YOU ONLY GET A WARNING BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.
This is part 2 of my last rant blog, so there’s more swearing and another virulent point that I need to make.
You can read more after the cut, or as usual, you can hit me up on Twitter or through email for the tl;dr no swearing point.
If you wanna read on and aren’t offended by my sailor mouth, hit the jump.
You probably read my previous post about how goddamn hard it is to be a writer. (If not, you can read it here but be warned that I swear a lot in that one and might be offensive to some of the more delicate sensibilities.)
I’m not rescinding that statement in the least.
Writing alone, with the intent of getting published SUCKS. And yet it is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done in my life. It’s hard and it’s a discipline that one must face in the same way one would go about acquiring a black belt in martial arts or a master’s degree in university.
It has come to my attention that there are actually a LOT of people who really do require that lavender-scented, candy-coated, rose-coloured glasses kind of reassurance that I was talking about.
AND THAT’S PERFECTLY OKAY.
I get it. The whole reassurance thing. The need to feel that you’re not alone, and to know that there’s a million billion other people who are struggling with the same thing that you are, does help. It does. I get it.
I’m not trying to demonize or criminalize the whole reassurance thing. I’m more than happy to help build up a community of writers in varying stages of the process. I WANT TO BE A PART OF THAT BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE OTHERS SUCCEED IN THEIR GOALS AS MUCH AS I WANT TO SUCCEED IN MINE.
What I am sincerely against is the protective coddling that goes on within the writing community.
Reassurances and beautiful wordy purple prose is great. If that’s what you need to write the next 300 words, or finish that chapter, or to just keep you essentially motivated, then HAVE AT IT.
I won’t be partaking.
And I probably won’t be dishing out any semi-sage advice.
I’ll tell you that yes, it’s fucking hard to be a writer. It doesn’t get any easier to put yourself out there and to share the things that come from your imagination. Stage fright is a very real thing. You’re insecure, and that doesn’t entirely go away with every draft that you send out. YOU ARE MAKING A PRODUCT FOR OTHER PEOPLE, NOT JUST FOR YOURSELF. (Although, I still write whatever I want to write and to hell with what everyone else wants, it’s probably why I’m not published, but MY DAY WILL COME.) Like an actor in a movie, this isn’t about you. Not entirely. There’s still editors, agents, publishers and a million potential readers who you must rely on to make your book a reality.
When you think about that, it’s enough to make you wanna pee your pants and hide under the blankets in sheer terror.
So I can see where the need for gentle encouragement comes in to play.
AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH NEEDING THIS ENCOURAGEMENT.
“But Kai,” I hear you say, “in your last blog you said that this kind of encouragement was candy-coated bullshit!”
Well, yeah. It kind of is. But that doesn’t mean that is isn’t a legitimate kind of encouragement that people need. And if you’re one of the people who sometimes needs a gentle nudge of encouragement because, yes, being a writer and trying to write for a living sucks and is hard, then by all means, PARTAKE OF THIS ENCOURAGEMENT AND GET BACK TO FUCKING WRITING.
Just don’t forget that writing is hard. Writing is always going to be hard. It is lonely and demanding of your delicious brainmeats and a lot of the time you will hate your words and hate your story and hate yourself. Writing is hard. I can’t stress that enough.
The editing and querying process is harder than the writing process! You have to chop up your beloved manuscripts and a lot of the time it leaves you feeling like an empty shell, or like Gollum after his Precious gets tossed into the fires of Mount Doom and you just wanna dive in after it screaming about how you’re sorry and you didn’t mean it and you’re just happy to have your Precious back!
It really sucks and it’s really hard to face the truth that your first draft (or second, or third, or so on and so on) might need some readjustments. You’ll need to edit that manuscript, probably multiple times.
AND IT SUCKS.
But keep trucking. Seriously.
If you need to go and be reminded that you’re not alone and that your soul will feel better for telling your story (or whatever the flavour of reassurance of the day is) then please, go and do that. Remind yourself of it.
Just remember that you can’t take everything anyone says as the 100% gospel truth.
What works for one person isn’t gonna work for the next.
Just because I mainline caffeine and forget to eat and then pump out half a manuscript in a weekend doesn’t mean that it’s a) any good or b) a good idea in the least or c) going to work for you.
Honestly, if you agree with what I say, AWESOME. I’m honoured. BUT I’M NOT GOING TO BE UPSET IF YOU CHOOSE TO DISMISS ME AS A CRAZY PERSON WHO DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT.
The one last point that I want to make is this: that lavender-scented bullshit I’m talking about? That gentle reassurance? Is it protecting you from facing the truth? Is it holding you back from growing as a writer? Is it holding your hand and whispering to you that you’re a special snowflake who is suffering from writer’s block? Is it giving you a protective, hermetically sealed, climate controlled bubble? Because, that is what I am really opposed to, when you get down to it.
There are hard, ugly truths that need to be faced in the world of writing, and coddling yourself and ignoring the challenges that come with trying to break into the world of professional storytelling is going to hinder you more than it’s going to help you.
So yes. Please, do whatever you need to keep yourself motivated to write. If that includes that special motivational twitter feed or whatever, so long as it works for you, I say go for it. Just remember that when those rose-coloured glasses come off and you discover that it’s a LOT harder to be a writer than you thought, I’m here to gently kick you in the ass and tell you to get back to it.