ode to exhaustion

On WritingThere are a lot of things that have made me a better writer over the past few years. Certainly, writing regularly has been huge. Reading a lot helps, too. Also, I doubt very seriously I could overstate the importance of thinking of myself as a writer. That’s a mental game you have to win. You’ll never be a writer until you see yourself as one.

But there’s one significant contributing factor that’s equal parts unexpected and undeniable. I got tired of the bullshit.

I’m not talking about other people’s bullshit, either. I’m talking about my own. I got tired of being scared of putting myself out there. I grew exhausted with the self-doubt that prompted me to edit the riskiest, raciest elements right out of my stories.

Over time, my strategies to play it safe left me feeling restless and annoyed. I couldn’t delight in a story, even a well written one, when I knew there were details that should have been included that would have made the narrative weirder, yes, and might have turned some readers off, sure, but would have almost certainly made it better.

Or at the very least, truer.

That fatigue lead me to an epic epiphany. My give-a-fuck meter hit zero. I started writing things as I saw them playing out in my head. Some genuinely strange shit poured forth, but to my shock and delight it wasn’t half bad. Sometimes it was even good. I started cultivating not caring, of all things, and I can tell you I honestly believe my writing benefited from it.

No, you cannot apply the strategy wholesale to life. You should give a fuck about some things. But when it comes to your fiction, you absolutely shouldn’t let fear hold you back. The sooner you get tired of that restraint, the better your writing will be.


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 ode to exhaustion

  1. I LOVE this post! (And I hate that sniping, scaredy cat internal editor, too.) Your writing is wonderful. It’s what keeps me peaking in here to see what you are up to! And yes, I’ve seen your writing get so much better – maturing, is how I like to think of it, when I have the good fortune to see another writer grow the way you have.

    Like you, the novel I’m working on has had me letting loose and writing stuff that might shock some readers – but I don’t give a fuck either. It’s gotta happen. And I’m writing some of the best stuff of my life so far.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants this morning, Adam. 🙂
    Sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • AR Martin says:

      Cynthia, thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve been out of pocket quite a bit this week, so I apologize for the delay in replying to your comment, but that really means a lot to me. You’re a talented writer, yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve reached the point where I get it. I can’t worry that not everyone will like what I write. Five star reviews are nice, but they don’t necessarily sell books, and I can’t make everyone happy. I’ve offended some readers with my female MC’s language and I’ve upset a few who were expecting a sweet romance. But as long readers keep downloading and reading, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and not worry about the rest. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • AR Martin says:

      Exactly. What matters most is that you’re having fun and telling the stories you want/need to tell. Those kinds of stories have a much better shot at resonating with others, too!


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