Writer Woes

Boat

There are few things that get me nibbling my nails more frantically than contemplating the monetary barriers to becoming a writer.

The very act of trading hours of my life for bits of paper is odious. And yet, in our society, there simply does not seem to be any other alternative, unless you have a wealthy spouse, inherit money, win the lottery or have parents who can support you until you make enough money from your writing, all of which I don’t have or are highly unlikely to ever have.

When I contemplate the sheer pointlessness of ever having a crack at this writing thing, and my hatred for jobs which are necessary for funding said writing thing, I’m fairly consistent in my reactions.

I either:

a) I throw insults at the world.

This crops up the most often. An endless spiel comes whirling out of my mouth, in which I denounce everything under the sun, from the capitalist system we live in, the inherent selfishness of human beings, the coldness and indifference of the universe, the lack of appreciation for art, etc. etc. This also takes the longest time, and leaves me quite spent and still fuming. I tend to go through these periods every couple of weeks.

b) I throw insults at myself.

I turn inward. I berate myself for being a good-for-nothing nobody who has the gall to not want to work while the rest of society slaves away like good little children. I tear down my own dreams like I’m stripping the clothes of my Cinderella-like alter-ego, clawing and scratching at her face, screaming, “YOU’RE DELUSIONAL. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE IT. SHUT UP AND GET IN LINE LIKE A GOOD WORKER. YOU WILL BE THE BETTER FOR IT. STOP TRYING TO CLUTCH AT THE MIST.” This often leads to reading over my previous writing, bemoaning my obvious lack of skill and potential, feeling like I’ve been under the influence of a delusion and convincing myself that I’ve finally woken up from the fairy’s spell. I will never make it. I’m a deluded, little fool. Then I just sort of collapse and stop living for a few days, contemplating disturbing suicidal thoughts that I never have the courage to act upon, which just annoys me even more. The agony of this reaction is incredible – I feel like I’m sitting in a chair with a spoon and scraping out my innards in clots of blood and flesh and veins.

c) I sit in a dark, wet puddle of weepiness.

That is as fun as it sounds. Seeped in the incontinence of my own soul, I contemplate the bleak vistas of a life of poverty and homelessness and pain, take a big gulp and think, well, this is just the way it is, I’ll just have to get job that’ll sap my energy and write in my spare time. Then I think about jobs that sap my energy, which, if they do not involve writing and involve lots of talking, are all of them, because I am an antisocial creature and can only deal with people in teeny-tiny doses before I want to thwack a book over my head. Also, I only truly feel alive when I am alone with a book and characters and my own writing. Also, I need silence like I need love. Also, wasting my life, watching and waiting for the hour hand to move the way I do in school, doing that for the rest of my life…the thought makes me want to stab myself in the throat with a fork. I apologise for the violent, visceral imagery in this post.

d) I sleep. Unfortunately, I also have a habit of eventually waking up. Oversleeping also has a tendency to waste precious time.

And when I procrastinate, I want to die, because it feels like all the negative, whispering little voices, like a band of nebulous demons sniggering and clustering about my head, are right. After all, if writing what my heart truly points to, if it is all I want to do during this flimsy, short existence, and I’m avoiding doing it…well, I’m the biggest failure of all, aren’t I?

And I think I’ve convinced myself I have some shot at this as a defense mechanism. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that, and the more I read of my amateur scribblings, the more I am convinced of this theory.

I guess this entire post is me trying to convey my own pain and agony, the equivalent of cracking open my head and showing you the fractured skull and gore, which, the more I think about it, is probably quite dull for you to read, unless you’re dealing with the same thing yourself.

And I even wrote a post writing about how to chase the dark clouds away! Let’s add being a hypocrite to the list. It’s a selfish post, and I’m trying not to let that make me feel worse. Nope. Not succeeding.

I guess. I guess it just hurts, and I feel like telling someone it hurts, even if it is the internet. I’m not fishing for buckets of pity – I swear from the depths of my heart I’m not, though it could seem like I am. I just think human beings tend to feel better when our pain is recognized, even a little bit.

It’s just. You have all these dreams, you know? And they’re cupped in your palms like dewdrops, and you spend days, months, years, cradling them away from the sun’s harsh rays like some overprotective water god, until one day you open your fingers and you find they’ve evaporated long ago, and the world is a nothing, you are a nothing, life is a nothing. It’s a little hard, that’s all. I know there are harder things, but this is pretty hard.

