Lochness Monster, Writing Confidence, and Other Things That Don’t Exist

So, I follow a writer who apparently is doing so well with her writing that she can afford a second home in Scotland. All these books published. So much experience. And yet, not a week goes by, it seems, where she doesn’t complain about how hard it is to write a book.

Some people look up to her and think: Oh wow. Insecurity NEVER GOES AWAY! How effing refreshing that a successful writer still feels awful about her writing. That makes me feel so the total opposite of alone! Yay!

Me? I look at her and think: Really? You’re still having problems? Why do I even bother then?

Not to throw shade or whatever, but I find that really heartbreaking and annoying. I don’t want to look at a successful writer and see them flailing around on the regular. It’s horrifying.

I mentioned this meme I found on a Facebook group last year of a conversation between Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, and I said I wanted to be like Stephen King. Of course, I mean, the chill 70+ year old Stephen King who doesn’t worry about his writing and just does whatever. When he was my age, he was a super crazy writer and quite famously trashed Carrie some years before – a book that was rescued from the bin by his wife and later turned in a good but crazy movie starring the incomparable Sissy Spacek. I’ve also seen Stephen King himself say that he’s publicly quit writing too many times to count, only to come out with another book a year later, because once he took the pressure off himself, he could finally write again. This is the same guy who is a household name, legend, icon, whatever. Same guy flailing around at twenty, thirty, and forty-something with Carrie and Pet Cemetery, and The Green Mile under his belt!

In my mind, I believe there’s this happy field I can get to where I don’t beat myself up about my writing, flail around with every story, don’t take long breaks because I’m being neurotic as hell. Maybe that other writer will get there when she’s 70…like 40 years from now. I don’t know how old she is. Maybe I’ll be there when I’m 70. It’s just super frustrating to see a successful writer flailing so often. It makes me feel like there’s no hope for anything, and the only way I’m ever going to be at peace is to become an old lady. I want peace now, dammit!

In some way, I see where other people are coming from when they’re happy to see successful writers flailing around as often today as the day they started writing. It’s like, they’re crazy and neurotic and anxious and still manage to write and spin out incredible stories anyway.

So, in that way, it’s encouraging to know that I can stay crazy and still write a great book. I guess I just don’t want to be crazy anymore. It’s exhausting. The other day I was journaling about how overwhelmed I was with how many YouTube videos I watch, and it’s amazing how something so asinine would have me so upset. It’s like, so stop watching videos, dummy! Gah. And I did get them under control. I unsubscribed from a few people. Watched a few videos on 2x speed. Gave up on a couple others.

But it’s like. It wasn’t just the YouTube videos. There were writing articles I wanted to read, and webinars to watch, and podcasts to listen to, and social feeds to scroll through, and dishes to wash, and sleep to get, and poems to read, and books to read, and a story to write, and mail I needed to go through, and journaling to do so I can get all the little annoying stray thoughts out of my head, and I still need to change my shower filter, so of course I feel like a nut case! All those little things pile up on each other until I want to BURN THEM ALLLLL!

The quote on my quote calendar this month is: I consider chaos a gift. (Septima Clark) Ha.

I think I was overdue to have a meltdown on the blog.

12 Responses to Lochness Monster, Writing Confidence, and Other Things That Don’t Exist

  1. The thing that annoys me about writers complaining all the time on social media about how hard writing is, is the lack of perspective. Really? Of all the jobs you could be doing in this world?? Writing is hard??? Don’t get me wrong, there are days this writing gig sucks. But in the grand scheme of things, if I have a bad day writing, no one dies. I’m not a pediatric oncologist watching a tiny kid die of cancer because I can’t save them. I’m not a police officer attending a highway pile up where 3 generations of a family have just lost their lives. I’m not a fireman running into a burning building when everyone else is running out. I’m writing words on a page!

    Sorry I got ranty there. I’ve been reading A LOT of ‘writing is hard’ posts lately and it gets my goat.

