Tobias Buckell is posting about Kelley McCullough’s bit on SFNovelists about pushing through your dark moments. The part that really got to me was McCullough’s realization that:

I had come to place where I realized that writing wasn’t just something I did that I could walk away from. It was who I was down in the bedrock.

This realization can be a source of strength and a source of terror. Understanding that writing is part of who you are, not something you’ve chosen, can push you to persevere onward, to push through the difficult spots. Conversely, thinking that you’re stuck as a mediocre writer is like being given the gift of fire and not being able to share it — complete total impotence. In those dark moments I’ve felt that I could not even look at another word, it was too painful.

But when that happens, I panic. No more words?! No more delicious verbs and adjectives, no more metaphors, no more insight into the human condition? Seriously, I just cannot live without words and stories. It’s part of my DNA, and mediocrity can be won over with perseverance.

I can’t point to a specific lowest moment, maybe that’s in my future, but the notion of quitting is an almost daily thought for me. And so, like my friend Tawny, I try to turn it around into an affirmation.

I always end up sounding like Jack Handy, though, so chocolate usually works better.

2 Responses to “Never Give Up, Never Surrender”

  1. Thanks for the link. It can indeed be a scary realization, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I sometimes liken the experience of publishing to knocking a brick wall down with your forehead. It can be painful and tedious, but if you always remember that your forehead heals and the wall doesn’t you’re halfway there. And there’s nothing in the world like that moment when you realize that you’re standing there blinking in the sunlight and the dust because the wall came down. That said, chocolate does indeed help. Oh, and the writing part of writing makes it all worthwhile.

  2. Wonderful realization!

    I have to admit, the idea of quitting rarely runs through my head but when it does its horribly seductive.

    Except the stories are there, waiting. They have to be told and honestly, my family is grateful to not have to listen to me babble to them so much now that I write them down LOL.

    I will say, though, I love having written. Writing itself though… not so much.

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