You Have Permission to Write for a Hobby... (Warning: cussing)
So after two days of being anxiety-free, my dear old "friend" anxiety paid a visit today as I was writing. "What are you doing?" it asked, "writing that same old story you've been doing for a decade now? And the other stories? Ha! You suck. Give up writing. Period. Never write again. Trust me. Delete everything you've done."
In short, it was the same old voice that tormented me for the past twelve years about my writing. Saying I was a failure for not completing a book/getting it published or...whatever.
But after a year of being on anxiety meds and having that voice gagged and tied up in a cellar away from my thoughts, it occurred to me that writers have an awful stigma attached to the profession. It seems like we've generally got this idea that unless we're writing to get published or write at all, then we're automatically failures of human beings or whatever. Holly Lisle, a renown fantasy writer, once wrote in her blog that if we never wrote, then we'd be 'grounded', that we'd look back years later and remember with regret a time when we "once had wings..."
Can I just say how full of goddamn bullshit that is? Let me tell you all a story.
A family friend of ours, an elderly woman, likes to sculpt. She's done it for years now. She isn't famous, she's never published them out to the world. So by Holly Lisle's logic, this woman is somehow a failure because she isn't fucking Michaelangelo if he were American and had boobs? She's sitting in her chair looking back and regretting never having 'tried' to publish?
I can assure you, she doesn't give a single llama's shit about it. She does it because it gives her pleasure, she does it because it gives her a reason to get out of bed every morning.
So I tell you all... We have permission to write for a hobby if we so choose to do so. First and foremost, writing has to give us pleasure at all. It has to give us a purpose, a reason. I certainly wouldn't want to read a book that sounds like the author had to torture him/herself into writing.
Write when you're ready. Publish when you're ready. If the latter never comes, if you're content with just writing as a hobby, then for God's holy asscrack, do it! As a friend of mine on Facebook said, books never expire. As long as there are humans on this planet Earth who want to read, there is no deadline. There is no pressure to publish.
If you want to write for a hobby, if the idea of entertaining the masses with your work sickens you to the core, then don't publish. Writing should give us some amount of personal pleasure at least.
So if anyone tries to take you down, make you feel bad about yourself because you haven't finished a book within a single year, or publish... don't bother with them.
We're all in this together. We're all writing. Last thing we need to be doing is guilt-tripping our fellow writers. So sit your ass down and get to writing.
Link the Writer out!
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