I must confess, there are those times when as a writer I wish I was a waiter. After writing many novels, working as a travel columnist and the continuous energy I put in to creating new concepts and characters, I feel a bit drained from time to time. Today is one of those days. So how do I deal with it…I write about it, a case study on crackpot contradiction don’t you think? What I am doing of course is having a conversation with myself about how I feel and what I see as my vision of the world. I could have gone to a movie, set to drinking myself numb in a bar, or any number of other frivolous escapades, but I choose to write about the anxiety of writing when writing seems to be at the very center of my anxiety. Writing is life. I relate writing to the actions of an unsleeping shark forced to swim continuously against the current because flowing water is the only thing that keeps it alive.
But today I feel as if I’m dead from the neck up. I spent the entire day writing another reality television show pitch, another in a line of many attempts to gain access into the film and television industry, entirely unsuccessful up to this point. This confliction hasn’t stopped me from writing and submitting treatments for various production companies. It’s an aspect of my writing career that I have yet to master. My motivation is this… after some of the crap I see making it onto the small screen, I have to think I have to break through at some point. At my worst I’m less than half as crappy as many of the current television offerings.
Writing screenplays and pitches is stressful, rejection is almost guaranteed and immediate compared to the months a budding author will have to wait for a form letter rejection from an agent or publisher regarding their novel submission. That time in waiting serves to numb the pain of rejection but the pain stays around and lingers. Television producers get back to you right away. At least the rejection is quick and immediate, like a mugging. Why do writers continue to write when the chance of success is literally one in millions? That’s a question I can’t answer… for me, I am a writer, it’s what I do. I have no rationale explanations that would serve to stop my need to express myself in this way.
Happy or sad, I write, even when it is only for myself, such as now. In reality I am a relative newbie having only become a professional writer in the past ten years. Even after writing and publishing six novels and working as a magazine columnist for less than a year, I am learning my craft in baby steps. I hope I am as hungry to discover the art of creation and tred this unsatisfying path after I have penned my tenth novel.
I have read many ‘How to Write’ books, the internet is full of pages of ‘How to be a writer’. Some people blog about how to be a writer, never having written a single page they are willing to share with the world. In my humble opinion, to write is to live. It is not a question of location, stimulating snacks or community support groups as some suggest. From my point of view writing has to be honest and passionate, there has to be at least some blood on the page that has spilled over from the battle that rages within the author. Writers block only happens to people who have nothing to say in the first place.
For any aspiring writer who reads this I say to you, “Enjoy the agony”, it is what will sustain you through the times when you feel as if you’re dead….from the neck up.