So the classic trope of all writers is that we’re depressed alcoholics. I am not an alcoholic. However, I do struggle with depression and self-esteem. When I am writing those feelings are wholly suspended and I am in this state of bliss. I am whisked away to a fantasy realm or a space adventure and reality feels suspended. I am living vicariously through my characters. I live through their adventures, woes, and hazards as if they were my own manifest in a way I could tackle them.
I write about demons and slay them so that I can slay the barrage of negativity that sweeps across my subconscious and conscious thought. I write about joy and triumph to assuage my fears that such things can never be grasped. Unlike the trope, I don’t drink to excess or drown myself in my sorrows. I think that is because I have other responsibilities. I have a full-time job as a Technical Analyst and I have a family. With a wife, daughter, and dog, one does not simply shirk his responsibilities.
Despite having other things to work towards outside of my novels I still struggle with the melancholy attributed to the trade. I don’t blame anyone or any specific circumstance for my bouts with depression and self-worth, but I do have triggers. These triggers are ironically tied to my writing.
“That which brings us great joy, also has the potential to bring us great sorrow.”
I read somewhere, “That which brings us great joy, also has the potential to bring us great sorrow.” I cannot recall where I read it, but it strikes a chord in me, especially when pertaining to my writing. When I write, I write for the joy of writing. As I mentioned before writing is my escape. However, I also write so that others can enjoy my escape. So I am quick to share what I’ve written and this is where I start to open myself to having my feelings hurt.
Again, I do not blame anyone. This thing is my own vice, my own struggle. I tend to view a lack of feedback or a lack of sales as a strike against me. I measure myself by my successes and oftentimes I forget to weigh those successes properly. For instance, if I were to tell you that as a new author with a single novel out there that I have more than 450 copies of my book in circulation, both in digital and paperback formats and over a 4.5-star review on Amazon, most would consider this an accomplishment. I do even, I am proud to be able to say that I have so many copies out there.
As with many things, there is a dark side to this coin. I look at the sales and when I received them and then I look at the past week or two (Amazon puts up this great graph for me). I see that sales declined after the new year. Which, I suppose is expected. However, it lets that little voice in me rear up and tell me lies. People don’t like you. Sales are declining because people don’t like your book. You’re a failure. Why keep writing?
I am sure I am not the only to struggle with such thoughts. This depressing little voice holds a great deal of sway and I find that I swing through moods because of it. This voice worms its way into my mind and my writing stops. I began writing when I was 13 years old. I stopped writing when I turned 19 years old because of that voice. It took me 12 years to get back to writing again, give or take a couple of years. I let that voice tell me I wasn’t worthy and I really struggled with it. I learned from it, though, I learned that the more it wants me not to write the more I am inclined to do so.
“Why keep writing?” and say, “Because I am a writer and I enjoy being one.”
I came to the conclusion that while I write to entertain more than just myself, I cannot hope to please everyone. So I have decided to answer that little voice that says “Why keep writing?” and say, “Because I am a writer and I enjoy being one.” Because in truth it is the singular most rewarding thing for me outside of being a husband and father. I write because it challenges me, it encourages me, it allows me to live adventures I can never have otherwise. I write because I have stories I want to tell. I don’t write to win contests or sell books (although it’s nice when it happens). I write because I want to adventure into space and see new planets. I write because I want to beat back a horde of demons and shatter the enemy necromancer. I write to explore the possibilities of our future or to experience the wonders of the medieval past. So, I’ll keep writing and I’ll hope you’ll keep reading. Until next time folks.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,
DJ (Dave) Morand