, I will stay here.”

If there’s anything he wants to add?

“I think what is important for every artist and especially young artists like me, is to not look up too much. Especially in a field so dominated by academia fitting in and finding ones place as somebody without the academic background will always be harder. There will always be people that accomplished a lot more than you, but that’s okay. I am happy for them. Of course, I wish the same for me, but it doesn’t need to happen. What I personally need to remember is why I write. And not confusing it for my job too much. To keep in mind that it is a passion and a hobby. Separate it from the job.

He has recently created an Instagram page where he self-publishes some of his poems and continues to search for a home for his short stories and essays.

IG: @woerterzaehlen


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