Writers. Who’d be a Writer?

So after all your hard work. After all the time invested in the writing, the re-writing, the self-editing; maybe the paying for an editor, The Book Cover ‘thing’. You’ve found it’s even harder to publicise the book than write it. You’ve done it all and what?

You are too intimidated to do anything else with it.

The book doesn’t register double figures in sales.

The book does well, only you can’t figure out how to write another.

The book does well but after all that effort…you can’t be bothered to write another one, and you cannot figure out why.

The book does well, the reviews are fine, until you get the ‘nasty’ one. And you naturally pay more attention to that one.

Who’d be a writer eh?

Suddenly all the drive has gone. All the perverse energy you got from writing under the Flag emblazoned with the motto ‘So What? I’ll write it ‘cas I want to!’ seems so far away now. Your flag lies forlorn in a puddle.

Who’d be a writer eh?

You swear the next cheerful pep-talk post(er) you come across is going to get real piece of your mind.

From now on, every time you see a post with a list if helpful hints, you are gonna ‘unfollow’ that blogger, faster than someone who blogs with political opinions you don’t agree with.

And you do not. No, you certainly do not, like ever again read about someone else’s book being published.

And then you think

‘Oh dear (or whatever else fits). How did I get here? What is going on?’

Yeh. Who in their right mind, looking for an easy uncomplicated life would be a writer?

(While we’re about it. Easy uncomplicated Life? Is there such a creature?)

Yeh, I ‘get it’ brothers and sisters.

Y’see the problem is, Writing comes with a price. All of the above. The effort, the energy spent, the ups, the downs, the desolations, the disappointments, the worry, the emptinesses. All the sly subtle draining. The folk who are seemingly successful, worrying about where the next book comes from, or what the public will think of it. We shouldn’t forget them either. If you are going to take up the pen, or tap out the keyboard, be ready with an allegorical pocket or two full of allegorical coins.

Yeh, I ‘get it’ fellow writers. You are feelings are nothing to be ashamed of, nor frightened of. This path is a rocky one. Even us Crazy ‘What-The -Hell’ ragged-style aficionados have tripped up over our own wild feet and fallen into a patch of Reality. Some of us have even wondered if it’s our weird nature or just us in Denial about our lack of talents which keeps us bouncing along with folk scratching or shaking their heads as we pass on by. Us on our faux-Captain Beefhart,/ ‘Pretend I’m a Frank Zappa of Writing’ trips.

I can do nothing for your pain, because it is yours and I would not pretend to have some long-distance answer, that would be insulting to you. Your despondency is a familiar feeling and easy to trace, origin so common in the writing world. I wish it were within my remit to incant something to take away as your fears and your woe.

Within my remit though is to understand the feelings, not to denigrate them or insult them with a Happy Mary Poppins approach. The dust, the dirt, the chill winds of doubt, I understand, borne witness to them, experienced them on my tongue, breathed them in and they settled on my heart.

The thing is.

You will shuffle, you will ease up your weary bones, feel about for your allegorical pen, hitch up your pack of ideas onto your back and belt, you will stare out across the battered landscape and move out. There does not have to be a squaring of the shoulders, nor some end of John Wayne War movie tough, determined quote (cue music & credits), nor my favoured style of ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ rendition out of full Metal Jacket. You will move on, because The Writing Calls, exactly why, for you will be personal. You will. Just because.

‘Not me! I’ve had enough! I’m tired through. Scared, scarred and scattered. Done all I could. It’s got me beat,’

To you I say. It didn’t beat you. You did as much as you could and found this was not for you. Well, who doesn’t do that? How do you know, if you don’t try? Don’t sell yourself down. You tried. End of chapter. Now go and do something else. It is for you to choose. No disgrace. You were there, you took a stand. Now move onto another place.

We are Human. We have weaknesses. We have strengths. We have pain. We have Humanity.

We are.

And you may write once more. Or never write again, turn your back on the whole thing.

In neither act is there is futility.

There is however in both Life.

Light your torch with it.

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30 thoughts on “Writers. Who’d be a Writer?

