Your stories will outlast this peculiar, fucked-up moment in history, but for those stories to outlast, you first gotta write ’em.
I don’t know who you are or what you write: maybe what you need to write is raw escapism, or maybe your form of resistance and persistence demands you use your stories to tackle the hinky fuckery going on. But resist, and persist, with art, and with narrative.
You can do it. But it won’t be easier. I expect it’ll be harder this year just as it was harder in 2018 — harder than it feels like it should be. But that makes it all the more worth doing. Don’t let your stories be lost to this bullshit. Save them. Write them.
Persist. Forgive yourself. Write despite — or better yet, write TO spite. Embrace the game of inches and understand you won’t always sprint for miles. One word at a time, one sentence, one paragraph, one scene, a house built a brick at a time.
Some days will be harder than others. Turn away from the news when you can. Save time for yourself, give it to yourself as a gift before you give your time to anybody else, or to anywhere or anything else. Art hurts. Stories are squirmy. We live in strange times. Persist.
You need to do it. We need you to do it. Your stories are yours. Full of you. Full of what you believe and what you fear, brimming with your notions both conscious and unconscious, tied to all you’ve known, you’ve loved, you’ve hated. The world needs you and your tales.
There’s no map but the one you draw. No process of anyone’s you can borrow. You gain your groove by wearing it into the floor one micrometer at a time. It’s erosion. Water on stone to find its path. It makes it harder in times like these because we want it to be math. PERSIST.
You don’t know you can do it. You don’t know that you belong. You can do it. You belong as much as anybody. You’re an impostor, sure, because we’re all impostors, we’re all here unasked for, unbidden, uninvited, wearing our masks.
I worry for those just starting, just trying to begin — what a difficult time for you to try to start off on a creative path. But it’s vital you do it. We need your voice, your energy, your ideas. It won’t be right out of the gate. That’s hard. But true. And yet you persist.
Throw some of the fucks out of your fuckbasket. Autonomous functions get harder when we overthink them. Sleeping. Breathing. Writing is like that, too. Write anyway. Write without thinking too much, too hard. Offload your worry to Future You. Just write. And persist.
Bleed on the page if you gotta. Sing and scream. Be angry there. Be vigilant and sad and unsafe. Write madly and with undistilled fury. Write with love, too. Love for yourself even if you can’t see it. Love for the story and the process — even if you can’t feel it.
There’s no one way forward. Forward isn’t always forward. Sometimes it’s sideways and sidesteps: hinky, wonky, janky-ass backroads and short-cuts and getting lost in dark forests. Sometimes you go BACKWARD. That’s okay, too. Whaddya do?
That’s right, you persist.
Sometimes writing isn’t even writing, sometimes storytelling is about thinking, about chewing on something, it’s just you revisiting it again and again, slow-roasting it over hours, days, weeks, months, even years. Recognize that. Persist through it.
And writing is rewriting, too. It’s getting it wrong before you get it right. Sometimes it’s getting it wrong, then even WRONGER, then fucking it all up before you can see it, lined up like a line of crystals in crepuscular beam of sunlight. That’s how it is, sometimes. Persist.
You got this. You won’t feel like you got this. I don’t feel like I got this. I feel overwhelmed by it. I worry I’m not good enough or that I don’t belong. Every book is harder than the last. But I keep on.
And so will you.
Persist, persist, persist.
Into 2019. And past it.
Merry happy fellow word-herders, ink-slingers, penmonkeys.