I, and other writers I know, are having a crisis of faith these days. We’re questioning why we continue to write in the face of immense competition and the impossible-to-meet demands of a vulturous social media-based world. And it seems that if you’re not part of some canonized clique of writers, you’re marginalized.
This is something that is happening across the board in all genres and styles of writing, not just lesfic. But what can we do about it?
The short answer is…nothing. Nothing beyond what we are already doing, that is. Sometimes I vow to stop. I tell myself that there’s no point in continuing because no one’s paying attention (and I mean that in both my fiction and nonfiction writing).
Throughout my life, I’ve wanted different things. Career-wise, I’ve looked at different roads, even started down a few. But one thing that never, ever left me was my desire to write. It began when I was a child and stuck with me as I grew and went through the ups and downs of life. To me, writing is like breathing. It’s natural and necessary, even if at times I feel like ripping my hair out and throwing my computer across the room.
So, given all of this, how can I even consider quitting? Those thoughts come out of frustration, anger, bitterness, resentment, envy, insecurity, and feelings of inferiority. Nasty little fuckers who live inside so many of us. When it comes down to it, I can’t stop writing. If I did, I would probably find something else to occupy my time and fulfill my creative needs, but something would always be missing. Something would always be wrong.
I’ve decided—I won’t stop writing. I will continue because I have to, to save my soul from rotting. Readers may not buy my stuff, reviewers may ignore it, publishers may torture me in one way or another, I may never win any awards or contests, but my writing is an expression of me and a salve for my bruised soul.
Hopefully, other writers in this kind of crisis will realize that as well.
I love my writers’ group because we not only get to improve our work in a safe environment, we get the encouragement we need to continue writing. After I wrote this blog, my group met for a meeting. On the way to the train station, I was talking with one of my fellow Penheads, Marie, about this very subject, and I expressed how I’d been feeling, that I’d never really make it as a writer. She replied with this:
The only way it’s not going to happen is if you stop.
I couldn’t really argue with her. Thanks, Marie.