The message is loud and clear these days. No pain no gain. Just do it. Do what you love the money will come. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. 80% of life is showing up.
Stay in the room. Do the work. Write your heart out. Ignore the critic inside you. Just write.
Do we like this message? No.
Are we stuck with it? Yes.
Is it really that simple? Yes
Is it really that simple? No.
Because if it were really that simple why wouldn’t we all just do it? Why wouldn’t we all just buy the healthy stuff and walk everyday and floss? Why wouldn’t we just sit at our desk or our kitchen table or at Starbucks or in the middle of Times Square and write stuff? Then rewrite stuff. Then send stuff out. Then get published.
Because it’s hard. It sucks. It takes a lot of concentration and work and a high tolerance for frustration. And on top of that you have to learn things. You can’t just write. You need to know when you screwed up point of view or tense. You need to read other books to see how they did it. You need to understand story structure and when to mess with it and when not to. You have to think really hard about your characters and why they do or don’t do things. You have to care about language and setting and plot. You have to conjure up people and places from dust and fragmented memories and darkness.
And then there are the god damn dragons you have to wrestle. Barehanded, no armor, without sleep or nourishment or backup. Just you and those friggin’ ghosts, critics, voices, or whatever form your self-loathing and doubt takes. And you have to cross the moat that gets dug between them and you. The booze or the food or the sex or the depression or the compulsions you manage to set off like landmines all around that dragon to keep it at bay. To avoid it. Because who the hell wants to battle a dragon every day?
But you have to. You have to use every trick in the book to get there. Whatever it takes. Writers groups, classes, conferences, websites, how-to-books, why-not-books, who-cares-books, therapy, meditation, yoga, dream journals, blogging, jogging, writing prompts, writing exercises, fountain pens, motivational tapes, more therapy, a gun to your head, a gun to someone else’s head.
Double, double, toil AND trouble. Right?