“Writing is a Bad Idea”
I got this note a few days ago from a writer named Kati Reijonen. I have no prior acquaintance with Kati. In a raw and quite brave way, Kati’s letter expresses the “heart of darkness” that all of us as writers and artists carry around in our guts. With Kati’s permission I have reprinted the entire note below. If you like, please respond to Kati in the Comments section. I’d be very interested to hear what we all think. I’ll post the answer I sent to Kati next week.
Dear Pressfield and company,
I am a Finnish writer, just submitted my 3rd manuscript to the publisher.
I have been reading Steves blogs and also books. They are very encouraging and uplifting but I have to say I disagree with Steve.
Writing is not for everybody. It is really hard, lonely and above all, financially disasterous.
I am a great example of things gone wrong,
I left everything to pursue my dreams. I wanted to write and so I did. I got book deals. Great. But the fact of the matter is that writing doesn’t bring you income, particularly if you write in Finnish, only spoken by 5 million people.
So the situation is that at the age of 60, I am broke. I have spent whatever I had saved and owned to support myself while writing and its all gone now. I have no idea what to do next. Writing another book seems like a bad idea.
There are no jobs for a person my age in this country.
I would no recommend anyone to do what I did. I am stressed sick. Only the tough and resilient survive this. Others, like me, fall. And fail.
So here I am – a victim of the creative path so many self help writers recommend walking. I wish I hadn’t.
My Muse has left me. I guess I wasn’t worth hanging around with.
I feel sorry to have written this but what I have written is my truth. Failing is really hard, particularly when you are too tired to get up anymore…
I hope I am the only loser. I really do. I want everybody to succeed. Maybe I am just a sad exception…
Anyway, all the best to you,
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