This writing thing is something I’ve been doing my entire life. It’s the first interest I can ever remember having as a kid, other than cats and the fly genocide going on every evening on my back patio. What they say about writers is mostly true: they’re a little screwed in the head, most drink a lot or have some sort of substance abuse problem, and most are introverted to an unhealthy extent. All pretty accurate, and so what. Those things can be awesome sometimes.
I got to thinking about this today, wondering why so many writers have gone off the deep end. The answer came to me pretty simply, at least speaking from my own personal experience.
It’s amazing how many people you’ll encounter in a lifetime who are more than willing to tell you that your dreams aren’t possible. They’ll tell you it’s way too hard, that even the best writers only end up living the life of a starving artist. I’ll never forget a boss I once had telling me, “Even GOOD writers probably will never make it, so if I were you I’d get another hobby.” Even good writers. Pft. Fuck YOU.
When I was a little kid, my dad would always encourage me to write a book so I’d be the youngest author in the U.S. Well, some little bastard went and beat me to it, and after that my dad acted like there was no way it would be possible to do it now, without having some kind of angle, like being the youngest, for instance. I couldn’t possibly make it off of my writing alone. Again, fuck that shit.
You’d think though, that something I’ve been doing my entire life would be so much easier. One would think that the thing I love the most would bring me the most happiness. Hell no. This shit tortures me, day in - day out. It’s a need that I can’t shake, like a drug, but like the drug, it’s something I don’t want to do as much as I want to do it. This paradox is why I could build a decent cabin in the woods out of Franzia boxes. I could have some pretty fancy light fixtures too, thanks to Tito’s vodka.
It’s a calling that I never asked for. It’s a fix like no other, and a downer like no other. It’s either fun or the reason I drink. There’s never any middle ground. When it’s not fun and I leave it to go do something else, it’s all I think about. When it is fun, a world full of problems just disappears.
I can’t tell you how many screenplays or half-written books I’ve tossed in the trash like they were trash. I’ll never forgive myself for deleting my A Cheeto Named Larry blog that I had for so many years. That blog had thousands of entries. That’s the equivalent of drowning all my babies in the tub. One thousand times. I’m that bitch.
Point is, I’ll never do any dumb shit like that again. Even bad writing by my standards is still writing, and writing is what keeps the monsters away. This is also why the naysayers and negativity from others no longer affects me; because now I realize - I don’t do this with the hopes that one day I’ll make it. I just do this to make it through today.