I’ve been a writer since I was 9 years old, and you’d think that, given the ensuing decades, I’d actually have figured some of this stuff out by now, but… not so much.
I’ve been reflecting, hard, lately, in the wake of the publication of my book, and a few other things that recently came up for me, and I’d like to share them with you.
Earnest Hemmingway is famously credited with saying “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The thing is, I’m not really that kind of writer. I wrote mostly business articles and recipes, it’s very seldom these days that I do personal pieces.
And so, I thought it was that I was immune to some of the challenges that writers go through. There’s very little rejection in my life; most of the articles I pitch are accepted, and because I have my own blog(s), I basically get to write about whatever I like. The creative process of it is enough for me in terms of reward. I love what I do. I do it, I love it, I move on to the next one.
To be fair, I don’t often get a ton of feedback on my pieces. Sometimes people make my recipes and say whether or not they like them, or how they modified them, or sometimes they ask me questions. But I live in a bubble where I get very little criticism, and that’s probably okay, because I can tend to be a little thin-skinned.
But I recently went through a really tough time a few months back, and I couldn’t figure out what it was all about. I felt sad, kinda depressed. I was questioning my success.
It wasn’t until very recently that I recognized this thing for what it was: a grieving process. I had devoted an entire year of my life to this project, and it was now done. I felt lost, at odds, unsure of what to do next, where to put my focus. It all makes sense, but at the time, I really had no idea what was going on, just that I was feeling really sad.
I also realized lately how lonely being a writer is. I know, this is not exactly a huge scientific discovery, is it? Like, duh, Captain Obvious. I work alone, primarily. On my computer. By myself, sometimes in coffee shops, but it’s a very solitary existence. A couple years back at this time of the year, my friend Paul (PainScience.com) and I went away to a cabin on Bowen Island and wrote for 3 days. It was a great experience. Not just because I basically wrote a book in three days, but also because we were there to encourage each other, and spur each other on. It was great.
I also didn’t really have a ton of feedback on my book; for the first few months after it was released there were some articles and blog posts, but then it just kinda dried up. I didn’t really know how it was selling, if it was selling, if people were liking it, or if they weren’t. I was in a solitary vacuum.
Last week I found out through social media that my book is in kitchens in Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands! How cool is that?? I was able to connect with some of the folks who bought my book, and it was really great.
I think, as writers, we need to support each other if possible. If not in person then maybe through online chat forums and groups. I went through this chunk of emotional turmoil, which, as it turns out, was actually pretty normal, but at the time, I didn’t know it.
Also, I think I’m getting a cat.
That’s all for now, folks. I’ll be back in a week or two with my top posts of the year. In the mean time, I wish you all a very happy holiday.