I recently read an article that said more than 95% of blogs fail within their first twelve months. The reasons for failure vary from a lack of readership, to loss of interest on behalf of the author, and everything in between. But regardless of why they fail, the number shocked me. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been writing for this site for six years. I never envisioned that I would be one of the minority that made it.
I have always tried my hardest to write from the heart, and have told myself since the inception of this site that an author’s dreams are achieved when they move just one reader. But a friend recently brought to my attention that I have a subscriber list just shy of twenty thousand, and I felt that the milestone, coupled with the release of my sophomore novel, and my six year anniversary of blogging was worth acknowledging.
Although I rarely acknowledge them, I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have had the successes I have had. So I wrote a letter to the man I was right back when my journey as a blogger began. I wrote him a letter to give him the strength to keep on writing, even in those moments when he feels like giving up. And because there are people who have been following this site ever since that man produced his very first entry, I wanted to share it with those that choose to read it. Raw, and unedited. From the mouth of a wolf to the world eater I once was.
It’s July 17th, 2012, and you’re sitting at your computer with tears rolling down your cheeks as the view counter of your new website sits at zero. You’ve just posted the first blog you have ever written, and yet rather than feel proud at what you have achieved, you feel defeated. You’ve been having a rough time lately. In fact, you’ve been struggling with anxiety for as long as you can remember. I know it probably sounds like an exaggeration, but that post you just created, it’s going to alter the trajectory of your life from here on out. For better, or worse, you’re a blogger now. From this moment onwards, writing will be the cause of your sickness, and the cure to your disease.
I wanted to reach out to you, to tell you how proud I am of you for finding the bravery to post what you just did. It takes courage to not be afraid, and it takes strength to admit that you are weak.
I want to tell you about your future too. But before I do, I first need to acknowledge your past. You ended your post with a line that oozed apprehensive ambition, and it made me sad to read over it six years after it was originally produced. So, I want to repeat it back to you. I want you to read your own words and hear the pain in what you said. Then, before this letter is done, we’re going to talk it through.
Are you ready? Here it is:
Ten years from now, I want to be able to say that I had what it takes to look depression and misery in the eye, and tell it to fuck off.
You have already been writing for seven years at this point. You’ve had a few failed attempts at manuscripts, and even managed to complete one or two. Right now, you think what you have created is brilliant. But in time, you’ll come to understand just how terrible these initial scripts are. I know that it hurts to know how many agents and publishers have rejected your queries, and you feel humiliated that one piece of shit even took enjoyment in calling you out for a spelling mistake in your synopsis. You feel depressed that people don’t see the greatness inside of yourself that you do. But stick with it kid. Don’t ever lose hope. That character you have been writing about, Jason Dark, people are going to read his story one day.
Three years from now a company in the United States is going to publish the first of what is supposed to be a four-book series featuring him, and for a few brief moments, you’ll feel on top of the world. But before you reach what you will misconstrue as the summit of your achievements, you’re going to crash and burn. More than once.
That depression you spoke about? It’s going to get a whole lot worse. You’re going to push yourself to breaking point more times than you’ll ever be comfortable admitting. You’re going to set fire to manuscripts, destroy relationships, alienate your readers, and push yourself into a place so fucking black you won’t even be capable of finding the path you trod to get there.
Despite your own self-loathing, the number of views on your page is eventually going to tick past zero. Yet even though someone, somewhere is reading, you’re going to grow frustrated that so few care about what you’re going through, and the pains you have endured to blog about it. In the first six months of your website’s existence, less than a hundred people are going to view your work. Considering how hard you’re going to plug yourself to you friends via social media and in person, it’s going to make you feel as though you’re a failure.
This disappointment is going to make you begin to despise other writers. You’re going to be jealous of them, and you’ll begin producing posts laced with venomous undertones, telling anyone who will listen that they are undeserving of their successes. In hindsight, I can tell you that you shouldn’t judge them so harshly. One day you will learn to not only appreciate your fellow blogger, but also to use negativity as a fuel for your creative fires.
A few years now someone will tell you that you have no place in the literary industry, and you’ll use their criticism as motivation to publish an article with a website that receives over 18 million views a week. And the other bloggers; the ones you feel you need to destroy… Some of them are great writers, and wonderful people. Right now, your own frustration and insecurity are obscuring your ability to appreciate them, and to learn from their achievements. But you’ll get over that in time. And when you do, you’ll understand that we all have our own realities, and that it’s wrong for you to assume that you are the only person who knows what it feels like to hurt.