    1. Thank you Lisa.
      Blogs and social media rants (unless they are Hate-rants against race, religion, sexuality, gender, social grouping etc) are fine. They are creative.
      And don’t forget your own spelling-binding poetry. Do not leave those works out either!
      Keep on keeping on 🌺 🌸 🌼 🌻

      Like

    1. Oh I am on the side of anyone who has Writer’s Miseries & Woes. Let us all indeed share our troubles….
      Considering the number of ‘carefree’ posts on the ‘joys’ of writing lurking about my blog Reality and Hubris were bound to come thumping on my door one day and rattle me about the place and yell ‘Will you stop doing that! It is very annoying! You are not fooling anyone pretending you are having fun all the time!! Now shape up!’
      My characters weren’t speaking to me either, which is always a bad sign; they usually nag me something chronic.
      Thanks again for the reblog.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nicely said, and I think many a writer will recognize at least parts of this in themselves.
    I think that part of writing is to … well … write. Anything. Sometimes another book. Sometimes an article. Sometimes ‘just’ blogs (not at all a ‘just’ in my view–I’ve read some stunning blog posts over the years), sometimes poetry, or responses to prompts, or a non-fiction piece or … Anything, really.
    At least that’s true for me.
    Three novels and one (award-winning) professional non-fiction later (not in that order, necessarily), and I am writing because I want to write. The books sell, sometimes very slowly, sometimes less slowly, and those who read them like them (so far, so good). I’m happy enough knowing that. Truth is, I’m not great with the marketing bit, so I don’t ‘push’ my books much. People come across them. Have them recommended by others. Find them on my blog. But I don’t do a lot of direct marketing. Perhaps because it can feel a bit odd to promote one’s own work, but in larger part because marketing isn’t where my energy is. Oh, I am interested in people reading my books, of course, but not all that interested in spending what time I have for writing (that with a clinical practice and all that jazz) on marketing when I can … well … use it to write. It is a finite thing, energy.
    People ask me: When is your next book coming out? Are you working on a sequel to “Outlawed Hope”? To “Emilia”? To “Apples in Applath”? Are you going to write another professional title? Will you be writing for younger audiences next? I am glad they ask. It used to feel a bit like pressure, but in recent years it just feels nice. Because it means they read my stuff and felt like they wanted more. It doesn’t change what goes on in my little brain with ideas and plots and characters and places popping in and out and remaining ethereal or being written up … It doesn’t change whether things will be written in the order others think or expect or hope for. Because, I guess, to me writing just is. It is less something I do TO a story, and more something that happens WITH me. Whatever that means, it is fortunately, for me at this time, good enough as it is.
    May writing flow as we each need it to,
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Na’ama
      Thank you for your kind comments.
      My writing has been on and off for forty years and it is only in the last ten it became a serious regular topic and in the last five something which means more than an ego trip or an attempt to make money (Oh, how many of us start off tracking the mirage!)
      Writing for me is an urge. The Where and The Why probably have more than a few starting points and a myriad of other motivational bits and pieces picked up upon the same.
      I’ve self-published three kindle books on Amazon. Two are humour driven satires in which early British History is mangled (up until Henry VII) and one another attempt at my Fantasy series, which will never let me be. Not much is happening with them, but that would be down to me, maybe self-editing is a not good policy, maybe investing more time in Book Covers would be wise. They are out there though, which is pleasing.
      I took the liberty of checking your name on Amazon and was impressed by your accomplishments, your fictional works are going on to my ‘list’……being a terribly irregular reader and having several books open at the same time does not make for steady progress but I will ‘get there’
      We would seem to share the tendency not to market and I applaud your comment ‘to me writing just is’. This sums everything up for. We write, because…..
      Thank you for stopping by and you have my very best wishes for your future writing. Just, keep on keeping on.
      Best wishes
      Roger

