Has April showers brought you flowers? Or a grinding headache, all you A-Zers?
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“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~ Ray Bradbury
My insecurity this month is sobering up.
I don’t want to leave the intoxicated bliss of believing in myself. Because outside of it, I have to face the harsh reality that there are like, a gazillion more people in this world and most of them are 1.) more talented than me 2.) know how to advertise themselves 3.) are probably working at least a *smidge* harder than I am and 4.) have their shit figured out.
Which I’m still trying to do.
Most of the time I don’t care. That’s where the intoxicated bliss comes in. Like, 78% of the time, I’m happy for everyone who’s doing their thing. And doing it well. And doing it successfully. Because if musicians didn’t compose and artists didn’t create, my Pandora stations would be pointless and there’d be nothing to look at while dozing off during writer’s block. Art inspires art. It’s a cycle. I get it. And that’s why 78% of the time, I’m thrilled that 1,2,3 and 4 are happening for you. Truly.
But once all the rum is gone, that sobering reality descends and I’m all shit, why am I even bothering? I take a step out of my creative haze and it’s like the day has gone to night and up is down and what the hell was I thinking? I like being drunk on writing. There’s a sort of soothing comfort that makes everything okay when one is the master of their own universe. It’s exhilarating. Absolutely anything can happen.
Until you sober up realize you’re just an ant. And it’s hard to go from an architect to an ant. It’s even harder when you’re not a recognized architect, and you work in a little cubicle passing out mail while the big boys upstairs keep tossing out bestseller after bestseller and you think one day that’s going to be me. I’m going to make it. But in order to do that, you’ve got to stock up on the rum. And constantly drink it. And constantly stay drunk. Because the minute you sober up, the possibility of reaching that higher office dwindles because you’re just a lowly ant again.
And that’s my fear. I don’t want to lose belief that I belong anywhere other than here, in front of this computer, building things for you.
So how do you guys deal with this? Are you constantly drunk on writing? Or do you slip into reality and get face punched with the awful truth that the odds, President Snow, are most definitely NOT in our favor?
How do you remain an architect?
33 thoughts on “Pass the Rum, IWSG”
I think it’s by not comparing ourselves to anyone else, which I totally never remember.
Exactly. Why can’t I just remember this?
I kept thinking, why is the rum gone? This is a good comparison. That is just what it’s like. I’m going to a conference in a few weeks. Though I’m part of their published author group, I’ll be hanging withe people who have lots of books with BIG publishers. Do I belong in that same group? I’m so with you on this and I don’t like rum. I’ll have some wine. Lots of wine.
There’s plenty of wine to go around. 🙂 In my house, at least.
I do it by not writing for “them”.
Seems to be the theme. Yes – I shant think about those architects in their high rises!
I wish I knew. Sigh.
Susan, please pass the wine….
I struggle with this all the time. I have the unshakable belief that this is my calling! But then rational side kicks in and nags me about my responsibilities like rent. I try to keep myself reasonably in the middle instead of one side or the other. Because let’s face it, my cubicle jobs pays for my comfortable life that I can write in my free time. It buys that cup of coffee when I’m writing at a coffee shop, it keeps the electricity on to power my computer, and it buys me the books I want to read. As long as I can keep afloat, I can keep on writing, and if I keep on writing, I have to believe that it’ll lead to something.
I love your optimism.
I just loathe cubicles. Glad to know I’m not the only weirdo who goes through this!
Some days I’d rather be drunk.
All those at the top started as ants. Many of them still are ants. We just think they are more.
Just believe in yourself and keep writing and learning. Like someone else said this morning, the secret is hard work and lots of it.
And even after four books published, I still don’t have my shit together…
They did start as ants, didn’t they?
And I call folly on your last statement!
I wonder if getting drunk for real would help let the drunk-on-writing high stick around longer?
Probably better not to find out. (Dunno; I don’t drink.)
I know how you feel, though. When I’m writing–or just in the writing mood–I feel great, like my characters are wonderful, and I’m inside their heads and it’s all gonna turn out perfect. And then it wears off and I feel like the rejected ex-girlfriend of some supporting character who got dumped because he decided he loved his (male) best friend more than he loved her, and the whole world has crashed and burned and I’m just wasting my time and electricity by bothering to keep writing. If I tried to tell a non-writer about it, they’d probably think I’m insane. Then again, I probably am…
I UNDERSTAND YOU COMPLETELY.
Psshh. What do those non-writers know?
Weirdos, all of them.
I’ve been writing for about 8 years now and it’s impossible to stay drunk that whole time, but I do get a buzz from now and then! There are scads of authors more talented than me but I try to focus on my unique style, offering something no other author can. And writing nowhere near pays the bills so I need to focus on my day job more than on writing.
You just have to keep fighting those fears. I think in the beginning I was just naive enough not to be overwhelmed with fear. Enthusiasm can carry you a long way.
