Most of us writers do, it is a repercussion of reading too much fiction growing up (all heroes and heroines have destinies, don’t they?). And, honestly, when one reads a biography of a writer doesn’t it always feel like some other worldly power gave something somewhere a nudge? You can feel the word just hanging on everyone’s lips, hiding behind each quote:
Another reason why we writers feel the tide of destiny is because of ego. All writers have an ego! If we didn’t, we wouldn’t believe that we have something worth saying! There is a reason people should waste their time with our words! Yes, egos are a prerequisite for picking up a pen. Some are big, some are loud, but they are all there for each of us, whispering in our ears and telling us how pretty we are.
When I look over my life, I have a collection of experiences (that feel like short stories) that make up my mental autobiography, the chapter that made this man the writer. The funny thing is, after all this time, I couldn’t tell you exactly which earlier chapters were fiction and which were nonfiction. See, things blend together with me over time. (If you think this is silly, ask my wife. It is a common occurance for her to ask me if I am exaggerating something; and, to be honest, I do it all the time.)
So why am I bringing up destiny? Well, after years of trying to make it as a novelist I have a great truth to share, one that may not be easy for many to hear.
There is no destiny.
No destiny, no fate. The life of a writer is something you have to earn with sweat, blood, and a lot of luck.
And if you walk away, you walk away.
My goal is not to make a pep talk.
There are more than enough books and websites that spin the positive; giving you little nuggets of fake gold to make you feel rich with success. Heck, some even may inspire me from time to time, believing I am going to make it or some wonderful possibility is awaiting me in the future. It’s just…
How do I explain this better?
Who is that guy in Greek mythology with the boulder?
Okay, I know this…
There we go! I knew it would come to me. Do you know this story? I don’t need to go into the particulars of how he angered the Greek God Zeus (there are variations on this tale), but he did and the moral is don’t be sneaky, especially with gods. Got it! Don’t be sneaky! No sneakiness!
Anyway, so as punishment, for all of eternity in the dark of Hades, Sisyphus is forced to roll a giant boulder up a steep hill. But Zeus, being the bastard that he is, had bewitched the boulder so that when it gets to the top he will always lose control of it, rolling back to the start. And there is poor Sisyphus, standing on the hill, looking around, releasing a deep sigh… then walking down the hill to get the boulder and start again.
And that is what my writing career felt like for me at one point in my life.
That stupid boulder.
For three years I walked away from writing. This to me was a huge deal, incredibly big. I had defined myself with the title of “writer” since I was a teenager, so to say no more to the dreams and the lifestyle was quite a major departure.
Frankly, I had enough of all of the games. I had enough of playing with agents, debating with writers at writing tables, or trying to get a publisher (or producer) to take my writing seriously.
And, looking over my life at the time, I was very happy without the stress of writing. I just couldn’t imagine, why the anxiety, pressure and ego-crushing experience was worth it anymore.
Okay, I know this was dramatic of me, so very dramatic. But most writers are dramatic, right? We like to do things big. (Yes, actors are dramatic souls, but remember it is the writers that give them the words to be dramatic with.) So I did this big. I told contacts I had, fellow writers, everyone that would listen that I was walking away from the typewriter. Friends, family, everyone was in on the “secret.”
It was one of the worst-kept secrets ever.
Now here is the real secret.
I wanted someone to stop me. I wanted destiny to peek its head up and say “We didn’t think you would go through with it! Jeepers! Here is that book publishing deal! We are so sorry.”
But destiny didn’t, destiny didn’t even flinch!, and life had a way of slipping ahead of me, moving faster without the burden of the “boulder” on my shoulders. Before I knew it, I had not created anything new in three years.
There are a lot of facts out there to depress a writer.
They aren’t difficult to find, and any writer can list them for you.
The one I always find the most difficult to deal with is that we live in an ever-growing, overly-congested market, from traditional publishing to indie publishing to self-publishing.
When you do a scan of Twitter, for example, you can’t help but feel that there are not enough readers out there for all of these writers. And the fact is there are more writers added to the pool each year, as new talents emerge from colleges, high schools, or simply the older souls deciding to chase that dream in retirement. Each year, each month, each day, it gets harder to have your voice heard over the growing onslaught of noise.
All those writers, all those destinies.
So what drew me back to writing?
Easy! I missed creating.
See, when I started writing so long ago as a kid, it was not about finding success or making a pile of money. It was just that I loved literature and I wanted to make some of my own. It’s fun to me, and I missed being writer Scott as compared to normal Scott. Normal Scott was nice and all, but writer Scott was just cooler and more me.
How I jumped back into it was via this blog. It was my New Year’s resolution that year, and starting almost on the day after the holiday I began, writing one blog post each day, all in the hope of seeing if I still have my voice, my creativity, and to see what I can do with it.
That is the thing I think that all writers need to realize. It can’t be about your readers or destiny or money or awards and pats on the back.
No, writing has to be about you, and only you.
If you enjoy writing, great!, do it.
If you don’t and you find it cumbersome or difficult; well, there are a lot of wonderful things to do in this world. Something else might make you happy. Because writing is a big boulder. It will always be a big, freaking boulder.
For me, the difference, the big difference, is that I now own my boulder.
I have drawn pictures on it! I have even named it (“Large Marge” after PeeWee’s Big Adventure). And yeah, it still is difficult to get that boulder up to the top of the hill each time, and, yes, it might fall back down each time, I get that. But now, I really don’t care anymore.
See, now when I write, I write only for me. And if success comes down the line, it will be because of what I did to make it happen.
Destiny be damned.
If you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here, or as an eBook on Google eBooks here. Thanks for reading!…