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When the writing isn’t going well, the mind can descend into the loneliest of places. You think about the people in your past who implied you were worthless or even called you a monster. You start to wonder if maybe they were onto something.

When the writing isn’t going well, the glow of a nice day turns pale and scrubs the meaning out of things. Everything seems clinical and on the edge of death, like a scene from some old infirmary in some B movie that was showing on a Saturday afternoon in the rec room of your childhood home.

When the writing isn’t going well, everyone else seems like successful uberprofessionals on steroids. Everyone else is driven with an energy that you lost long ago. Everyone else has access to amounts of money that will forever remain fictional and mythical in your mind. Everyone else is moving around in social circles that are bigger than the sum of all your acquaintances. The agents know what they’re doing by getting ready to reject you with language that is more sophisticated than the proposal you were going to send. Or maybe you’ll never send that inquiry in the first place, because that’s the way you were destined to live: scared and doomed by your own failings.

When the writing isn’t going well, you wonder why anyone would waste precious minutes flopping around with words in the first place. What’s the actual difference going to be if a paragraph gets added here or cut there? What’s the world with another story or page full of symbols? Apocalyptic shudders and swarms of fire are just going to swallow it all soon enough anyway.

When the writing isn’t going well, there’s only one way to dig out from beneath the clammy pile of melancholy and self-loathing, or at least there’s only one way that’s going to let you live another day. When the writing isn’t going well, there’s no choice, really, but to keep writing.


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