December 15, 2019, 08:30:05 PM

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Steven Erikson's Advice to an Author Struggling with Self-Doubt and Depression From a recent discussion on my FB wall. I had shared a friend's status update about her struggles and Steven Erikson replied:

"When we start out most of us measure success in much the same way: it's the dream of being able to write full time, and by that we mean earning enough to do nothing but write. It's that imagined future that haunts us, but it's also the one pulling us forward. We're all stuck in a skewed value system that is most content keeping us in our place, wherever that place may be. So, who or what is your enemy? Here's a hint from an old hand at this: it only seems to be inside you. Truth is, it's out there. But, unlike many people, you have both the talent and the ability to face it down, day by day, word by word. Writing and the need to keep doing it may seem like a curse at times, but it's the opposite. It's your weapon, and your armor. It's the white hot core inside you that no heel can ever crush. We all need to argue against reality, to rail against it, in fact. For all the shit out there, all the fucked up idiocy of a culture and civilization bent on self-destruction, your only answer -- your only riposte -- is to face that blank screen or blank page, and to conjure up yet one more gesture of humanity. Really, what else can you do? One last thing, not as a warning but as a promise: the doubt never ends, no matter how successful you come to be. Writing, like all art, is (for me) an ongoing reconciliation with failure. And writing is keeping the negotiation alive: there's no crawling out of, only crawling through, and guess what? It's fine. It's livable, when nothing else -- for you and for me -- is. So take a breath, make a fist, and set out to beat your demons to a pulp. Oh, and if you want more of this, check out, and my essays on writing (Steven Erikson, archived). Cheers, and be well."

November 06, 2014, 02:00:08 PM