Please Kill Me,
I saw a tweet today that pissed me off. I’m aware that’s not exactly a *newsflash* moment—even Buddah could toil through Twitter for a minute or two and find something he’d despise—but this thing really got under my skin. For the record, I’m not going to do the widespread “calling out” or copy/paste. This person has got a high enough hill to climb as it is. However, for context, I’ll paraphrase…
“What’s the point of writing, if no one will even read what I write? I feel like there’s no point and I should just give up.”
*takes deep breath*
“Alright, I guess we’re doing this…”
First thing’s first: It’s okay if you’re feeling doubts about your writing career. As far as I can tell, that’s just something that doesn’t go away. In the same way that athletes fear broken bones, doctors fear infections, and pop-stars fear sober lifestyles, it’s just a part of the job and a certain risk that we take whenever we chase these types of things. It becomes necessary to get over that and persevere. It’s a hard lesson. It’s also one that must be learned if you hope to succeed to any degree.
My issue is, why Twitter, of all places, to have your meltdown? Are you looking for compliments? Are you looking for a personalized pep-talk (that NO ONE ELSE GETS)? Are you looking for some kind of special treatment or sympathy from the readers that you claim difficulty finding? The approach, the supposed problem, and the particular lack of awareness bother me to my core.
For anyone who frequents the nonsense that I spew on this site, you probably know that I view writing as a craft. Not a job. Not a chore. A craft. More importantly than any of that is the fact that it’s one of the few forms of employment where you often act as your own boss, CEO, star-employee, and office f*ck up. Like anything else, it has its ups and downs but the singular difference is that any amount of dissatisfaction can be sourced back to the writer in question.
I get it. Okay. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. However, no one’s holding a gun to your head and ordering you to pursue this endeavor (that comes after you’ve sold a few million copies or so). The fact that this is a craft means that it’s something you work at until the universe (or the audience… whatever) deems you worthy of attention and (for the unfortunate who seek it) the “Dolla’ Dolla’ bills, y’all.”
It’s pointless to pursue this thing if your only goal is to achieve attention, fame, or financial uplifting. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize that the true meaning behind any authors’ work (including your favorites) has less to do with income and attention (#NobodyReads) than it does with what you have to say and how you get it said. It’s about skill more than luck. It’s about work, effort, and timing more than bitching, moaning, and whining. Don’t complain about it. Write a blog post. Write a short story. GET BETTER OR GET OUT. (#LoveNotHate)
So, you’re in a bit of a rut. It’s understandable. But if you truly feel that your words have value and your message is substantial, it shouldn’t matter how many people are lined up, single-file, patiently waiting to lick your taint. This isn’t a popularity contest. We’re a collective of sociopaths hellbent on putting our ideas out into the universe. Should you concern yourself with anything beyond making that happen, perhaps this isn’t the career for you.
For the record, I’m not trying to be mean or anything like that. To be honest, I hate lecturing the shortsighted people—it just isn’t my style—and more often than not, it’s better to let the complainers hang themselves by the noose of discontent.
However, I felt like it was important to point this out (if only once). There are millions of us out there feeling that exact level of doubt and self-loathing and pushing forward anyway. Pushing ourselves. Pushing each other. Our fuel is from a place beyond societal understanding. Due to that, societies’ attention and/or opinion should do little in the face of our ambition.
If you don’t have that ambition, the worst thing that you could do is expose yourself to a horde of potential readers who will now see through your scheme. You don’t care about the message. You don’t care about them. You’re only concerned with yourself. I’m sorry to say but the world is not a cult awaiting a leader. It’s a group of haphazardly sorted individuals fervently seeking connection. Our job is to provide that connection. Not to fellate our own egos. (That also comes later.)
This journey isn’t for the weak of heart. It isn’t for the glory seekers. And it damn sure isn’t for the complainers. Either do the job or find another one.
If you don’t know, now you know.
*returns to pointless craft*
Until Next Time,
Also available on Google Books.