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Roger, mangled up history? Well, then, I have got to check this out! 🙂 I enjoy historical fiction (my books aren’t exactly set in this period, either, in a way, though they aren’t historical fiction per se), and I think I’d enjoy checking up some mangled versions of alternative history of sorts.
        Sometimes I think that in a perfect world (well, financially, at least) I’d write full time — I do love writing oh so much! Then I think of never doing clinical work again and I’m not so sure I’d want to give that up, either. I enjoy my clients, and I like the clinical interactions, and the richness these bring to my life. So, it remains a sort of a dream to write full time, and dreams are good for writing … so there’s a win-win there.
        Some stories set their very own pace. It is easier said than done to ‘just let them unfold’ but I think that, for me, at least, this is how it is. I’m very slowly working on two books now and neither one is flowing as I know sometimes they can. They are, in essence, becoming. And they’ll hibernate and fluctuate and do the elusive thing until they’re ready to become less etheric in my mind. So meanwhile, as I can, I blog (rather prolifically, sometimes… as light poetry goes, at least), and volunteer my writing/editing for professional newsletters and such, and breathe … And sometimes that’s just where it’s at … 😉

        I’d love to hear what you think of my books whenever you get to them — good thing about books is that they don’t expire … and so are there for whenever. One of my favorite things about books, this is!
        Best wishes to you, too, and I’ll be sure to let you know when I read yours!
        Na’ama

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Na’ama
        I started writing ‘A True History of These Isles’ (Vol I & Vol II…..as R J Llewellyn- kindle) as an antidote to my dismay at the Brexit result. They were inspired by a classic ‘1066 and All That’ by two British Writers of the early 20th Century Sellar & Yatemen and then given an American slant in the 1950s with a professor of English Richard Armour who wrote a series ‘It All Started With…’.
        The whole idea is to give a deliberately skewed interpretation, make wild assumptions and put modern slants on recorded history; satirising populism, bad historical fiction, ridiculous assumptions, romantic ideals of nationalism and modern fashionable trends. It was my intention to produce further volumes, but my ‘baby’ a fantasy series is taken precedence and time (even though I’m retired there are never enough hours in the days, still).
        Stories do take on a life of their own don’t they? I could never plan out a book. It is a good idea to approach the writing slowly; rushing something can lead to be very odd results, particularly when you read back in the Cold Light of Day and have those ‘What Was I Thinking Of’ interludes…My entire novel of Vol II of The Fantasy has just unravelled. Sometimes though it’s very interesting and vitalising when the characters take over; this happened in my Vol I. A romance seemed to spring from nowhere, but the two characters involved just ‘looked’ out of the manuscript at me as if to say ‘Have you been following the narrative, or what?’…..So I wrote as I was told.
        I’m very pleased for you to be in your perfect world, because I am sure you’ve reached there after a great deal of hard work and effort, these circumstances just don’t fall into the lap. These are your hard-earned rewards. By the sound of it, everything is still evolving and growing, which is good news. I do wish you well. Keep on with the writing, enrich the world.
        I have a few books to read, to get my head out of Fantasy, Comic Books and Military History and freshen my approach, so I will let you know!
        Best wishes
        Roger

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      3. Hi Roger, I don’t know that mine is a perfect world writing-wise, but I think I’ve come to a place where I (try to, on as many days as possible) to accept it as a “good enough” world. Perhaps what helps me the most is knowing that the only constant is change and the only predictable thing is unpredictability … So I try to project as little as I can of what I THINK should happen into what I hope could happen. Hard work is part of a good life, in my view, so yes, it is part of it, and it is ongoing, with all the ebb and flow that comes with how much (or little) time I have to write and what other realities take precedence at times, and all the other stuff that life make. And … yes … there aren’t nearly enough hours in the day! Isn’t that marvelous to not know the meaning of boredom? 🙂
        Na’ama

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      4. Yes, I was possibly bored back in July of 1984, other than that, no, always so many things to do.
        Writing is always there, drawing me on into another world. What happens there is never a certainty either; characters take on strong presence, not to be moved about at my will just to suit a plot either; there can be quite an element of negotiation. Sometimes I feel I am a director on a set with a cast who have very firm ideas about how the production should go; they seem to work together quite well, it’s the poor writer/director who has problems fitting in! We do, in general agree how things should work out, but how reaching the end of the journey is quite another matter!
        In this respect we have something in common, although in my writing world I do the hoping, and the characters say how it ‘Should’ be.
        And ‘Good enough’ is indeed a favourable place to be, because being in such a location can lead in a variety of directions.
        Thanks for letting me have insight in your writing world Na’ama.
        Best wishes
        Roger