Speaking of hurting…
Your depression is going to really hurt your ability to resonate with an audience. Your first two years of blogging is going to be a shit storm of self-loathing, hate, and terrible metaphors that people struggle to palate. But then, in December 2014, you’re going to start to change. You’re going to start to become a man.
You’ll write a post about broken windows in response to a terror attack, defending a religion you have no affiliation with. The post will polarize your readers. Some will appreciate your ambition and willingness to take a stand. They will respect your appeal to the better angels of our nature, and offer their camaraderie and support. But many will call you an idealist, a child, and far worse. You’ll receive death threats, emails which consist of passages of scripture, and even see your name and photograph defamed on websites dedicated to intolerance.
It’s going to scare you. But you’ll fight back. You’ll give as good as you get, threatening to protect your beliefs with bloody knuckles and an acid tongue. Your war of words with one reader will escalate so rapidly that your partner and family will become concerned, so you’ll try to make peace by writing a post about bygones being bygones.
But the olive branch you extend is only going to make things worse. The reader will threaten to attack you, call your mother names, and claim that he is doing so in the name of his God. Unfortunately for him, you never really forgive him for this. The idea that anyone would use their faith as a means of projecting hate makes you feel ill. You’ll probably find it funny to know that six years later, you’re still dishing out his email address to every spam list that you can find. You know it’s a little immature to do so… but, fuck him. He shouldn’t have said what he did about your mum.
In 2015, you’ll publish a book, grow an audience, and begin to make a name for yourself. You’d never believe it, but a few months after your book is released, people are going to start contacting you to ask if you’d like to be interviewed on their radio shows and websites. They’re going to tell you that they enjoy your work, and ask if have any words of wisdom for up and coming bloggers. Your writing is going to improve a lot in this time. You’ll begin weaving the positivity that has begun to blossom inside of your chest through your words. Shit, you’re going to feel so goddamn good that you start sharing fictional pieces on your website too. I know that sounds great in theory. Believe me when I say that I once thought it was too. But after a while it’ll dawn on you that your mother and little sister have read pieces you’ve written about undressing a woman and feeling her writhe beneath your sheets.
And then, just when you feel like you have found your purpose in life, everything is really going to go to shit.
You’re going to live through a period of eighteen months during which two friends will take their own lives, the girl you thought you’d marry will walk out on you, you’ll have a health scare that is going to make you more afraid than you have ever been, and your publisher will tell you that they no longer wish to represent you.
You’re going to hit rock bottom, Chris. And you’re going to hit it real fucking hard. Your family and friends are going to be concerned about you. They’re going to fret for months about how different you have become. Your mother is going to ask you repeatedly if you need professional help, and if you have had thoughts of suicide. Your father will end a phone call by telling you ‘not to do anything stupid’, and unbeknownst to you, your friends will band together to make sure that someone is always watching over you whenever possible.
During this period, you’ll lose weight, quit writing, and get so sick that company you work for will ban you from showing up until you agree to visit a psychologist. Your writing will become macabre again. The confidence that once shined in your work will be shattered, and you’ll begin embracing analogies about flowers and heartbreak as a means of coping.
You’re going to be so lost inside your own depressive mindset that even though you tell your mum that you’ve never thought about giving up, you will. A lot. In fact, there’s going to be a few moments where the only thing that saves you is the knowledge of how painful it was when your friends took their lives, and your refusal to put the people who love you through that agony again.
Eventually you’ll find a way to start over, and you’ll begin writing a love story so that you can experience the happy ending you believe will forever allude you. You’re going to cry your way through the early stages of the first draft, and much of what you produce will need to be rewritten. But the project will ultimately become something you are truly proud of.
Writing about selflessness and love is going to teach you so much about who you are, who you have been, and who you want to become. Despite having drafted the sequel to your debut novel, you’ll abandon it and decide to publish your love story instead. You’ll distribute it yourself too. After years of viewing self-publishing as an act of creative defeat, you’ll decide not to follow the traditional publishing route when you realise that you’re more concerned with sharing what you have created with those who choose to read your work, than chasing down publishing contracts and mass market appeal.
The novel will come out just a few weeks before I write you this letter. It’s release, coupled with the realization that I have been blogging for six years, are the catalysts for this letter. See, I’m about to turn 30 in a few months, which has prompted me to think a lot about my past. Call me melancholy for doing so, but I just can’t help but turn my attention to where I have come from so that I can understand where I am heading in the future. Maybe it’s because some of the places that I have been, that you are yet to go, aren’t so great. Maybe I’m trying to disprove the sentiment people have often told me that the best indicator for future behavior is past behavior.
