The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

‘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.

134 thoughts on “Fire & Ice

  1. Sounds like you’re still trying to figure yourself out, and the thing about that is you CANNOT hurry this process of self-knowledge, because everything WILL come in time, IF and when it’s suppose to happen, and, in the meanwhile, you can only, wait, and that, would be from MY personal experiences, and I KNOW how stressed out it can feel, NOT knowing who you’re supposed to be, because i’d already been there…so, just take it all slowly, and, remember, you CAN’T rush progress!

  2. arlene says:

    Self-doubt will be there somewhere in the recesses of the mind but once you get beyond the doubting and giving up, it will always be a whole new world…you are reborn.

  3. I had a breakthrough moment recently. I wrote. On paper. With a pen. It seriously changed the way I thought. Try it, when you’re ready.

  4. We all have those days nonetheless, you tell yours with so much passion that anyone would read this will always “refuse to give up”.

  5. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

  6. Chris, you don’t have writer’s block, this is a beautifully written example proving that you don’t! Probably just the plot of the story you’re writing is stuck. Don’t panic, keep writing even if it’s total shit. Sometimes you just need to keep writing. There’s this thing called editing? Go back later and cull the detritus from your manuscript. Sometimes just WRITING can move you past the block. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken my characters out to dinner, had them run errands, etc just to keep going. It really works because it keeps you thinking about your characters, develops their personalities, tells you what they do when they’re not doing anything interesting, you know what I mean? None of it will be important enough to keep in your story, mind you, but at least you’re getting to know your people better! Also ask yourself this question: do I love writing enough that I would do it for free? If nobody but my friends read it? If the answer to that question is yes, then you really are a writer! You said yes, didn’t you? 🙂

    1. callmewynona says:

      I couldn’t agree more, with this comment. Yes, you are a writer, even if it never became a career. And yes, the best way to get “unstuck” in a story, is to to keep writing. Who knows if whatever place you take your characters to, ends up opening big doors in the storyline. I’ve gotten over many a hump just by writing whatever comes to mind. In the end, I’ve edited half of that stuff out, but it really does help you get somewhere where you wouldn’t have thought to go before, and develop your own characters. So you begin to write the story from a different perspective than you had before. That’s the number one advice I always give to people who are stuck in the writing process.

      1. Thanks for backing me up Wynona! 😉

  7. Fahad Nasir says:

    “..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 got three words for you man: I can relate. To all this. The writer’s block dragging you through the vines of hysterically numbness into a pile of unproductive crap. Believe it or not, I’m going through it now. This is the stage yes. The stage of self-doubt and powerless black scribbles over white staring at me, torturing me. This was really a very well-written piece. It doesn’t feel that bad to realize I’m not the only one. I love the above quote I mentioned of yours. Beautiful wordplay. Best of luck for your future endeavours. Peace out!

  8. thenssthen says:

    I think everyone feels this way about something that drives them. I never considered myself interested in writing as a career when I was young, but now I know that I could not survive without it. As you say, I would not be myself if I did not write. I’ve often found myself in your place.

    But I hope you find that courage once more, to write and get the words out, even if it hurts.

  9. Sometimes, when you’ve led the lemmings off the cliff, and you wonder if it is worth it all; a voice comes out from the dark and reminds you of what you are capable. You remember someone told you the power of great writing, of its need, and you pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and settle into the madness.

  10. Lozzie Chai says:

    Soul searching. We all do it. But you know what you want, you want for it so badly, your passion is on fire. Don’t let your flame dwindle.
    You have a natural talent that is beautiful, a work of art, you must showcase this to the world. I love it, your style, it inspires me to create and sparks my motivation to write more. Xx Loz

  11. Lozzie Chai says:

    Reblogged this on World of wonders and commented:
    Beautifully written and has sparked my motivation to write more often. My creative flare is there, but recently I haven’t had the ignition to light that fire that burns at my desire to write.
    Reading this blog post by this amazing writer has fuelled my fire and as of tomorrow morning , well today shall I say I’ll light up and set fire to my fingers that will incinerate the keys with an eagerness like a a raging inferno 🙂

  12. Writing takes courage and patience and surrender. Can’t be forced. Sit and take a few deep breaths and begin to write. You did it in this post and it was passionate and so beautifully worded. At only 26 you have your whole life with many experiences ahead of you. When you can’t seem to find the words, perhaps taking a day and doing something completely out of your comfort zone will help move that energy and get the fires stirring again. I know you will do well. Your passion is your joy.

