What a post title, right? WHAT IS MJ THINKING?
Here is what I am thinking!
I just got a whole bunch of comments in, and I noticed that these—like many I get—are from people who say (in various ways), “Encourage me to write! Tell me I can!”
I’m not going to do that. That would not help you. I would be doing you no favors what-so-ever by doing some empty cheerleading and poking and prodding you. Because writing is hard, and it is NO FUN and PRETTY MUCH POINTLESS if you don’t want to do it. And writing is revision, and revision is hard and often thankless work.
So if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it.
But if you DO want to do it, do it. Don’t wait for me or for anyone else to give you encouragement. No one can stop you. Do it by yourself, for yourself. Yes, eventually you may share what you do and loads of people will love it. But much of your work will be done alone, with just you to see it. You have to keep your own candle burning. ONLY YOU can do this.
Like I’ve always said, don’t be afraid to be bad at it. You have to be bad at it before you are good at it. I know that is REALLY what a lot of you are asking when you send these questions in. Don’t worry about that part. Be REALLY bad at it! Just keep doing it! NEVER fear failure in writing. You can’t actually fail. You can only quit.
And there is nothing NECESSARILY wrong with quitting. There is no natural or human law that says you have to write (beyond the basics to kind of keep you going in modern society—those are helpful). If you find story writing painful or boring or not for you, DON’T DO IT. GO DO SOMETHING ELSE. There are PLENTY of other good things to do!
If you ever feel like writing again, write again. The rope is always there, and you can reach for it any time you like. But you have to want to reach for the rope, and you have to pull yourself up.