Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Phew! Writing is the hardest thing to do in the world! Well, accept for everything else!

Man, writing is so hard!
First, you have to get past all the doubt and self-loathing. You can't do anything till you do that!
Then you have to force yourself to actually sit down and write! This, I think everyone can relate to because we all have something we desperately want to do but wrestle with time management and commitment to make it happen. Be it yoga, the gym, or working on that damned novel!
Then you have to let yourself suck. I mean, really suck! Like suck so bad even you don't want to read what you wrote. And that phase goes on for years. And I do mean years! The strong desire for something worth reading compels you to move forward but is completely unsatisfied. Again, something easily relatable. You don't go to the gym one day lose 50 pounds and get those washboard abs!
After years of suffering through all the days of doubt, bad writing, writer's block (caused by a deep-seated fear of failing), and lack of motivation you're finally rewarded with something that doesn't completely suck! You're elated! You show it to everyone you pass on the street and all of your friends! And like the muscles that barely seemed much bigger than the last ones you showed them a month ago, they don't seem to impress anyone. In fact, after a while, everyone avoids your emails and phone calls because they don't want to read your crappy stories. And suddenly you wake up and realize you've become as bad as that pyramid scheme guy! People everywhere are avoiding eye contact with you for fear you're going to try to sell them on this months ultimate get rich pipe dream!
So you do what every writer does before you: you try to get that sort of good story published! Because it's not that the story sucks that none of your friends want to read it. NO! You just need a wider sampling for it to find its audience! But after an avalanche of rejection letters piles up, the inkling that your cute little story, isn't actually very good begins working its way through your mind. This is a breaking point for many. They either quit or redouble their efforts. Most quit.
Years go by and lots of mediocre writing follows. None of which you see as crap, but actually is very much crappy. But each story finds just a little less crappiness in it than the one that came before it. Of course, you can't see the improvements. You're biased! You think they're all freaking gold!
Finally, you reach the pinnacle! You get something published somewhere! India maybe. Or the Philippines. It doesn't matter where the literary journal is because someone actually feels the same way about your writing as you do! But, like heroin, the high only lasts a little while. And it's quickly replaced by the need to chase that dragon for as long as it takes! Not for the recognition. Not for the money, because we all know unless your name is Stephen King, you're not making any money from your writing. But because just for a moment, you see the chance at immortality dangling in front of you!
So you keep writing and you publish again and again and again. Then a fear creeps its way into your mind, "Okay, this story is the best thing I've ever written! I see now that everything else was absolute crap! What if it's all downhill from here?" You start looking at writing in a way you never did before, with terror in your eyes! You're afraid that the skills you've been developing for years will somehow disappear! As if that is even remotely possible, but you'll lie awake at night with bloodshot eyes worrying about it.
This is as far as I've come. Sadly, I have no nuggets of information for you to let you know what in store for if you should decide to finally start writing that novel. But I'm going to give you a prediction: more of the same only more so!
It's the hardest thing I've ever done and it's all I ever wanted to do. I can't imagine stopping now. I'm not gonna let a little lack of innate ability or talent stop me! Why would I? It hasn't stopped me so far!

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