I started writing my novel five years ago, but truth be told, my heart wasn’t in it for the last three. Whenever I sat down to write, it was the last thing I wanted to do. There was no belief. No passion or desire in what I was doing. And when that happens, you might as well flush yourself down stream with the turds. Subconsciously, I’d given up. Dreams that had once burned so bright, fading away with every passing day. All those lonely evenings spent staring at my laptop trying to muster the energy to write, but all I got in return was emptiness. I’d drink to hide from the truth, the terrible truth, that I’d lost it. I doubted myself, and when you do that, you’re finished.
These last several months have been a wake-up call. Sometimes, you need to hit rock bottom to find out what you’re made of. Sometimes, you need to lose it all, to discover if you’ve really got what it takes. When you finally realise that you’ve lost your belief, you can do one of two things. You can either accept it, or you can dig deep and do whatever you can to get it back. So I started a blog, and vowed to write until I couldn’t stop, until it became as natural as eating or taking a shit. Five months later, and I’ve written over two hundred thousand words of new material. That’s more than I’d come up with in the previous five years put together. And today I start work on the novel again. The passion is back, and so is my desire to succeed in what I love doing.
In many ways, I wish I could’ve picked something easier. A path that was more conventional. There’s nothing worse than the humiliation of telling someone that you’re writing a novel. You can feel the laughter bubbling away behind their eyes. To call yourself a writer when you’re not published, is a soul destroying thing. And for years, I let it get the better of me until I almost called it a day. In the beginning, I vowed to prove everyone wrong. I swore to myself that I’d do whatever it would take to become successful. No matter how long it took, no matter how lonely I’d be, I’d stick with it. But, I let doubt get the better of me until I ended up a mess. Maybe everyone was right. Maybe I should relinquish those crazy dreams of mine. Grow up and do something sensible, Stephen.
But my place in life was never meant to fit in, to become like everyone else. I was born with an incredible desire for fantasy. I’ve always been a dreamer, always creating stories and inventing surreal realities and scenarios. It’s not an interest, or a quirk. It’s who I am. My regained passion for writing isn’t something I do on the side, it’s what I do full stop. Once you’re successful and you’ve sold books, you can say this and people won’t bat an eyelid. But when you’re struggling to find your feet, people call you lazy. You’re deluded they say. And eventually, you end up believing them. Not this time though. I don’t care how long it takes me, or how mad I am by the end of it. Every time I feel the doubt creeping back in, I’ll kick it in the face. And every time I see it in someones eyes, I’ll use it to fire me on, not retreat back into apathy. A writers gotta write. No more excuses. No more fear. Life’s too short to deny the dreams that fill my heart with sensations nothing else comes close to.
Belief. Passion. Desire. And a touch of madness for good measure.
Categories: On Writing