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.
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.