Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Bitter Truth

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jun• 20•12

(a new short column whereby I dispense harsh truths about the writing life. Because sometimes we need harsh)

Writing can be an inky, bottomless dungeon of frustration. As it should be. Rewards that come easily aren’t always the most satisfying. Most activities in life will not require multiple revisions, begging for a chance in the marketplace, and stab-in-the heart rejection. Not to mention all the doubts, dead ends, and weak beginnings that need to be scratched out. Then there are the mistakes that we all make, over and over. Even when we know better. And I’m not talking about wrong comma placement. I’m talking serious boners as in your viewpoint wanders or your protagonist is an enigma.

If you’re a person who cannot handle a lot of frustration and starting over and loneliness you might not be suited for writing. If you’re a person who is not self directed and patient and preserving, you’re in the wrong gig. And that’s just the bitter truth.

Next bitter truth: being good is not enough

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  1. So true. Books don’t write themselves, and they need to be rewritten, re-envisioned, reformed, ripped apart and put back together to be the best they can be. And even that’s no guarantee.

    But hey, it’s still better than the other two guarantees in our lives — death and taxes! 😉

  2. Olivia says:

    Being rejected a lot is bitter and hurts. It makes you feel like you’re not good enough. Its a hard slog uphill covered with thick clouds. You never know whats ahead. You are sometimes stuck. You can’t go forward, but you can’t go back. So get stuck.
    If you can’t unstick yourself, its over.

    • jessicap says:

      Here is a quote from Rachel Gardner on how writers give away their power: Some writers have felt humiliated or devastated at the rejection of their writing. Some are resentful or angry at the establishment or the system that is so difficult to crack. I don’t think I need to tell you that holding on to these negatives can be one of the biggest ways to give away your power. You’re allowing yourself to be held hostage by the past, and you’re keeping barriers erected in front of yourself. Do whatever you need to do to let go of the negatives.

      • Olivia says:

        Thanks Jessica.
        I think I’m more self doubt than rejection. I procrastinate a lot, but if i can get even one paragraph done, I’m happy.
        I ignore the house work until I’ve done some writing.

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