        Liked by 1 person

    1. A tempting idea Sha’ Tara, but many writers will at certain episodes in their careers/vocations have the urge to pick up the book give out with a cry of …..’ArrrrrRRRRRGAGHHH!’ and while calling down all sorts of justifiable insults to my name jump up and down on the book, kick it across the room, bite chunks out of it, drive nails into it, call it the spawn of demonic forces and generally get very cross…..
      And naturally go PppBBBBBTT! at it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well at least you got their attention,hah! Here’s what I have thought about writing since, well, I started writing letter to the editor (how else did you express yourself before Yahoo groups, then Blogging?) I would write the letter, then ask myself, why are you really writing this? Are you honestly sharing a bit of acquired knowledge about, say, garbage on the streets, or stream bank protection, or are you aiming for notoriety? A lot of letters never got posted, my sense of ethics said, ‘no, wrong motives.’

    I write for some basic and simple reasons. One: I am saying something no one else has already said, and better, or I am fleshing out another’s idea. Two: I had a thought I thought was interesting and entertaining and I want to see it in writing – a lot of my short stories fall in that category. Three: I enjoy the concept of writing down ideas… well, enough of the time to actually do it. That’s about it for me.

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    1. And that works perfectly fine for me Sha’ Tara.
      As I see it, if a person doesn’t get the ideas out of their heads and down on paper/computer memory/whatever, they stay there and clog up. Whereas once they are out and for the world to see, there is an extra breath of life added. (This excludes the bottom-feeder who would spread hate or those who try to make themselves look clever by repeating someone else’s quotes)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do feel badly for him. He wants to write … it is in his soul … but he nearly went bankrupt publishing his last book. I’ve told him to talk to you, Don Massenzio and a few others with experience in publishing on a shoestring, but I think he’s just in the doldrums at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes I can fully understand how he feels Jill.
        Going into publishing your book as a commercial venture is a big undertaking with many risks. The market is very ‘busy’.
        1.Folk like me that publish for free through e-books, and you never know when one of those might take off.
        2.The big boys and girls of publishing have the big bucks to spread their word.
        3. There are a large number of talented ‘indie’ folk making their work public through so many outlets.
        It is a very, very competitive market, and I feel so sorry for John.
        This is why I inhabit the ‘free wheeling’ area, just writing….’because’ and once ‘written’ mission accomplished. This is not a recipe for success and does not make for great sales or high profile. Some folk, understandably find my throwaway approach incomprehensible, if not downright annoying….which is fair enough.
        Don is definitely the guy for John to go in this case.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Just reading your comment here, I am reminded that we all define ‘success’ differently. Not having written for publication, my opinion doesn’t really count, but you know me … I’ll offer it anyway. I think that those who write, paint, create music or whatever, must first do it for themselves. If a certain level of viewership/readership and the money it brings are what one defines as success, then … aren’t you inviting failure? And yet, if you took pleasure from the process, if you feel that it is a work well done, isn’t that more important than critical acclaim and money? Again … what do I know … but I think that if I ever write a book, it will have to satisfy me first, and then I hope people would read it, like it, and that I would make a bit, but … James Patterson or Vince Flynn I ain’t, and at least I’m smart enough to know this! Yes, I’m going to drop John a short email before I go to bed and remind him to contact Don. Thanks, Roger!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The problem lies with us Humans Jill. We are a diverse and troubled/troublesome bunch and writing is another place where that becomes obvious.
        Unless someone is a hack who works on the basis ‘this’ll bring the rubes in’ then there are so many reasons and then from the reason sprout off approaches. If anyone tried to do a detailed categorisation of writers cross-referenced with motivations and approaches their head would eventually spin around and explode.
        It’s safest to say ‘Folk Write Because They Do’ and leave it at that.
        (I see from his latest post Don is taking some time out by the way….)
        Hope you had a good sleep and my best wishes to John

        Liked by 1 person

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