Whatever the reason for my looking back to progress forward, it was by doing so that I came to find the quote we both penned on July 17th, 2012 that I spoke of above. I looked right back on where my blogging journey started, and realised just how far I have come in the past six years. When I started blogging I was afraid, downtrodden, and lost. Just like you are right now. You just wrote a post about your father nearly dying, and how afraid you are to know that your little brother is struggling with anorexia. Now here I am six years later telling you that Dad is still kicking along, and your brother, he got his shit together, and he’s actually accomplished a hell of a lot more than most 22 year olds.
Perhaps you’d like to know that I’m not lonely, downtrodden, or lost anymore either. I feel like you’ll be excited to know that those feelings will pass. These days I’m a confident, proud, and happy near 30-year-old with two published novels to his name. I am also a son, a brother, a lover, an uncle, and although you won’t understand this analogy just yet, I’m a fucking wolf. And one day, you will be too.
Six year ago, when I was you, I told myself that a decade into the future I wanted to be able to say that I overcame depression and misery. But it turns out that I didn’t have to wait that long. And neither will you. Because we’re one in the same; perfectly imperfect in every single way. The next few years are going to fly by, so try to appreciate the small moments of happiness you will inevitably experience as best you can. Because it feels like just yesterday that it was July 17th, 2012 and I was sitting exactly where you are now.
I started writing because I feared who I was. But six years later, I continue to write because I’m damn proud of who I have become, and because I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to change anything about the path that I have walked. I know that you ended your first post by saying you wanted to tell depression to fuck off. Believe me, there was a time when I wanted to say that too. But I felt I needed to write to you and say you never will. Not because you lose your battle; but because you’ll learn that you can’t fight fire with fire, and you’ll kill depression with kindness instead.
Keep your chin up, Chris. Keep writing. And always remember that no matter how bad life may seem, there is always the possibility for it to get better. You just have to give it a a chance.
341 thoughts on “Epoch”
Thanks for likes and comments. It really means a lot
Reblogged this on Vijayagiri views.
Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m new in blogging so i need to learn more and more!
Reblogged this on Angels of light .
Hi Chris! brian.
Loved your detective wolf search trilogy of past present & future. Reminded me of beoncyys song learic saying she would give anything for just one more chance Not to give up.
What’s the difference between a zit and a catholic priest? A zit will wait until your 12 before it comes on your face.
I’m sorry I can’t help myself I’m still just a kid and Purposively always will be.
Truly your admirer. brian
Wow Chris, that letter was really powerful and I’m sure it will resonate with many bloggers, as it did me. Thank you. Caz 🙂
Nietzsche’s concept of the “eternal return of the same” resonates with me on reading this: everything you’ve ever done will be repeated again and again for all eternity, can you find it in yourself to say yes to all you’ve done and yes to all circumstances that you experience, good or bad? Once you reach this stage, a stage where no one or no thing can hurt you anymore, lies contentment in existence. But also upon this realization you also realize the heavy weight of all actions from then on. Or something like that, anyway!
Keep going and never give up, until the wolf eats you.
Hi Chris, as I’ve just started my blog and you’re the first person to like my post I decided to check yours out! So glad I did, it’s took me months just thinking about starting and now I’ve read this I will endeavour to keep it up. Still not sure what I’m doing but it’s a case of finding my round and plodding on. Thanks, Denise.
Wow, this is inspiring! Thank you so much for the vulnerability of this writing! I love it!
What an incredible piece. Thank you for the like on my own blog; it led to me to this gem.
Reblogged this on Mary Jaimes-Serrano and commented:
Your Past Does Not Dictate Your Future. We all have battles to overcome, and this post is one that I know more than one blogger out there needs to see. We all have those moments when we want to quit and walk away. Those days when we think we are not worthy. On these days, remember that you only need to reach one person with your writing to change the world and that one person needs to be you. Believe in yourself even when you think no one else does.
Thanks for taking time away from your writing to visit my blog!
WOW Chris, you have been to hell and back … I had no idea you’d been through so much!
I saw your ‘like’ on my first real attempt at writing fiction today and that alone was uplifting for me 🙂 You have incredible talent … you rose to the pinnacle of success, are you still riding that wave?
