Despite the once-common stereotype of the tragic writer creating heartbreaking literature whilst drowning her sorrows in port, I think most writers would prefer a happier route through our writing lives. And yet, the odds can seem stacked against us:
- Creative people are more likely to suffer from depression.
- Writing is (usually) a solitary pursuit, which means we lack the day-to-day support and feedback provided in a more conventional workplace.
- Writing is a VERY TOUGH field in which to succeed, with many writing novel after novel for years on end while collecting piles of rejections—positive feedback can be few and far between.
- During the long writing apprenticeship (check out Justine Lee Musk’s excellent post on the writer’s apprenticeship process), most of us have to work at other jobs. After all, those rejection slips don’t come with paychecks.
So here we are, struggling writers, overworked, underpaid, prone to depression, and, unless we do something about it, creating in the void, with little feedback or encouragement. Makes you wonder why we do it!
Don’t worry. Writing is hard, but for some of us, it’s also the most wonderful occupation in the world. So how do we get past the inevitable bumps in our writing road? I think the first step is to recognize the challenges listed above.
And then? Then we can start to DO something about those challenges! More coming tomorrow….