Chuck it All in?

There are times when it’s too hard to go on, too much effort for no reward, or even acknowledgement.

That’s what happens with writing. Years and years of work and practice while forever engaging in learning the skills required. Asking for help, desperate to hear some honest feedback to know what others think and feel about how the words affect them.

And more work. Fingers bearing callouses, scars, swellings that cause errors and frustration.

Years and years, into the decades of learning and ever-seeking for something, just one little thing to make it worthwhile.

Why do I go on, if it’s like this? Why does it matter so much if no one else is ever going to read it, feel it, know about it? What is the value in killing myself with the desire to tell this story if it doesn’t go anywhere beyond the moment it’s in?

That point rears its ugly head. The point of giving it up, of becoming a normal person, of planning to do things in the real world …

I popped my head up, and it’s full of paranoia, of pain and suffering and fear, and I return to my womb of imaginary worlds within this one, of times and places and people where I do understand what’s going on.

But there’s no one on the other side, no one listening, reading, watching those characters as they undertake a metaphoric journey of learning (Yes, it is. A story is a long metaphor where the suffering is done by the character, but the reader is the one who learns the lesson/understands the purpose).

I’m there again. I want to give up, put all the notebooks away, hide the laptop, put all the drafts in boxes to go to the incinerator or compost. I want to let go, to emerge from the worlds within, to live a little.

And then I’m forced to not do it for a period of time. It’s a short moment, in the scheme of things, in the journey of learning, but it’s time away. I’m forced to not do what I love to do.

The mind is shocked. Pain sets in, and the fictional world beckons, sends a little bit of light to the horizon. And I look, and I imagine, and I listen to what might be said in that situation.

I’m back. The storyteller can’t go that long without the deepest inner desires sending out a reminder of why it matters.

So, although I may have to wait a few weeks before doing any serious word-counts of writing (this is a pre-planned post, so not like me), the real me, the storyteller me, is back.

Isn’t that a song? I’m back, I’m back – but we don’t talk about that fella, do we? How about the other one, Back on the Road Again – or is it the horse? Not being a music person, I’ll leave it to you to find the right metaphor for the metaphor. Whatever is chosen, I will be back, whether it’s on the bike or the horse or the road … I’ll be back (isn’t that in a movie?).

Photo by Farzad Sedaghat on

25 thoughts on “Chuck it All in?

  1. That first line and the pic had me worried for a second, Cage. 🙂
    A brilliant encapsulation of the writer’s lot, not only in forming the words in the first place but finding a sympathetic audience. To paraphrase Churchill’s dictum on democracy, writing is the worst way to save your sanity, except for all the others. Re finding places to publish my work, I recently posted this piece:

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  2. I don’t think that writers are the only ones who suffer through this. Creative artists be they writers , painters, composers , musicians and even actors to some extent go through it and come back to their art because they love it.

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    • It’s easy to see the ones who succeed by pushing ever-onward, never giving up, continually learning, but I agree, it’s the obsession with the art/craft/passion that keeps the person going through all obstacles and setbacks.

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  3. I write because I can’t not write. I write for myself. I had grand illusions at one time, but I am aging out of any likely dramatic emergence. I’ve found that once I admitted the unlikelihood of success in any public way…I write better. More often. With more pleasure. But, I’m retired and I have a lot of time and not that much else in life calls me anymore. Good luck.

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  4. I’m glad you’re back. I can’t imagine being able to write with a house full of people and the constant worry that they’ll become ill, or that your SO will, or that you will. As for being read…I think we’re all in that place. When I get too discouraged, I do graphics. When even that doesn’t work, I tell myself that I write for myself and if no one else reads it then tough you-know-what. And then I tell myself that I’ll probably become a best selling author after I’m too old or senile to know or care. 😉 Hang in there!

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  5. It’s addicting that’s for sure. Well penned Cage.

    This year alone l have known writers give up and say it doesn’t matter, but l fear they gave up for the wrong reasons and yet still they write, they write for audience, readers, themselves, and they say “I have given up writing!!”

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