Art by Simon Prades
"Hi Ksenia! I'm currently writing my second novel. The first one was so easy; such a continuous rush of excitement and inspiration and creativity. But this one... is very different. It's the first time I've lost all faith in my writing and thought that it all is pure shit, and wondered how I'll ever be able to turn this into something readable. I feel like just giving up. How do you do it? Are you ever faced with these moments of despair and futility in your writing? You are so goddam inspiring—you've made a career out of writing books all by yourself, in a language that isn't even your native tongue! That amazes me. I'm hoping you might be able to pass on some wisdom to me. Thank you!"
Hi Spencer! Thank you for asking this difficult question. We like to boast about the rush of writing but we don't like as much to talk about the other side of it, do we? We like to hide, to pretend, to blame writers' block, or whatever. Most of the time we do it quietly, we the non-social creatures who don't like to air out our personal problems in public which is why we like to write fiction in the first place, right? And the truth is, most of the time after we decide that what we write is so bad there is no point in continuing, we quit. And that's a shame. So many books could've been written. So many books never get finished because of this fucking internal police.
"You're not good enough. You'll never be good enough. So why the hell do you even try? What chance have you got? Who do you think you are? You think you're so special? I'm sorry to break it to you, but you're nothing. You're a blimp on the ass of the Universe. Not even that. You're the ingrown hair to be yanked out. You're a parasite. Just look at your writing, what kind of drivel is that? How much worse can you get, dummy? Quit it. Go get a job like a respectable member of society. Make some money, go on vacation, get drunk. Forget this writing idea. You suck. You know you suck."
Oh, it never stops, does it? It just won't shut up. So how do you continue writing when what's staring at your from the page is so awful you want to stick your head in the oven and turn on the gas?
The knowledge that you will get better by not quitting.