This evening, during a dark night of the soul, I was trying to explain to my husband what it’s like to be an unpublished writer trying to get published. It’s difficult for me to articulate in a way that conveys just how much this desire burns, how the desperation wells up, how self-doubt gnaws and conviction falters.
It’s not about money, recognition, or influence. It’s not about being the next J. K. Rowling. It’s definitely not about writing the next Fifty Shades of whatever. It’s about words, about communication, about having a story to tell, a story that demands to be told. It’s about wanting to do what I love and not do all that other stuff, that stuff that gets in the way of the words.
Why, if I am a writer, is it so hard to explain this desire, this need to craft a ship of words and set it upon the flood?
This is how it feels to me in this moment:
It’s like being marooned on a desert island, alone. You’ve built the signal fire and scrawled a huge message in the sand. You wait and scrawl and feed the fire. A plane flies low overhead. You run onto the beach, jumping up and down, waving your arms and shouting.
The plane flies by and disappears over the faint curve where sea and sky meet.
All this is to say, have you hugged your writer today? She or he needs it.
Just please, please don’t go in for a bear hug while your writer is at the computer. That’s just crazy.