  13. I’m glad you’re not giving up. You ARE a writer and you WILL succeed. Progress will come in its own time and maybe the fire and ice will enhance your experiences later down the road and you’ll be somewhere you never would have been without it.

  14. Your words are absolutely stunning. Finding a clear path is overrated. It’s the kinks, the down days, the sad uncertainty that creates such poetic stories. You are a story, and your story is amazing. Keep writing, your perspective is changing lives.

  15. eonserotica says:

    Poignant piece. Pregnant with possibility. Persist!

  16. Dr.Bukky says:

    Nice piece. A lot of us have been there. I love the choice of words. Indeed you are a great writer.

  17. Somebody says:

    Every day I feel like giving up writing. Don’t do it. Just keep writing. It’s the only way to overcome the urge to quit. Keep writing!

  18. aditilibra11 says:

    That’s the spirit!
    Don’t let the fire and ice blow out your fire!
    And it’ll be a great loss to the blogging world! 🙂

  19. ladyarae says:

    I was smiling like an idiot at this post. Every word is me. Ambition is a fickle friend and being a creative makes it so much more difficult because it is a gamble. Days of determination followed by days of frustration. Wanting to achieve our goals that seem impossible. All because we can’t survive without our art. If only we could be blissfully ignorant of our artistic drive and be happy working any old job. I’d still probably hate it.

  20. philosoforus says:

    I enjoyed reading this, so you probably don’t need to worry about writer’s block. You say everyone else is living in the present. I’m not so sure about that. Only someone who is truly aware of the present can write like this. Keep up the good work!

  21. sunil4509 says:

    Awesome man…keep up ✌✌

  22. spacecortez says:

    Hang in there man, anyone that tries to write for any work at all can probably relate to this post. I know I can. You’re not alone in this sensation. Good luck and keep at it!

  23. jjwalters says:

    If I had one thing to teach the world . . . it would be to relax and enjoy the day.
    Chill out man, fame is a whore . . . irrelevancy is a loyal companion.

  24. Amanda Ricks says:

    I really want to comment about something, but it seems it will just get lost amongst the rest. Next time, when it’s appropriate. Beautifully written, very well expressed. Been there, it’s a matter of survival in the writer’s world.

  25. Amanda Ricks says:

    Reblogged this on Surprising lives and commented:
    This post written by Chris Nicholas is beautifully expressive and also full of gut-wrenching frustration. Although Chris is a writer/author the feelings that he is writing about can be applied to so many of us and you who struggle to keep going and staying focused on our passions. Give it a good read.

  26. dashocker71 says:

    This spoke volumes to me. I can relate! I have been writing on and off for a few months now. The main reason I have reluctant to pursue is the self doubt. I wish you the best of luck man!

  27. kayuk says:

    If the number of comments on this post is any indication, you are not alone in with your doubts. We have all felt the separation and wondered if our efforts to commnicate are getting lost in the hundreds of thousands of posts going online on any given day. All any of us can do is to cling to our tenuous belief in the value of our own thoughts, ideas and production and keep on keeping on.

  28. CiCi Jackson says:

    I love the way you put your words together. For me, it’s not always easy to describe myself or my thoughts through words. Keep searching and keep writing. 🙂

  29. Wow. My exact sentiments, but I am not a writer, you are! Don’t give up! 🙂

  30. Delilah says:

    Even your writer’s block is worth reading. You capture what all writers have experienced. Beautiful words. Keep going.

