We’re having a freak monsoon-like thunderstorm right now that is entirely atypical for this time of year. It’s cold, grey, and not entirely pleasant.
I’m sitting in bed sipping a hot cup of tea, writing.
I realized as I was sitting here what a privilege it is to be able to do this work.
To still be here.
Most of the writers I started out with almost two decades ago when I was still a teenager, are no longer writing full-time. Some have taken up full-time jobs and write every now and again as a hobby. Some dip in and out, and many others are just gone, offline, their writing websites or blogs no longer live. There are very few writers who I knew when I started who have remained in the game.
This is the nature of the writing life, but it’s also a decision that you have to make repeatedly. There are many times in a writing career that it will seem almost impossible to go on and you will have to ask yourself the question: Am I going to ride this through at additional pain and suffering to myself or am I going to walk away and do something else?
Steven Pressfield says, “The professional keeps his eye on the doughnut and not on the hole. He reminds himself it’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.”
It’s not easy. In fact sometimes it feels damn near impossible. But some years, you stay in the arena if only for the sake of staying in the arena. I’ve had years like that, especially with my books, where I’ve sat on finished, polished works waiting for the right time for their release, for the tide to shift, for the market to change. There have been many years where I’ve waited for events to unfold in one part of my career and have simply switched focus to another as I did so. When the storm finally does pass, you raise your head and you’re ready to go again. It’s not a problem, really, because you’re already in the arena. All you have to do is wipe the blood from your lip and stand up.
When it’s difficult is when you’ve already left. Then, it’s harder to return. And that’s why most writers never do.
For a writer, there is only one way to stay in the arena, to keep playing the game. And that is to keep writing, to keep producing, to keep making things. To write.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a full-time job, if you’re only dipping in and out. It doesn’t matter if you’re not selling, it doesn’t matter if you’re not succeeding, it doesn’t matter if you’re not making money.
It matters whether you’re staying in the arena.
It matters whether you’re writing.
Are you writing?
P.S. Write With Me 2020 is my 12-week program that will show you how to get in the arena, stay in the arena, and rock the damn arena! We start on February 1 and you’ll be able to witness the behind-the-scenes of how I manage to be so productive as well as get my help in getting to your own word count goals and finished projects.
You can find all the details here.
See you there!