When you decide to be a writer, you agree to pay astronomical rent for a dark space inside your own head. You sign up for a journey which takes you through times of deep distrust in yourself and your work.
Writing is a solitary act often pursued by introverts; the masochistic individuals who prefer conversations with fake characters to real humans. You sign up for this solitude when you realize your thirst for writing will never be quenched, and you therefore have no choice but to write. The catch is that you can receive all of the accolades; you can be told time and again that you have a gift. But if you don’t believe you are good, you won’t be. You will let the world bring you down. I know, because I let it happen to me.
This doubt — this dark walk which I am on right now — is a natural part of a creative’s journey. But great work depends on these moments of self-reflection and desperation. As in every good story, a writer’s voyage has an all-is-lost moment — the time in which you tell yourself what you know to be true:
Your work is shit.
Your ideas would be shit. But they don’t exist, because you’re shit.
If you, too, are on your lonely journey, I want to tell you something:
You have an obligation to create. If you’re lacking inspiration, inspire yourself. Go to a museum. Re-read your favorite book. Meditate. You are a writer and the world needs your words. I repeat: the world needs your words.
You’re not shit. The pressure to be perfect is shit. What does greater damage to work than the endeavor to achieve perfection?
You signed up for this. Nobody is making you write. You do it because you have no choice but to. You write because there is a story inside of you and you need to get it out, lest you bring the story to your grave. You write to process the stories in your head.
Darkness doesn’t last forever. This solitary journey is temporary. The sun will rise again. I promise you.
This walk writers embark on is a lonely one. It’s torturous. It’s best taken with a bottle of wine and a detached ego. But we do it because the only thing worse than writing is not to write at all.
I believe in you.