Sunday, October 4, 2009

Frustrated writers - You are not alone

A Little Whine

One day last week when I was home feeling miserable with a sinus infection, I received some information related to my writing. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad news by any means, just not as good as I would like to see.

Needless to say, I was disappointed and frustrated, and started to ask myself why. Why am I doing this thing called writing? Did I honsetly think I could be an author? Was I chasing a pipe dream?

Later in the week, it was as if other frustrated writers came out of the woodwork. I saw someone post something on Twitter, expressing her doubts with herself and her writing abilities. Then on my published authors loop another author shared her concerns with her writing career. Surprise! We were not alone.

Several writers on Twitter and even more on my loop chimed in and offered up their thoughts on how every writer, whether published or unpublished, experiences frustration with their current stage in their writing career. It is completely normal to question your abilities and whether the pain, rejection, and time is worth it.

I also have a small group of writers that I meet up with about once a month who have seen me through getting my first book published, the completion of my second manuscript and its subsequent publication and more. We support each other and I decided that I needed to vent a little so those lucky people received an email from me where I verbally spewed out my frustration in what I titled, A Little Whine.

In return, I received several emails from my friends. Mostly they smacked me upside my blonde head and said, "Get a grip."

They said a lot more but here are a few snippets.

To quote my friend Steve, "Denise, are you freak'en kidding me. You are a member of the starving artists club. I can only dream to aspire to be where you are right now."

I'll paraphrase my friend Judy here. "You write because you love writing. Now that you are published you have raised the bar. With that new goal, you have to have patience. Keep doing what YOU love and do it because you love it and it will come around."

Later on, my friend David chimes in. "Truthfully, Judy and Steve have pretty much said the truth and why you should take great pride in how far you've come so far. That said, everything you report - your frustrations. All true."

WAIT! It gets better. Then David offers a quote from Charles Bukowski on the topic of keeping on. Talk about hit the mark with a straight shot to the heart and head.

David ends his well aimed sermon with this. "We’ve seen you wrack up the words, pen great scenes, and do it so it looks easy (tho it isn’t). So, yes, be disappointed. But don’t be discouraged. End of sermon."

This I share with all you writers, published or unpublished, frustrated or content, because no matter what, at some point you will question and maybe even at more than one point, you will question what you are doing, whether you have the ability, and if it is all worth it.

I leave you with this quote from Charles Bukowski:

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."
— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)

PS - Thank you Judy, Steve, and David!


Emma Leigh October 4, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

How very true! At least I know in my frustration I am not alone. Well said, Denise.

Kristin Callender October 5, 2009 at 8:40 AM  

Great post and quotes Denise! Writing is a solitary activity, for the most part, and so it's very easy to become frustrated and question yourself. It's important to have a good support system. I am doing a series on my blog about the demons that can get in the way of reaching our goals. It has been like therapy for me to write about & battle each one.

BTW: Love your writing and can't wait for the next book and Jake to get the girl. He deserves it :)

Denise October 5, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

Hi Kristin and Emma! Thanks for stopping by.

Kristin - I remembered your great blog post about the 8 deadly sins of writing. I will be stopping by.
For those who want to as well, go here.

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