‘No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.’
I often have days where I contemplate giving up. They’re the kind of days where I sit down at my computer to write and think to myself why the hell am I doing this? I’m twenty six years of age and I’ve never had a career, I’ve never finished any of the multiple university degrees that I’ve started, and despite having served more than a decade in the workforce I don’t really have anything of substance to my name. I really struggle when those moments arrive. I sit at my computer for hours and stare blankly at a screen clouded by my own insecurities and self-doubt wondering why I don’t just give up and become happy like everyone else. I want to be a writer; I am a goddamn writer. But in those moments I question whether I have what it takes to make a career out of this.
I hate those days. I hate when all the bravado and bluster is stripped away and the lost, lonely little boy that I once was is left sitting naked before a computer he bought with labors that make him feel ashamed. However for every day of isolation and insecurity that I suffer through there is a day of contentment. For every hour of self-doubt there is a period where my fingers dance so effortlessly across a keyboard, or my pen scribbles frantically against pages in a desperate attempt to keep up with the thoughts spilling from my mind.
I’m a man of contradictions. I’m a wolf; yet at times as vulnerable as a wounded beast. I’m a world eater, yet at times I’m afraid of my own realities. I’m a man, but still a child. And I’m a writer. Yet I still feel like I haven’t quite made it. I’m succeeding, but at times I look around at the life I’ve tried to create and all I can see is the decaying carrion of opportunities squandered.
Someone once told me that I must be crazy to try and create a life out of writing books. They were right. The truth is that I’m frigging insane. No one of a sound mind would ever spend ten years chasing down a career with no clearly defined path and no guarantee of success. They’d think that such a perilous decision was insanity. And it is. But after ten years I couldn’t imagine living my life any other way. I’ve become so used to being lost in my own thoughts that to lead a normal existence where I’m just like everyone else seems too difficult to comprehend.
So while everyone else I know lives in the present; I live in a world of fire and ice.
In those down days when I feel alone my mind is ablaze, yet my heart is frozen. While an inferno of self-doubt melts away my confidence and cripples my desire to write, coldness settles over my chest until my heart becomes as fragile as glass. If I were to cradle it in my hands and let it fall to the floor it would shatter into a million pieces and the dreams that I’m fighting for would be lost forever.
In my brighter days my heart burns with a force capable of turning the entire world to ashes, while my head is icy, calm, and methodical. The fires of my soul feed upon failures of days gone by and leave behind a head of dispassionate clarity. My heart ingests all the self-loathing and negative thoughts like oxygen, turning them into creative fuel. In those days I watch the world burn in the eyes of my peers and I know that I am good enough; and that if I just keep fighting for my dreams one day I will achieve them.
Lately I’ve been feeling pretty down. I’ve been struggling to find the inspiration to write and have felt the bitterness of winter turn my heart to ice while the firestorms of my mind have reduced my creativity to dust. I feel like I’m forever on the cusp of success and as though I’m always chasing something new. I wanted to write a novel; so I did. I wanted to see my work in print; and now it is. Now I want to do it all over again; so I am. I feel like I’m stuck in this perpetual cycle of fighting for my dreams and I’m so goddamn tired. I’m tearing myself apart every day just to thaw my frozen heart and hopefully lay the foundations of future successes. I’m stuck in a terrible case of writer’s block, but I’ve been trying. I promise that I’ve been trying.
I’ve been sitting at my computer and forcing words onto a page. They’re not very good and none of them will ever appear in any blog post or book. But at least it’s something. And with each word that I manage to write a little piece of my heart softens and I begin to melt away the ice that leaves me feeling alone and set the world alight once again.
I may feel a little lost right now, but I’m never going to give up on this. I’m never going to quit no matter how lonely those darker moments may feel. Writing is so ingrained in my soul that without it I wouldn’t be half the man that I am today. We all have self doubts and moments where the odds seem stacked against us. In those times others may look at us and believe that we are mad to fight so valiantly when all hope is lost. But the only madness is giving in and throwing away a dream you want so badly that it hurts. Self-doubt will always pass. You just have to keep your head down low and work through the negativity. Keep pushing and refuse to give up. After all, there’s no point in coming as far as I have only to give up just because of a little fire and ice.