the good, the bad, and the ugly about the writing life

On Being a Joke, A Contradiction Every Writer Should Know

Michael speaks the truth about us fiction writers. He sees us down to our tighty whities (or pinkies, as you prefer).

I feel better that my secret is out. How about you?



Many aspects of writing are difficult. Finding the right words to capture passing fancies. Wading through rejection. The solitary work of it all. And by its very nature, writing involves a level of public exposure. Most of us who do it seek acknowledgement for our efforts from an audience. And here’s where trouble enters the picture.

When someone else reads your work, it’s like they’ve read you. If all goes well, it’s like they’ve accepted you in all your verbal glory. If things go poorly, it’s like being heartbroken for the first time all over again, admittedly in miniature, but a tiny piece of that same feeling nevertheless.

In writing classes from high school to university, students are cautioned not to equate themselves with their writing. Ever wonder why these cautionary statements have to be made over and over again? I’ve seen thousands of signs over sinks in restaurant bathrooms…

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