“Or, Frustration Is A Temporary State Of Mind” by S.R. Torris
There is going to be a time during your struggle that you stop everything and ask yourself what the hell you’re doing. Whether you practice that jump shot for hours on end, forsaking all fun and fun related activities or you scrape every penny you have on hand to book studio time, any kind of studio, dance, recording, or even if you’re patching together the best quilt anyone has ever seen; one day you’ll look at it, for whatever reason, and think that you’ve taken complete leave of your senses!
That day for me is today and my thing happens to be writing fiction. Oh, it could be non-fiction too. I’m of the belief that writers of varying genres pull over into their own personal rest stop looking for the exit back to what many may call reality. You see, that’s when the voices of all those who doubt have perforated our eardrums and bored their way into our brain, causing some doubt of our own.
It’s not about the money (when it’s a passion it never is) but money will creep in the conversation when bills start to mount and you don’t have a steady job – not because you’re lazy or anything, writing is a job!
“Not if it don’t pay the bills!”
Not if it don’t pay the bills. How can one reason with logic like that? So begins the search for a 9 to 5, which will diminish the time I spend writing and if it’s a job that debilitates the imagination, writing will be a thing of the past – some kind of silly kid phase that should have never happened at my age. What about writing during the commute? That’s a 50-50 shot we’re dealing with. A commute can be used to record great ideas for later development or it can be used to mentally prepare yourself for the job you are about to do. There’s also a third option: the commute is the thing your job gives your refuge from. I’ve experienced all three.
It’s exciting when you sell your first book – even more when someone you don’t know buys it. Then another someone, then another, then… nothing. That drought is something else, isn’t it? And the rain that falls during this time isn’t the type that helps to moisten things up. While you are spinning the cogs at lightening speeds you may come across your first bad review because the worst always comes in heaping, steaming, piles. It’s always wonderful how some will spread the gospel of snark rather than leave a well crafted, thought filled, concise piece of criticism to help you improve the perceived (or real) flaws you have with your writing. While I would rather see someone state they couldn’t enjoy my writing because it was filled with bad grammar, simple spelling mistakes, or clichéd hyperbole (I actually wouldn’t want to see that at all but just for argument’s sake, let’s go with it) I’ll get some backward ass clown displaying the many ways they know how to spell the word “sucks”. As for the reason behind the feeling that my work “sux”, nothing comprehensible is ever left to grow on.
The most aggravation comes when I see books that have no business calling themselves books in the first place. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other people; it never leads to a good place. But poor excuses for stories, no imagination in them at all, and obvious plagiarism flies off the shelves like someone was giving away brand new hundred dollar bills.
Someone please, call the whaaaaambulence!
I figured I’d share because this happens and sometimes it’s worse. But then I remember that I have a mission and I must press on.
Because if for some reason, Stephenie Meyer came down with the bubonic plague, the world would stop, but L.A. Banks died last year and for most reading this I bet your first thought is, “Who’s L.A. Banks”? I remember that Sophia Stewart claimed Warner Bros. and the Wachowski Brothers robbed her. The sin is not that her work was stolen although that is to be condemned, it’s that no one believes her. How did this woman come up with the idea for “The Matrix” a decade before the movie was made, especially someone with her background? It confounds so many, like she couldn’t be imaginative. I do this because before I ever read Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” I read Walter Dean Myers’s “The Legend Of Tarik”. It may not have had the intricate detail of Tolkien’s series but it was still exciting and made enough of an impact on my psyche that I still remember it all these many years later. I press on because Octavia Butler should be mentioned as often and in the same company as George Orwell, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury!
If only I were that noble…
Not that the above reasons aren’t great, and I don’t think that way sometimes, the fact of the matter is I do this for me, like every other writer does – like every other dreamer does. And if you aren’t doing this for yourself, you will succumb to the same thoughts that I have, of course with your own idiosyncrasies attached to them. You do this for you, like I do it for me, because you have to. It’s in your bones, no matter how late in the game you come to it. The voices in my head stop speaking as loud as they do when I put them to paper or computer. The characters stop doing things to be recognized once they are acknowledged. You, the reading public, get the benefit of this whether I lose sleep, scare the crap out of myself, or make myself cry.
It’s me that keeps me going. Yes, I have a couple of fans (I’ve haven’t been doing this very long), many supporters, a stalker, and plenty of haters but none of them matter when it all comes down to it. They can continue to encourage me, tell me how great I am, help me financially – if I don’t believe in me then all their hard work and good will is for naught. Conversely, those who claim they will be in your corner, they will help however they can, whatever you need, shout the loudest cheers, may not always be there. If you put your hopes in them you would be crushed in an instant. Let’s not EVEN get on the family members that try on a daily basis to tell you what you’re doing is a complete waste of time.
“I only want the best for you. You should get a real job.”
A real job?! But this is a real job!
Not if it don’t pay the bills.
Ah, but one day, it will…
Frustration is a state of mind, people; I refuse to live in that state and you shouldn’t either.
I wonder what Maine is like this time of year?