The Writer Demon and What Writing is Really Like?
Self doubt, fear, pain, confusion, and resistance. Do these describe your writing life?
Maybe you’re the special flower whose avoided the allure of Facebook stealing writing time. That cyborg who never gets tired, always happy, and can’t wait to write tomorrow.
I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the majority of seasoned and wannabe writers who say:
Well, at least we’re not digging ditches.
True. Writing is not digging ditches, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Not enough conversation around what happens after you write the book. When you think money will fall from heaven and publishers will bang down the door for your latest Great American Novel.
Instead… crickets and tumble weeds. Refreshing your royalty dashboard every five seconds, while eating Cheetos, and waiting for Oprah to call.
By no means, is writing a waste of time, all about money, and not able to offer joy. No way. The impact your books can have on people and the outlet for creativity a gift from God. Writing can be cathartic and healing in the right context.
But many writers don’t want to talk about the fear that comes every time you open your laptop or take pen to paper. The mind games and self doubt crouching at your door when you attempt to write another line of dialogue. Voices from haters, friends, and family, that see writing as a waste of time and talent.
Last week, I was privileged to interview best selling author Joanna Penn, and we discussed this same topic. The mindset of an author is just as important, or more important, than software, writing hacks, and figuring out where to publish. Mindset will make or break the creative.
The mind is where books are created. The conscious and subconscious where the writing battle is won or lost. In between the ears determines if writers succeed or fizzle out in a blaze of glory.
Whether you’ve written one hundred books or just trying to get the first one under your belt. Fear, self doubt, and negative talk will be alive and well.
Steven Pressfield calls it The Resistance. I call it the Writer Demon. He doesn’t care who you are, what you’ve accomplished, or if you’ve written New York Times bestsellers. He or she is coming for you. Never letting up. Tempting you to shut the laptop for Twitter and an epic binge session of Netflix with a show you’ve already finished.
The Writer Demon laughs, points, and hurls insults into your writer brain telling you to quit and try something else. Maybe dig ditches?
He doesn’t care if you’re a man, woman, black, white, tall, short, young, old, or an alien. He wants self doubt and fear crippling you to the point of surrender.
But that’s not who you are. You’re a writer. And what do writers do? They write.
We acknowledge the fear and doubts. But we must write to outrun the Writer Demon. Pressfield says action is the only cure. Truth.
The negative self talk is not going away. Fear and being exposed for wannabe’s is nothing new.
But we throw caution to the wind, open the document, and just go. The Writer Demon does not understand if your work is good. He or she doesn’t care what you ate for dinner. He’s perched on your shoulder throwing arrows in your direction. Creating a list of reasons writing was the worst possible use of your time and life.
Are you a writer? A wannabe?
Maybe you know what I’m talking about here. The Writer Demon is real.
Let’s not sell anyone on how easy writing is, and how The Muse shows up with the snap of a finger, and why it gets easier with every published work.
But for the rest of us. Our next project will involve a Demon, and fighting for our creative lives, and not to mention Cheetos.
You’ve been warned.
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