wrestling

On WritingEarlier today I exchanged several messages with a friend of mine who is also a writer. My friend is in the process of beginning to take on freelance work. It’s exciting and scary, writing for money. Exciting because it’s an adventure. Scary because you now have a very tangible gauge for success. If no one is paying you to write, it feels very much like failure.

At one point, my friend apologized for a “selfish bit of sorrowful slobber”. (I’m not making up that quote. I love it. Look at the beautiful turn of phrase, even mid-rant!)

In response, I said two things:

1. Part of writing–a very big part if you ask me–is wrestling with and overcoming self doubt. It’s tough. Tougher than non-writers know. When you add an attempt to monetize your work the stress only increases. You feel like you’re getting a grade, not in terms of an A, B, C, D or F, but in terms of income.

If a writer’s stress is a dial, selling your work in any way is like cranking that dial up a few notches. You know, just for the hell of it. Sure, you may make some cash, but you’ll also feel the tension to a greater degree. I know. I’ve done it. It’s often scary. Like a lot of things in life, it can also be rewarding, but the fear comes first. The payoff always comes later.

2. I believe in the community of writers. That we should and even need to stick together. Hearing another writer struggle with the things I struggle with doesn’t bring me down. It makes me feel normal.

I’m not speaking for all writers. The one time I’ve picked a fight with another writer, it was over this very issue. That (published) writer disagreed. For me, though, supporting others is a part of the craft. An important part. It benefits me and them. I never feel brought down hearing about someone else’s journey. For that reason, I encourage all writers to have someone, at least one someone, they can talk to about their doubts, fears and struggles.

Ideally, that someone should also be a writer. Writers get other writers. Non-writers don’t always understand.

When you feel doubt, don’t freak out. It happens. It happens to every writer (who isn’t an arrogant asshole). Instead, find someone you can share your misgivings with, and then return the favor when they’re feeling less than confident. That’s what friends do for each other, and every writer needs a few writer buds.

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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.

4 Responses to wrestling

  1. Best wishes to your friend! That’s a huge leap, and a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree more about the “community of writers” being crucial as a form of support. Yes, I will cop to this post being about me. Before entering the blogging world, I was very alone in my writing and my wails. There was no one to turn to who would really understand. Being able to message you, AR, was a lifesaver and I will be forever in your debt. You got me out a hump and that is nothing to sneeze at. (It was quite the hump. LOL) Thank you for you time and your care. It was just what I needed.

    As for freelancing…well, we see what happens there, but, my fiction definitely prospered with your nurturing!

    Liked by 1 person

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