I heard a quote once, “Other people’s success is not your failure.” Yeah, other people will be more successful than me, better than me, smarter than me… but that doesn’t mean I fail in those areas. And you aren’t failing either. Keep going, stay drunk on writing. And when you do sober up, remember that you’re not a failure just because some other people are more successful. 🙂
I try not to compare myself to other people, but I do have moments of doubt. I think it’s normal, and it shows you care. When you look at the numbers of people publishing books though, you do wonder if there’s any more room…
Pass the rum!
Right, so, the number one most important thing you can do is never, ever compare yourself to other people. (I know, easier said than done.) 1, 2, 3, and 4 might be true, or might not, but they are also not relevant. Only you can write your stories. Only you. So screw 123 and 4, and put down the rum, and write 🙂
We have similar doubts as well as similar ways to deal with them. Let’s be friends. I need more writer drinking buddies.
I’ve never seen myself as an architect. I’m a brick layer, working at the bottom to create a solid foundation without flair or ambition. I appreciate craft over vision, or at least that’s what I know.
Stories I Found in the Closet
Hmm. Wine is tempting… I’m with you and trying to figure out how to do 1-4. I’m finding that if I spend the morning trying to drink the rum and the afternoon focused on 1-4, I can feel pretty satisfied with my day.
I’m also recently ‘self-employed’ so we should be rum-drinking buddies!
For every person who has more determination, more talent, more… whatever… there are myriads more who have less. 🙂 We’re all on our own path and will take our own time.
I can say this with confidence because I’ve been repeating it to myself a LOT over the past few years.
Love that Bradbury quote 🙂
I think your feelings are common. Life is full of highs and lows. Ride the highs and don’t let the lows deter you. I don’t remember who said it above, but I do think it’s a good idea to avoid comparing yourself to others. Be you…. no one will be able to do it better.
Oddly enough, I think I’ve written more on rum than any other alcohol. Except maybe Irish Creme. But still. ^_^
For me, honestly, it’s less “how do I do this” and more “how could I not”. I’ve gotten so used to writing for myself and maybe two or three other people that it’s become natural to me, and somehow, that makes it easier to keep going. So I do. I still think about getting published and wanting to be a bestseller and getting my stories into the hands of people who will love them, but it really comes down to just telling the tales I want to tell. And I do my damnedest to not think about others’ success, because I know they’ve all been exactly the same place.
Well you’re right about the gazillion other people – but they’re not all writers. Probably less than half a gazillion actually want to be writers and of those, not all will have done much about it. Don’t compare yourself with those who’ve made it and consider yourself behind, compare with those who aren’t even trying and see that you’re heading where they’ll never go (not even when they get lost on a drunken binge)
I think it’s normal to have those fears. It makes you work harder. The most important part is not to give into the doubt. I feel like this all the time. Especially when I read what great books my fellow bloggers are publishing. My own creation might never be a bestseller, but it is my vision come to life. As long as others can read it and appreciate it, I’ll be happy. Unfortunately our creativity comes with emotional instability. Wishing you the best.
I agree with Patsy. You’re not giving yourself enough credit. The fact that you’re actually following your passion says a lot more than living with regrets for not throwing your hat into the ring. Keep plowing away, and I’m sure your determination will pay off.
Drunk on writing – I love that term. That’s exactly how it feels, isn’t it? Ironically, going from writing to being published is what sobered me up. I wish nobody had ever told me about Amazon rankings. But I think no matter what stage in this writing/publishing process, even for bigtime best sellers, there will always be higher goals to achieve and we’ll go through constant cycles of sobering up to grasp for more and wallow in not having it. Luckily, the writing thing itself is addictive and we always find ways to slip back into the happy drunkenness.
I’m usually drunk on writing, but I slip into reality plenty of times. I’d rather be drunk on writing. I always believe I’m working on doing something bigger and better.
I love the idea of ‘intoxicated bliss’. I want me some of it. Unfortunately I hate rum. More of a gin and tonic type, ha ha. But not when I’m writing. Strictly coffee and tea! I wish you all the best. As the taxi driver says, writing a book is easy!
So much truth in this post. Life keeps sobering me up and as you point out there are so many others trying to make themselves heard that it can be tough to rise above the clamor of the seemingly over-saturated marketplace.
I just try to write what I’d like to read and I figure there might be some others out there who would like to read the same. I do need to get drunk on the writing more.
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I’m just still waiting on my Hogwarts letter . . . *grabs rum*
So I left a comment but it looks like it’s been eaten. Or else I just scrolled to fast. Either could have happened. But I am back to tell you that I have nominated you for a blog award 😉
i totally get this insecurity – but don’t forget the LUCKY ONES! sometimes that’s all it takes – the luck of being the right author when the right publisher/agent is looking for your story!
we do what we can and don’t give up – it’s all we can do! keep your chin up!