Monday, March 16, 2015

Allow Yourself Those Bad Times

Allow yourself those bad times. When it comes down to it, those are some of the few things you own as a writer. The crushing self-doubt, the absolute despair.

People try to steal these away from us, as if we can't handle it, as if we'll break apart and drift off with the wind. Fuck 'em, they're real. We feel them, all of us. We can describe it to one another and each of us can relate and say, "Yeah, I've felt that too!"

Do you know what those bad feelings represent? Priorities. We care about what we do. Look at anyone else who has interests, whether it's a marathon runner or high school student wanting to pass a class with an A for the semester. They care, they invest, and they have the same exact feelings. That's right, your petty writerly feelings are no different than a student trying to pass an algebra class. Nerd!

A good use of these times is to look at what's causing them. Is it something we're doing, or something we haven't been doing? Is it something objectively valid that needs to changing, or are we turning into our own punching bag for entertainment? I don't know, maybe.

When I was in high school, I saw people genuinely break out into tears at receiving a 92% when they wanted a 100% on the test. I see those very same types of reactions online all the time.

I love those bad times, because they signify I have good times, and I really like those too. If I didn't have the good, I wouldn't have the bad. Even hobbyist writers, who only write when they feel like it, have those days they don't want to write anymore, and they use the excuse they can stop anytime.

I'm not advocating having a hide like an armadillo and no longer have petty feelings. I'm not a dingbat. What I'm saying is, you are your first and last line of defense. When you go out with your books in hand, or digitally with your Amazon and Nook links, you're going to run into others, and they're not the best. 

We run into the worst kinds of people as writers. People who are otherwise lethargic, until it comes to selling or marketing their own works on others. Someone who can't wait to tell you the correct path in Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing (The ultimate traffic driving articles). The endless passive-aggressive promoter constantly trumping their miniscule milestones in an attempt to be relevant among their peers. The writer who feels the way they published makes them more qualified than the way someone else is published (Hint, hint. They're usually stuck in a query cycle.).

There are countless reasons why others will want to make you feel like shit on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Why add yourself into the mix?

Treat those feelings as a toy. It's nice to wallow in despair for thirty minutes to an hour, but like playtime, we should know when to put it away. Melancholy doesn't do you any good, doesn't do anyone you know any good, it doesn't do me any good. Nothing is getting done in the process either, so it's best for your health not to let it drag on for too long.

Don't feel well? Recognize it.