I kind of feel like an idiot for writing this, because I am certainly not an expert on the topic. But I just had a conversation with a friend and fellow writer who is having a bad day, and I thought some of what we discussed might be inspirational for other people who, like us, spend most of our time spitting into a void.
Spitting into a void is a stupid phrase I read somewhere else another time, but it seems appropriate for people who write — or do anything creative — for a living. All day long, you’re outputting all of these words that you don’t know is anyone will ever read, and it’s fucking exhausting and discouraging. You spend most of your time feeling fear and desperation and self loathing — and very occasionally, when you write something you know is great, you feel sublime. And that’s what keeps you going.
For me, writing is less about some sort of “calling” and mostly about distracting myself from the gigantic dark mass that always threatens to settle over my brain in the form of boredom. If I have a bad day, when words don’t come easily, or I don’t have any ideas, I get terrified that I’ve lost my ability to write forever. Or, if I’m overwhelmed and burned out, and writing starts to feel like a chore, then I get terrified that even writing, the one good thing I could rely on to always be there, has abandoned me, and become just an ordinary job that I abhor.
I’ve gone through the cycle of extreme productivity and then extreme misery a few times in my brief — and mostly pathetic —writing career, so I knew that I had to take some steps to remedy the situation. The steps are below, and I think they really help if you’re feeling burned out or uninspired or like a fucking piece of shit that has come as far as they possibly can in life, and will never go any further.
1. Take a fucking day off, you idiot.
One of the problems of the rising generations is that we are all fucking programmed on tight schedules like we’re fucking micro television networks. We grew up waking up in the morning, suffering through modular days at school, going to after school activities or playdates, doing blocks of homework, and then sleeping on set schedules. Even if we watched television all day, we are still used to time blocks — the day dragged out in increments set by other people. I think that Ranciere, or one of those other French fuckers, called it synchronicity, or something — we are all programmed to be doing the exact same things at the exact same time all day, and it is fucking limiting.