  31. I am not a writer, but one thing i am sure of. Anything you are trying so hard to get, anything that stresses you up. Anything you are after so bad, you will get it someday. Yearning for it is part of the process. Just never let the strong feeling of needing it go. Just don’t

  32. anyushka says:

    “Happy like everyone else” does not exist. You are a goddamn writer. Write.

  33. crabbymommy says:

    Joyce almost threw his manuscript into the fire, Dr Seuss’s books were rejected 27 times, Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times, J.K. Rowling submitted Harry Potter to 12 publishing houses, all of whom rejected it…history is awash with examples of writers who struggled but then made it. And you will too. Your writing is brilliant. I loved what you wrote in this post – how you expressed yourself…

  34. Ricky Pennington says:

    After I got through the first paragraph I thought damn this guy is good with words, the article I just published on here was on the same wave length so I know what you mean but yours was a pleasure to read and I look forward to reading all of your other works. -Ricky

  35. poetinjena says:

    I just get such a huge kick out of seeing how someone’s public display of self-induced torture makes for such a popular read!

    What exactly it is that appeals to me so in this, must have to do with my own inner sado-masochist, who’s toes now can’t help but tingle right down to their very tips! 😉

  36. yvilor says:

    I know exactly what you mean, Chris. I’m at that point myself this week – just really down, something goes wrong, and then you get almost too depressed to write. You think: “It’s all going to be junk anyway.” Keep at it though. It is all worth it in the end. I can honestly say that. And by being honest, you’re doing the right thing.

  37. Glynis Jolly says:

    I understand what you’re talking about. We push and shove to get the words out, knowing that we might, just might have a eureka moment. It’s been a while since I’ve felt good about my writing, yet I keep plucking away hoping it will all turn around.

    Could it be that we, as writers, like wallowing in the depths?

  38. All in all sounds like success to me. Great read.

  39. Writer’s block can be from feeling like your entire life is going on autopilot. Sometimes a change in things…schedule, people, activities, perspective…can give new inspiration.

    Even small changes or doing something different for one day a week can help. Being around the same people and seeing the same surroundings can slow down creative thinking.

    Thinking of you and wishing you changes,

  40. Athena says:

    Hey I can feel what you’re feeling right now in a deep way, I have been there and know this feeling I hope it goes quickly for you and you return to normal

  41. nimmu says:

    Totally relatable! I think every writer feels this way at one point. But the only thing I learnt…is to never give up!

  42. We are all islands – alone even when surrounded by others. The writing is a vital expression for us and you do it well. Your time is coming – keep onward fellow sojourner.

  43. We are all islands – basically alone even when surrounded. Keep on fellow sojourner – writing is the best and only expression for us – the way to figuring it out and surviving. Without it- no real juice, passion nor purpose. It is a gift. So lean into it – give yourself grace.

  44. I have often said of myself: “I am nothing if not intensely myself.” It’s nice to meet a fellow study in contradictions. Loved the post.

  45. Fillandra | the Transformative Writer says:

    I know how that feels like, for my own reason though it might be the same in the end. (Look at my post good morning system 😉 )
    I doubt that the others are happy. They are just in their comfort zone. And fear keeps them there. But I believe the world will become a better place when people start to follow their hearts and do what they love.

  46. PuercaLinda says:

    Wow. You definitely slapped writer’s block in the face with that piece. I was able to empathize with every word.

  47. walkanewway says:

    “I’ve been sitting at my computer and forcing words onto a page.”

    I’ve been doing the same. I’m trying to keep up the writing, even if it isn’t any good right now (at least, not any good in my eyes). I have a long post I’m in the process of writing, and had no motivation to work on today, so I made myself write about something else- anything else- just to keep it up.

    I’m no writer, but I like to write. I keep reading that to get better at writing, I need to KEEP writing.

    I have to look up this book you wrote now, and wait to hear about this lion, stick, and dog.

    Cheers 🙂

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