There are two realities every writer needs to know. So I read a tweet in my twitter stream the other day.
1) You will never make every reader happy.
2)You will never make yourself completely happy. (because the end product never quite lives up to the vision)
I agree on both accounts but the first reality never has plague me much. I can handle both criticism and a discerning viewpoint. My years as a high school football ref here in Texas were great for teaching me that skill. Matter of fact I wish people were more direct and blunt in their criticism for it is easier to see where they are coming from and sometimes even agree and fix the problem when it is clearly stated.
That second reality has plagued me the last few years. Back when I first started writing it was all enthusiasm and bluster. I wrote hoping but not truly expecting others would read my words. As I have found a measure of success over the years I now expect, though I am at times disappointed, that whatever I'm writing will see the light of day. With that expectation comes an innate pressure to make it absolutely perfect. To make the story and characters on paper every bit as alive and vibrant as the they are in the movie running through my brain.
And that my friends is an impossible task. As the author I will always know more about the story and its inhabitants than my readers. I understand this, but I struggle with the paradox. And this struggle has turned me into a very slow writer. Which is why there has been no follow up to THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES despite the fine folks over at TAG Publishing urging me on. It is why I migrated away from the blog. It is why I have a handful of projects in various stages of incompleteness.
But I'm not going to let this self imposed pressure define me or stop me from writing. I'm going to find a way to face the reality that no story I ever write will feel totally complete in my mind.
I know I am not alone. Many authors have battled such feelings. Perhaps that is why so many authors are known alcoholics.
Truman Capote once said, "I drink , because that's the only way I can stand it."
Edgar Allan Poe lived to see his 40th birthday but barely and while the exact cause of his death is unknown alcohol, drugs,
rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other causes have been cited.
O Henry, the master of the twist died an alcoholic at 48.
The list goes on and on. Faulkner, Bukowski, Fitzgerald, Kerouac, and of course Hemingway.
I am not trying to compare myself to any of these writers as they certainly had way more pressure and expectations on their shoulders. I am saying I understand where their compulsion to drink just might have came from. Of course the world is stocked full of drunkards without a drop of literary ambition so perhaps I am reaching here.
I guess this post is as much for myself and my close writing friends as much as anything. May it serve as a reminder perfection is not why we began writing, but excitement. Enthusiasm for telling a good story And that should not change regardless if but a few, or many happen to read our creations.