Never Give Up, Never Surrender

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.