THE DARK

I’M NOT A LOSER, BUT I DO KNOW THE DARK

You know, it’s funny. I never actually feel like a “loser.” I have absolute confidence in my own capabilities and talents. No worries for me there. Never have been. I don’t face personal doubts about myself. I have limits, I know them well. I have many extraordinary abilities. I know that too and precisely what they are. I also understand that usually my extraordinary abilities far outweigh my limitations.

On the other hand I do often feel like the Batman sitting atop a gargoyle 60 stories up in the pouring rain on a cold, moonless, pitch black night completely unnoticed and scanning the city for some sign of life. Which is exactly the way it is supposed to work when you’re the Batman.

When you’re a writer though… well, the dark is not your friend.

It’s Normal to Feel Like a Loser

by Michelle Griep

So you’re writing a novel, la-de-dah. Typing away like a rock star. Day after day after day.

After day.

And then, out of nowhere, whap! A horrific thought slaps you upside the head, yanking you out of the story and paralyzing you so that your daily word count takes a serious nosedive. Suddenly you wonder if you’re an author, that maybe all the things you write are just slobbery bits of drivel bubbling out of you. Panic sets in. Perhaps you’re not a for-real writer. Maybe you’re an impostor. A poser. An orangutan mimicking kissy noises in front of a mirror. Or worse — maybe the zombie apocalypse really did happen and you’re nothing but a body operating on rote memory because shoot, if you read what you’ve written, those words certainly look like a person with no brain wrote them.

Or maybe you’re just a loser.

Never fear, little writer. I’m here to tell you that you’re not a loser. You’re normal. Every writer hits this point at some time in every single manuscript they write — and sometimes more than once. Hating your writing and feeling like pond scum is par for the course. Why?

Because creation is the process of making something out of nothing, and that something takes blood, sweat, and tears to mold into a beautiful masterpiece.

Think about this . . . Babies don’t pop out of their mothers all smiley faced and swaddled in fluffy rubber ducky blankies. They come out screaming and howling, all mucked up with oobie-goobies and require a good cleaning and lots of love. You don’t think that mom had second doubts during the heat of labor? She’d have packed up and gone home at that point if she could.

That’s how it works for your story, too. Don’t pack it up. Press on through the birth pains. Push out that ugly story so that it can be cleaned off and wrapped up into a beautiful book cover.

The only way out is through, folks, no matter how you feel. Take your hand off your forehead (yes, I see that big “L” you’re making with your forefinger and thumb) and get those fingers on your keyboard instead.

THE WRITER’S LAMENTATION

I got up and wrote ‘til three
Thus now my back is killing me
It hurts so bad, it hurts so bad
It hurts so bad you know

I worked the keys, I worked them red
I wrote down what my Muses said
They said so much, they said so much
Oh my aching head

My neck is stiff, my hands are cramped
My eyes they burn, my mind is tramped
I’ve done enough, I’ve done enough
Still you won’t relent?

My joints all creak, my throat is dry
I feel so bad that I could die
What more of me do you want?
Just go away for now

People suffer, people die
So let me ask you why, oh why?
Do you kill me oh so slow?
You know what this does to my soul…

I hate you word, I hate you phrase
I hate you eat my nights and days
That you take pleasure in my pain
You little bastards you

If up to me I’d never sit
Nor long again endure this shit
But you have purpose all your own
And make me for your sins atone

I’d rather be out in the world
Full of deeds, not serpent curled
Not creeping, crawling, filled with words
Damn you all, this is absurd!

I’m old, I know, new labors make
But this just seems to take and take
Tell me there’s a point to this
That’s all worthwhile, at least persists

Beyond the torture of today
Something I may yet display,
Something written God will say
You did that well, I’m proud

But doubt it lingers in my heart
I feel it often when I start
I feel it always when I end
Did my words rise, or just descend?

I used to think this nothing was
That writing was a sissy’s love
Now I’ve writ enough to see
This torment’s a catastrophe

One last thing I must lament
If just for once you will relent
Answer this if you will dare –
Do I write Truth, or in the air?

THE READY MAN from HUMAN EFFORT

It readily occurs to modern man to automatically doubt everything and everyone at all times, except of course, his own doubts at any time.