Anyway. Excuse me while I publish this post and go weep. And write. And weep at my writing after I’ve written it, since I tend to put a brake on the waterworks when I’m writing, as that can blur the page and make the creation of art a pain rather than a joy. I sincerely, sincerely hope every single one of you are a thousand times more content than I am. Like, sometimes, when the entire universe bends down and  sneers in my face with its black-hole mouth and galaxy eyes, I just think of other happy people doing what they love for a living, dancing in sunshine, transfixed by fireflies, peering into the faces of their newborn child, holding their first book in their hands, and I am comforted by the thought that contentment can exist. Maybe it just won’t for me. And the frightening thing is I’m not sure it ever will.

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6 thoughts on “Writer Woes

  1. Hello.

    I sympathized with you, somehow. In the crossroads of life, among dreamers, powerful people, workers, artists, engineers, mathematicians, physicists, musicians, where do we belong? What do we do? What are we? I’m trying to figure out that. But I got some shortcuts of ideas and mindsets that I want to share with you. So you can abbreviate a little bit the burden of trying to figure out those things yourself. It’s not that what I’m going to say is valuable. It’s just a plus. Ideas from someone who took the wrong routes in life and delayed the right decisions. My experience. A little safe of cursed secrets. I’m going to be honest. Don’t take the wrong idea about myself. What I’m going to say and the way I’m going to say it is the way I talk with myself. Just an explanation in case you think that I’m being a little mean here: I consider myself a failure, someone who is trying to overcome his own conditions. Even if this imply to embrace darkness and obsession. Okay, there we go.

    1 – Don’t expect people to admire you for what you are. The mere fact of existence is not a skill. It’s an accident.

    2 – You have power and you know it. Inside you, this burning desire to become a successful writer. This willingness to show people how vast your imagination is and how keenness your attention to detail can make people pay attention to the beauty of life regardless how many adversities and unfavorable circumstances we may find ourselves.

    3 – You already have something. It’s a simple matter of perspective. You have an audience. People read what you write. You shape their minds. From this point, you can only expand. Keep doing what you are doing.

    4 – The future? Who cares? Play a sum game. Train skills that are going to be useful for you, no matter what you’re finally going to do in life. Read and write. Write short stories. One page long. That’s it. Do it. Are you tired? Do it. Your future is uncertain? Guess what. Everybody’s future is uncertain. Kings, empires, rich people, they all fall someday. They all die. Gigantic companies also fail. And poor people can become successful. There is no boundaries for mentally incredible people today. You can reach whoever you want. Persevere. Pay the price.

    5 – Training is dirty. Yes. Dirty! So dirty your hands. Write. Inspire yourself and do it. Can’t write a masterpiece? Write a crapiece. Nobody is going to read? Refine it. Still nobody reads it? Create another. One page long. But do it, preferably, each day. Every single day. Can’t read all the books in the world? Me too! But you can write every single day of your life, surely.

    6 – Money will come. You know why? Because you are intelligent and want to contribute. You want to master the craft of writing and will offer what people need: entertainment and inspiration. You are going to bring people’s attention to what they need to pay attention to: DREAMS. And yes, there are people willing to pay artists that can entertain and inspire us. It’s all about trade. Learn the importance of this. Don’t neglect this. Just have in mind. This will be enough. Let it gradually sink. Maybe freelancing, contracts or indie. The important is this: build your portfolio. Again. BUILD YOUR PORTFOLIO. Have something to show. And SHOW IT.

    7 – Okay. Suppose you are going to give up. Don’t. Unless you have better plans and the goddess of luck smiled at you (say, won in lottery or received a millionaire inheritance from a distant relative). Become obsessive. Enter in berserk mode. Go insane and write a lot. A lot and all the time. Keep doing until you exhaust yourself. If thoughts of suicide occur to you, how about commit it in a fashion way: die from writing. Write until your soul become completely drained, until your fingers dry with all your conscious energy. Write or die. Keep writing until you die (needless to say this is an hyperbole…).

    8 – People love you. You know that. They want to connect with you, because what you write touch them. They want more from you. Give them. Give them what they want: your words. Make them dream. Innovate. Don’t be discouraged by the fury of life. Become furious yourself. Fight! If unsuccess is certain, so fail gracefully. Do it with honor: giving all you have.

    9 – Everybody have blind spots. I can’t see my blind spots. You can’t see your blind spots. But, maybe I can see yours and you can see mine. I don’t know what you’re thinking of it or if you noticed… but you have potential and is in the right path. Are you insecure? Embrace it. So be it. Everybody is. Connect with people. Talk with them. Expose yourself. Embrace power. Don’t be reluctant. Don’t be modest. Beautify even more your image with elegance. Be clean. Protect your name but give people a chance to opine about you. Some won’t like you. As some don’t like me. And that’s okay. That’s how life is.

