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On Despondency

"To have what we want is riches; but to be able to do without is power."

- George MacDonald

I will write until something comes to mind. Sometimes it's good just to let yourself wander. After all, as the infamous Mr Baggins once wrote, "Not all who wander are lost." The quote is on a piece of art hanging up next to me in my office; I think it serves as timely reminder for us all. Since writing can often be a bit of a head game, despondency can be a real creative killer. When it's basically up to you, the writer, to keep going, the long lonely stretches can be challenging... One of the things I've learned along the way, is how by continuing to write you build muscles. When I first read in Stephen King's On Writing how he types about 4,000 words a day, I was admittedly staggered. Immediately, my mind went from awe, to jealousy, to disbelief, and finally to dreaded despondency. How could I EVER write that much on a regular basis, I grumbled. Likewise, on Amazon's new author updates I receive, I'm bombarded by all these smiling, successful authors who gush about their dedication to their art. And then there's me. I'm lucky to find spare moments to peck out a few pages at a time, much less dedicate scheduled time for 'making good art'. What's to be done for the rest of us regulars? Keep going. Any way you can - do it. Only you can express it. Only you can write it just so. Also, remember you're not Stephen King. You're (probably) not any of those gushy, successful new authors featured in Amazon newsletters, either.... But you're you. (and they're not; in fact, nobody else in all existence is) So long as you keep going as best you can, your work continues to live and grow and ultimately, beyours. One of the types of stories I like to read are about near-death-experiences. (I know, I know, please forgive the apparent randomness) In some of them, they describe a sort of library filled with all the books ever written. For a fantasy-writer like myself, this sort of material is gold! Imagine, a place where every book ever written exists (including your own). In these descriptions, in this library, there resides a large wing filled with all the books and stories which exist but were never actually written. Whether you believe in this sort of stuff is entirely up to you, of course - but I think the notion remains rather sobering. What great wonders and heart-felt treasures never grace the earth because someone never wrote them down? Now, I don't tell you all this to shame you or guilt you or anything like that - but to remind you, what you write, big or small, great or just for fun, matters. We write for ourselves and other people. We write because we must. We type and scribble on because we love to. We write because It Matters. We are given each day what we need to keep going, and sometimes we must be forced to slow down in order to appreciate it. Sometimes (*gasp, dare I admit), we need to be stressed, tired, and generally over-worked, so we are forced to go back and shelter in what we love best. And as we stumble on, we must look around with new eyes upon the everyday, in order to see the mundane afresh. When we next pick up the keyboard or pen, we're ready to bring keen literary life into our world. Our hands may be callused and weary as we write, but they're still our own. They make each word we spell and each sentence we string that much more ours. So come marauding dragons or long boring work-weeks - Write on. "Good night and joy be with you all" - Ryan

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