Creative Combat Arms: The Urge to Quit

Some people's writing utensils have to be forged in fire.

As many of my subscribers already know, I subscribe to David Farland’s Daily Kick.  Recently, his kicks have focused on inspiring words to aspiring writers.  His kicks have amounted to “eyes on the prize, aspiring writers, just don’t quit”.  I’d thought I’d add my own words of inspiration.

Quit.  It’s war out here in these trenches.  And that suck you’re tasting right now probably won’t change its flavor.

Who wants all the hassle, the heaps of rejection letters, a bunch of readers whining that you screwed the pooch on the plot and your twist ending was cliche?  If you wanna quit, go right ahead.  No one’s going to miss you.

This isn’t negative motivation… I really do want you to quit.  Last thing I need is your crap novel competing with my crap novel.  The less selection my target audience has, the more potential market share I stand to get, it’s plain business.

If you do quit, you’re not a real writer to begin with.  Because real writers can’t quit… you just can’t.  And sure, we’d like some encouraging words, some praise for our hard hitting yarns, some decent pay… but let’s face it, we’re writers.  We gotta go on strike for the pay in an environment where an actor shows up and gets paid four times what you make  to stumble through the stunning dialogue you wrote.

You want praise and encouragement, get a puppy.  The vast majority of the public has five fingers on every hand and I guarantee it they’d run out of living authors they could name without google before they’d run out of digits to count them on.

The only reason left to write is because you can’t stop writing.  It sucks writing, with rejection piling up like neglected refuse and self doubt telling you all the time how much you suck.  At the end of the day, you still put thought to paper and why?  Because life without writing sucks even more.

Instead of that sense of immediacy that’s grown way out of proportion in today’s digital age, you need to scale back your expectations.  Instead of envisioning yourself as the next Stephanie Meyer, you need to embrace the prospect of being like Edgar Allan Poe.

He was virtually hated in his lifetime.  No one liked his stuff.  His rejection letters drove him to drugs and alcohol, which makes two things readily apparent.  We all should be thankful that crack wasn’t around when Poe was alive trying to score in 19th century Baltimore.  And Poe was a real writer… unable to quit.

If you do quit, hey, it wasn’t meant for you.  Try photography or music or something.  You’ll find your niche.  For those of you who read this and said “Being like Poe isn’t so bad.  Outside of marrying his thirteen year old cousin and dying at 40 to causes unknown that range from alcoholism to rabies, he was kinda awesome,” keep in mind that no one will tell you an awesome writer until you’re well past dead and well past caring.

And for those who read this, shrugged, and kept on writing… there you go.  That’s a real writer.  See you in the trenches.

His final words were "Lord, help my poor soul". Enjoy your next rejection letter.


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