    10 – Be ambitious. Don’t be greedy. Play for win, so choose wisely your battles. Dream a lot but know when to stop. And recover your sanity. And step firmly on the ground. A lot of people will cross your way. Some will tell: “you can’t”. “You won’t pass from this point”. “Your writing sucks”. “You are not so good”. You have, at least, three alternatives:

    10.A) Accept their claims and stop.
    10.B) Learn to filter criticism, looking for constructive criticism and seek for ways to improve.
    10.C) Ignore everybody and keep doing whatever you’re doing.

    11 – Ask for money. Ask for donations. Your writing should have a price. If you write a book, be humble. Ask for money or privileges. This is life, we give and take. My analogy is something like that: our intentions are like colors. Imagine yourself in a pool full with colored plastic balls. If you are searching for blue plastic balls, your sight and brain will filter and ignore the other colors. You will mostly find blue plastic balls and search for them. Now, if your intention shift to green plastic balls, your brain will filter the other colors as well. The idea here is simple: green plastic balls is analogy for money. You won’t try to make it at will. But your attention and INTENTION will change. Search for it. Or, at least, have the intention to get or accumulated it. Everything will fold naturally from that.

    12 – Life is an illusion(?). Consciousness is all about illusion. Stories are all illusion. Internet is virtual. Our connection is virtual. Is virtual real? What is real? Are feelings real? Again, who cares? If illusion is our fate, let’s have a delusional life. It’s not that we have a choice. But overthinking is unnecessary. If we are already in hell, so let’s greet the devil.

    That’s it. I’m feeling guilty. Because I’m telling all this and I’m not yet with my own ambitions. So here is a short story of mine: I was a typical INFP, dreamer and king of games. Master of childhood. At 18 years, I got to choose my path and ended up in computer science (because I wanted to create games and animations and… the other options available could not sustain me, because in my city don’t have university with art, linguistics or music courses). I know, today my mindset is different. Universities are not so important. We can learn almost anything at our own. Back then, it took me 2 years after enrolled in the course to grasp that. Today I’m a proficient programmer and like to learn foreign languages. But deep inside, my desire to be a storyteller and create animations still exist. And I’m still pursuing my dream.

    The dark winds will blow. Accept that. In life, shit happens. Accidents. Those things are beyond our control. But we can level the direction of our sails. We can row and go against the dark winds. Keep loving what you do. It’s not about being successful. There is no such a thing. It’s about love. Love what you do. But remember, use your head. Use your consciousness. Reflect about your current circumstances. Plan ahead, but not so far. Don’t think about years. Think about weeks. Think about days, if this comfort and pleases you.

    Why did I tell all this? I don’t know. But it would be a incredible waste if you stop to write. A broken heart. If you are not confident and the apparent circumstances show you that failure is imminent, accept it. Why? Remember: the future is unpredictable. We have blind spots. And, above all, we don’t know how great we really are. We are so dumb that we cannot even predict our failures. The same apply for our success. Whatever that means.

    • I just printed this out and put it into a folder (I would have stuck it on the wall, but we’re renting and I’m afraid of damaging the plaster. I know people always say, as a huge compliment, that they printed out and stuck it somewhere in close viewing distance, but the surfaces available to me are limited so…where am I going with this? Okay, I’ll stop). What I’m trying to say is, thank you. THANK YOU. I don’t know what I did to deserve having such ethereally (I’m really stuck for words here) magnificent people like you reach out and send me these great swathes of writing or little sweet tidbits of comments out of the pure goodness of their heart. I mean, it’s not like you have to do this. You chose to write all this out, these wonderful, wonderful pieces of advice that lifted my spirits and made me feel better and less shitty and see life a bit better. Frankly, you’re a much better, more effective and inspiring writer than I am, and I thank you for that, for…oh, I can’t even express my gratitude. I really can’t. Thank you. Thank you. I would say God Bless, but I’m not religious. I just sincerely hope that you touch the breast of happiness, and grow fat on the milk of joy. Ugh. That sounded better in my head. Sorry. You are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. All my readers. The joy and comfort this blog has brought me. *sniffle*

