mind of a writer

Mind of a Writer

A friend and I were talking about this recently. We both agreed that we could sense some of the inner turmoil that’s often associated with creative types, especially writers. We wondered at what cultivates such inner chaos, and we completely skirted the issue of how we deal with it.

As I said to her, “Sometimes writing is the salve that eases the pain of that darkness, and sometimes it just pushes me further into it, forcing me to face it. Both are good, I suppose, but one is fun and the other sucks.” And that’s more or less the way of it.

I have more good days than bad, but on the rough days I feel like my own work is only undermining me. Each word I write seems to rise up off the page, a judgmental finger wagging in my direction as it condemns me for my inept efforts. And, as if that weren’t enough, those same words then start talking to one another–you know, like I’m not right fucking there. They talk about my quirks, but they use much meaner words. My failings. My fuck-ups. The ways in which I’m not the person I should be. It goes beyond writing. They cackle about my whole person, labeling me a freak and a loser in so many different ways that before long my fingers have lost the keyboard as I cradle my head in my hands, wondering about everything from my worth as a human being to the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

(Yes, I know. 42.)

Am I alone in that? I don’t think so. And while non-writers may find the above description terribly melodramatic, I suspect there are plenty of writers who nodded as they read. It happens. Maybe not to all of us, but to enough of us that it’s worth acknowledging.

I wish I had some sage advice for making those feelings go away. I don’t. I try my very best to write through them, succeeding most of the time. When I can’t, I walk away and try to shake it off. The feeling rarely lasts, maybe because I realized a long time ago that it’s only a feeling. It’s not the truth. I’m not the greatest writer of all time, but neither am I the worst. I can hold my own, and I’m proud of my work. Besides, I enjoy it. Even if it sucks (and some of it does), I have a good time. That counts for a lot in my book.

(Heh. My book. See what I did there?)

I guess what I would say to my fellow writers is this–don’t wallow in those feelings. Fight ’em if you can. Take a break from the work if you can’t. But do not cozy up next to them and pitch a tent. Those feelings are a rough spot on the trail, not the place you make camp.

Chin up, cupcake. It’s hard sometimes, this writing thing we do, but you’re up to it. Don’t lose heart, and don’t lose hope. Instead, keep on writing.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

One Response to mind of a writer

  1. P. C. Zick says:

    That’s it exactly, Dex. Don’t wallow-write. And when that fails, write again.


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