    • Rant away! πŸ˜€ One of my favorite writing quotes goes something like, “The beauty of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike say, a brain surgeon.” ^_^

      Like, I have my moments when I’m ready to pull my hair out, and I’m prone to a rant now and then, like today, but I’m almost offended when I see people flailing around on social media like that. I want to be understanding, and I do understand, but sheesh. I really don’t think misery and writer are one in the same, you know. Like, it’s okay to be happy on social media about writing, and not just when you have a book coming out.

  2. I think some people like to whine on social media (and probably in real life). But honestly, writing stress for most of us is in the head. As Sandie said, no one is going to die or go financially broke (because writing isn’t a money bringer for most) or life isn’t going to cease to exist. I guess there are those who write like fiends for money to survive, but many of us have other jobs for that. We got into writing for the joy of it (I’m assuming πŸ™‚ ). Don’t let that joy go because why are we writing then?

    • Maybe. It’s certainly harder to write when you don’t remember what you loved about it anymore. If I see someone doing well, it reminds me of why I love writing. When people are miserable all the time, then I have a tendency to be more negative, as well.

  3. I follow a lot of romance authors on Twitter–some rant on Twitter, some don’t. I have a pretty messy writing process, but I’ve tried to limit the amount of time I rant or rave or complain about writing publicly–like, there’s a point where it feels like commiseration and ‘yay, Courtney Milan has trouble with her characters, too’ and times where I’m like, “I don’t CARE about your writing problems.” And I’m not sure the vast majority of readers care about your writing problems. They want to read a finished product.

    • Maybe I’m just seeing an imbalance of commiseration and happy dances lately. I love seeing people excited about their work, because that makes me excited about it, too. And I love the occasional meme of a writer banging their head against the wall, but if that’s 90% of the time, it’s just like excessive or something. There’s such a thing as being too miserable.

  4. I’m one of the people who feel relieved that successful writers aren’t relaxed. It might be some kind of misery loves company syndrome. I don’t know…writing is hard work, and sometimes it can be easy to feel discouraged and give up (look at the stats of how many people set out to write a book vs. how many of them actually finish), and knowing that even successful writers are going through the same struggles as I am makes me feel less insane. Like, if someone at their skill level struggles the way I do, then maybe I’m better off than I think. It’s similar to finding out your favorite hot celebrity actually wakes up looking like hell in the mornings. It’s nice to mentally bring people down from their pedestals once in awhile and remind ourselves that talent can only go so far, it’s the work/time/commitment/effort that matters the most.

    Though, I have to say, I 100% agree with the above commenters. We need to remind ourselves that writing is not our livelihood; it is our CHOICE. If we’re not getting any joy out of it that choice, we need to realign our perspectives.

    • It’s nice to know other people feel insane sometimes, too. πŸ™‚ I also like to see people thriving, though. I don’t want to never complain about writing, or never see complaints about it, because that isn’t true to life, but it’s depressing when people complain all the time. I’m only getting a snapshot of their life, and if they complain that much in public, it makes me feel like they’re quite the miserable cow at home. Writing feels like my entire life sometimes, and I think that’s a large part of my problem. If my writing isn’t going well, I’m a miserable cow over here myself. So, if someone successful happens to be also miserable, it makes me feel worse for some reason. I want them to be happy so I know it doesn’t last. But it sounds a little selfish when I say it like that.

  5. Oh, I feel like that sometimes, and it seems like I’ve just put way too much pressure on myself in the last three years, even with health issues. I’m learning how to say no to things that don’t fit – even if they are “good” things like helpful articles and things I “should” do to become a better writer, better marketer, etc. One of my goals this year is to say yes to just small things that matter to me and love myself and my family, without putting “shoulds” on my calendar.

    I would rather be like Stephen King, too.

    • That’s exactly how I feel! I feel like there are all these things I “should” be doing, and I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to keep up with all the writing articles and such and all these other things, and your comment reminds me of this webinar I attended on productivity about a year ago. She said that there were very few things that we actually truly had to do. Rest is more important than reading all those articles.

  6. On one hand, it makes me feel better to see other writers having troubles too. It’s good to know we’re not alone. Yet I also want to think that maybe one day it just gets less stressful. (Yet as Tonja said, most of our stresses are in our own heads!) I want to be that chill 70+ Stephen King too.

Hi! ^_^