  2. Oh my goodness I’m crying so much!!! I’ll come back again and re-visit this after a good night’s sleep but I just had to leave a quick comment for now. I feel so much from reading this. It’s like we’re twins or something I swear!!! Please keep writing and posting as much as your able. And when I say I’m crying it’s not because you made me sad, it’s because you’re so unbelievably similar to me and it’s like I’m reading my own thoughts from deep down within me on this blog. *Hugs* *Hugs* *Hugs* I wish I could just hug you and make everything better for you. Unfortunately, we’re both well aware of how it doesn’t usually work that way for people like us. Please remember that you’re not alone!!!!! In this post you called yourself a hypocrite, but hypocrisy is basically the norm nowadays, everyone on the planet is a hypocrite, at least your aware of it and you obviously aren’t proud of it. I’m a total hypocrite, probably more than you. No, definitely more than you. I said I was gonna go buy a book but never did. I feel so bad about that and commenting even though I didn’t do what I said I would but I have to comment something. I actually have very little money to buy a book, or even a pizza for that matter (and I love pizza), but I really want to get absorbed into something like reading. Maybe I could make a deal with my mom to get me a library card, there’s a library a relatively short bus ride away from my house. I feel like such a bad INFP, I haven’t even read books!!!! I keep trying to remind myself that I can grow and mature and develop myself, that’s the whole point of the Myers-Briggs stuff to me, so maybe we could both develop ourselves at the same time, and then somewhere down the road we won’t call ourselves hypocrites at all. Maybe that’s my inner dreamer talking, but oh well.
    I see so much potential in you. You really have no idea how far ahead of everything you are. Please try your best to have as much compassion for yourself as possible. Each and every day, do your utmost to love yourself a little more. Goodness knows the world we live in won’t do it for us. You have so much to offer the world, like the fact that you want to help people so much. I read in one post that you fantasize of helping people. Do you realize how rare this is nowadays? Some people fantasize of nothing but the complete opposite, we see the manifestation of such attitudes clearly before us on the news or through the grapevine all the time.
    You’re amazing, you really inspire me. I’m so tired and foggy-minded but I couldn’t go to sleep without saying something. I hope none of this came out the wrong way. I’ll check back when I can and I’ll give you another comment ❤ please take care and I love you Dreamerrambling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤

    • Your comment was so lovely I don’t even think I can react to it in a way that’ll do it justice. I love you too, as a human being and as a dreamer who can relate, and I hope you get a good night’s sleep and find joy today, tomorrow, and forever.

      • Hey again 🙂
        There’s no need for you to react in any particular way to any of my comments 🙂 I’m just glad to give any feedback I can, because you really have something going for you with your writing. I know I know, you’ve expressed that you’re not as happy with some of the things you write, but let me ask you this: Think of your favorite writers. Do you really think all of them, or even some of them, have been happy with all of their writing? Is every piece, every page, every paragraph that they’ve created worth showing the world?
        I don’t have the answer to that, but I feel like it’s something to think about. In my opinion, I feel like creativity can be like the waves in the ocean. Sometimes it’s calm and all that, other times there’s rolling waves, and sometimes there’s storms where there’s nothing but turbulence and chaos. If we were to go surfing every day for the next week, is it guaranteed how many waves we would catch on any given day?? I don’t personally think so.
        I feel like it’s similar with creativity. I haven’t written blog posts or stories or anything, (although I’ve been considering starting, which is something I’ll go deeper into another time) but I have written a lot of poetry and rhymes and stuff.
        There’s times when you have so much inspiration, you can just go verse after verse and feel like it’s your very own masterpiece (like stormy waters) and other times there’s zero, zip, nada (clear waters)
        The way I like to think about it now is to basically ride the waves whenever we feel them, if we’re feeling inspired one day, we can go wild and give it our all and hopefully end up with something that helps makes us feel that much more fulfilled. If not, as unfortunate as it is, we’re probably not gonna be as happy with what we try to produce. It doesn’t mean that your writing is beginning to lack in a general sense. You have amazing writing, you’re so articulate and mature, the things you talk about are so deep and thought-provoking. I can’t emphasize how ahead of your time you are. And I know it doesn’t feel like it, it probably never will, but it’s 100% true.
        And I don’t even feel like that’s the best analogy, because if we were to literally surf on a stormy day, it probably wouldn’t end up going our way 😛 I even considered deleting all of this after I typed it all out, but I decided to keep it because you have the courage to post your thoughts and what not, so why shouldn’t I?
        Keep doing the best you can, I’m so proud of you 🙂 sometimes I think of your posts in my daily life when I’m feeling down or something and it makes me want to try that much harder. It’s funny, I don’t even know your name or what you look like, but through the magic of the internet and writing, I can still feel inspired by your story. We might not ever meet, or know each others real names, but at least we can relate on here and that’s still something significant 🙂
        Anyways I better get to bed, I’m pretty tempted to check out your latest stuff, but I’m sure I’ll be up way longer than I should be if I do that. I have tomorrow, so I’ll be on here again, “such sweet sorrow” though it is to have to wait.

        So long for now 🙂

      • Just wanted to say I read it, and thank you. I feel terrible if I don’t reply, and I know how I feel when others don’t reply, even if I know they read it. Thank you. For caring. 🙂

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