1.

(Denial)

“I have talent, but nobody recognizes it but me.” –said by an Anonymous failure.

I was here, at one point, years ago, although, I don’t know if I thought I had talent, or not. I was watching movies about genius writers and submitting mediocre English papers to my high school teachers. They would give me advice on how to improve, and I would promptly ignore it. Afterall, they just couldn’t understand my genius. Needless to say, I did poorly in my English classes. I watched Finding Forester, and believed myself to be like Jamal Wallace—hated for my abilities.

2.

(Anger)

Anger occurred after college, when I decided to write a fantasy novel of over 200,000 words. I couldn’t understand why Stephen King was getting published, and I wasn’t. I wasn’t even getting rejection letters in the mail. Any response that I got, was an automated email. I tried every possible strategy to get my manuscripts noticed. I tried registered letters, personal emails, but nothing worked. I began to educate myself as a writer. I read Stephen King’s On Writing. I read, The Principles of Style. I read, Charles Bukowski’s On Writing, which I highly recommend. I discovered writers that spoke to me. Writers, who were angry. Bukowski, became my literary God.

3.

(Bargaining)

This is when I really started praying. I began a blog. I began to get into esoteric philosophy, and to take the Bible literally. Would God bless me, if I didn’t sin? My friend told me about Semen Retention, and how it increases creativity. It is a spiritual practice with many benefits. Jesus said, “If a man looks at a woman with lust, he has committed adultery in his heart.” I began to shun women and eliminate sexual thoughts from my mind. This proved to be difficult, as Charles Bukowski was my guru, and I wanted to write just like him. Also, I admired Ian Fleming, along with Hemingway and Steinbeck. They all wrote about prostitutes and loose women.

4.

(Depression)

The rejection letters kept coming in. After 250 days of Semen Retention, I thought I was going to explode. My best friend suggested that my writing was a sexual outlet, and my subconscious mind was working overtime—no girls who read my blog would go out with me. However, my blog became a scandal at bible study, and I became infamous. I am now known as “The Writer.” “How do you write so much?” They ask. And I tell them. Finally, I got published, after writing half a million words, and I wasn’t even paid for it. My dream of becoming a New York Times Best Selling Author was shattered. But then, I asked a fateful question, “Why am I doing this?”

5.

(Acceptance)

I keep writing because I need to write. At the end of our lives, we will look back and define them by something. Perhaps, it’s a family, or a successful marriage. A marriage is meaningful because it’s a commitment. If we are scattered and distracted, our lives become meaningless. We have to choose to give our lives meaning. I am committed to writing. I hope to do it, on the last day of my life. Not that it will be remembered, but so that I can honestly say, “I did it.”

29 thoughts on “The 5 Stages of Grief for the Struggling Writer

  1. I once read that for every writer who gets published, there are around 10,000 who don’t. By logic alone, some of those 10,000 would be ‘good enough’ but just unlucky in the topics they are drawn to write about. Publishers want to make money – lots of it – and some topics won’t make their cut of “what will sell”. That can even be because the publisher believes the market is already saturated, in which case only a recognised ‘name’ – with a large, established fan base – will make the cut. Copying the styles of other writers therefore doesn’t help. If they’re going to be ‘natural’, a writer can’t choose what to write. They can’t choose what publishers will think has a market. In those respects, writing is just like the music industry. So one should write what one is drawn to write – make it as ‘full-blooded’ and authentic as one’s inner world and technical skills will allow – then submit the work to be published but not be concerned about getting accepted. Hone the craft of lifting the covers on your inner world and you may, eventually, strike a note that resonates with a publisher. But don’t make that your goal; you just can’t control it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well said. I try to write things I care about or I want to see. Chasing popularity and other people’s ideas of success isn’t always helpful and are detrimental to mental health, discipline, and motivation. There’s always a niche. Maybe the œurve can be placed somewhere else. 🤷🏾

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful post! I’ve indeed been through all these steps time and time again.

    The question every writer must ask themselves from time to time “why write?” I’ve filled journals trying to find the answers. For me, I suppose it feels at once a curse and a cure. To not write feels me with terrible dread. Writing is impossible, frustrating, and lonely. Ah. But we must do what we are called to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on The Elephant's Trunk and commented:
    This guy. I’ve been following him for a few months now and I’m not even sure what his name is. He’s dark yet funny, mysterious, complicated, strange and always entertaining. And he’s got me hooked. I decided to share this piece because it spoke to me; hell, I could have written it! I think it will speak to anyone who blogs and/or writes and wonders why they bother to do it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, your writing is certainly better than that garbled mess in my comment! Haha No idea how I missed that, but glad yoy were able to deciper the sentiment. And yes! Endurance is underrated; that is an intriguing quote from Bukowski.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m glad I found this account because everything on here is amazing and so complicated but fascinating and made me think.

    How did the religious things go?

    Liked by 1 person

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