It’s no big surprise to most people that writers and artist tend to be a bit eccentric in nature. Throughout history – some of the most beloved and studied writers have committed suicide, drank/drugged themselves to death or died of old age penniless and never really knowing the impact they left on the world.
I’ve always maintained that being a writer isn’t something that you just do – people write all the time, it doesn’t make them writers – not really. It’s something that you either are or you aren’t. People can write all they want but honestly – there is something different in the heads of those of us who know that this is our calling. It is NOT an easy calling either.
We all get used to being told no, that is one major thing. I have rejection letters in piles all over. I keep them around because they motivate me to keep going in a way. Honestly though – that is the one thing that usually separates the men from the boys (Or women from the girls so to speak).
Aside from the constant rejection and the things we put ourselves through in order to just get the words on the page – there’s the special kind of neurosis and pain that comes from reading ones own work. Everyone tells me “This is awesome – you should be doing this all the time – this is better than things I’ve paid to read.” etc…I have no idea what to say to those compliments honestly. Especially when I look at my desk and see all the rejection letters from people who COULD be paying me but have elected not to.
When I examine my own work, the thought process in my head usually goes something like this. “Oh GOD! What the hell was I thinking writing that – WORDS…..WORDS!!! Oh God! ALL THE WORDS SAYING ALL THE THINGS…GET IT AWAY FROM ME!!! Wait…that’s not so bad…but the things after it…FUUUUUUUUUU! Please read my stuff…Love me…Wow, I really am a little bit messed up…Why did I just combine those two words to make that insult? Can I copyright that? Will someone pay me to say that? OH DEAR GOD, I actually wrote that down – that’s it. I’m gonna crawl into a hole.” It’s worse when I’m watching someone read it. That process usually goes like this *The sounds of someone just screaming repetitively and saying things like “Please, don’t hate me.”*
It’s a hard thing to do – writing the truth (because that is almost always not very pretty) – being open and vulnerable and at the same time acting like it doesn’t matter that you ARE open and vulnerable. It has to appear not to hurt you no matter how insulting the review is in the end. It’s this very oddly masochistic process…AND people are mean.
I’ve been really upset with myself this last month because I’ve just felt so creatively dead and really not ok.
How do you guys get the juices flowing so to speak when it feels like nothing wants to come out?