Writing is a solitary sport. No teams, no fans waving foam fingers, no waves, or hurrahs. No sexy cheerleaders fawn over you, and no one pours Gatorade over your head if you win. If you’re lucky, you as an author like what you produce, and people will agree and buy your book. Again, if you’re lucky, 1 in 100 will leave a review, good or bad. Few writers earn a living. Some, like me, earn enough to make it worth the time and effort. I would write even if I made no money. I did it for years. You have to love writing to write.
I meet people all the time who want to give me ideas (Think really bad Scy Fy channel movies) or say they’ve always wanted to write. It’s difficult not to laugh in their faces. It’s like saying I’ve always wanted to be a basketball player, but I can’t shoot and I’m, 5’2″. If you want to write, you will find a way. I know writers with family, jobs, and kids who write when they find the time, but they still write. It takes willpower.
I know writers who suffer from depression. I image it has to be rough. I’ve never been clinically depressed, just bummed out, but they suffer through the hard times and grasp tightly to the good ones. If they can continue to write, how can I complain. How can anyone? Writing isn’t a hobby for most; it’s a way of life.
There are always pitfalls. Life gets in the way. It’s difficult to keep a good mood in a story when life falls apart around you. I’m lucky. My life is good. Well, less luck than planning, but luck helps. Family and friends die, pets die, illnesses pop up, bills come due – This is life and it can bring you down. I write horror, future apocalyptic Young Adult sci-fi, and dark military sci-fi. I can use bad moods or a flaming funk to power my words to push the story forward. It helps burn out the rage.
I’ve never had writer’s block. There maybe were times I should have, but I kept writing anyway. I tossed a lot of it, but I wrote. It’s therapy. The art of writing – grammar, story arc, character building, world building – can be a pitfall. I study writing books constantly and review my writing to make sure I avoid cliches and tired verbs and adverbs. Story arc and building is done with Pick-Up Sticks. (Anyone remember those). They sway and tumble, scatter and clutter, but with practice and perseverance you can pick them up and reassemble them in the proper order.
Most Pitfalls can’t be avoided, other than people who tell you to stop writing. Them you have to kill. (Well, ignore anyway) The challenge is to turn a bottomless pit into a shallow depression, climb out, and keep writing.
This philosophy also works for non-writers, I think. No guarantees. I just know when life hands you limes, you throw those suckers at people you don’t like as hard as you can. Then you laugh like a fool, pick them up, and make margaritas for everyone.
Keep writing. Keep reading.http://www.jamesgurley.com