Thanks for this, it’s a wonderful perspective for those of us looking into the murkiness of our own future, wondering if a successful writer is peering back at us. It’s quite inspiring, reminding me of an eastern adage “Fall seven times, stand up eight,” where that future success won’t exist unless I stay the course now.
I’m happy you visited and liked my own work, so I could become aware of yours. I look forward to reading more. ^_^
Hi! Loved your blog, I’ve been blogging for nearly three years and a half. Would be glad if you could give some advice to a young writer 🙂
I’m so happy for you ,Chris, and this is a really beautiful letter you wrote to yourself. I remember you from several years ago when I was blogging under another name and topic ~ I dropped off WordPress for a few years and came back on yesterday and I’m really glad you tapped the liked button on my first post on my new blog so that I can pick back up on reading your work.
I just read the number of comments. Wow! To think I like to be personal. Will I ever cope? Wow! Well, I saw that you liked my post, I came to check out some of yours and share the love.
Happy sixth year. Cheers🎉🎇🎆
To look depression in the eye. Brave words indeed. And it has to be done so very often….
Hey, I have to be honest, that I can ‘t say any words here..because there would be too many for an entry. But I’ll say these short sentences . Good writing, sad story.. I don’t know what to say. All I can pray for ks hope, joy and peace. . peace in all you say, do or take part of. And you may not understand this but I’ll say CHristmas.. To me, no matter what happens anywhere in this world, to me, this is still the season of Christ’s birthday. You are yourself in your writing; here’s hoping you don’t mind me being myself in my note here. I do’nt’ know you for your family but here is my greeting anyways Peace t o all. 🙂
“Maybe I’m trying to disprove the sentiment people have often told me that the best indicator for future behavior is past behavior.”
“Not because you lose your battle; but because you’ll learn that you can’t fight fire with fire, and you’ll kill depression with kindness instead.”
Yes and yes. 🙂 Great letter Chris. Thank you for writing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started and stopped writing, websites, and blogs. This year I’m determined to be part of the 5% in the land beyond the first 12 months. See you there.
Oops, I don’t mean yes and yes to the quoted sentences. I meant fuck no to the past behavior being an indicator of future behavior, haha. Yes to the second one. ❤
I am right now at the very stage you started in 2012…it was like you were speaking directly to me. Thanks very much Chris for your words of encouragement. It means a lot for beginners like me.
I really needed this today. You are truly an inspiration and I hope I can reach the level of success you have in the future. I recently got back into blogging, have finally started writing my novel, and on those days I feel like I can’t do it, I’m going to read this and remind myself it’s possible. Thank you for this!
You are an inspiration. Thank you.
I LOVE THIS. I FEEL THIS. I NEEDED THIS. Just finished posting my “first” post on my blog today. Quotation marks because I started blogging a long time ago…quit for years sitting in darkness and depression and had the courage to GET UP and start again. I love this because I see myself and it’s beautiful. All of it. The sadness, the triumph, the agony and the triumph. Your story is a beautiful journey and I look forward to following along as I continue mine. ❤️
I am SO sorry to read this. I’ve been in a similar situation.
I’ll be praying for you, man. Even when these medical emergencies end, the emotional fallout takes a long time to process. Be well!
I am new to this whole blogging thing and have battled with depression and sadness for awhile now. I’ve had a dream to be a writer since childhood and have allowed life to keep me at bay, writing only in journals and notebooks here and there. I finally said fuck it! It’s time I try this thing for real and if no one reads what I write at least I know I put myself out there and said what I needed to say. YOU were my first like. You liked my post and tonight I cried with relief that even one person took the time to look at something I wrote. Thank you for being my first and for providing an encouragement that a newbie needs. I’ll never forget you.
Great work Chris!
Oh, and Thank you for the Like on my latest post!
I found your blog because you liked a post on my blog. Knowing that the person who wrote this post (and who experienced all of this) took the time to read something I wrote and “liked” it feels like such a blessing. Thank you for your generosity both in your writing and in your reading.
Thank you for this post. As a blogger wannabe, I find it heartening.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Because you liked my current post (that I struggled to write for the past few days) I’m here on your page. And this post here WOW, it’s good to read about someone spilling their guts out online, being completely real and vulnerable. I really appreciate this type of writing. I haven’t read any of your work Chris, but I do feel encouraged to keep going. I’ve stopped and started SO many times. I have so much time on my hands now and no excuses, so it’s time to get with it. Thank you so much for passing by. I hope to one day write my own letter to my past self about my success. Sending good vibes ❤
That is so so touching and inspiring!👏
At a point I saw a picture of myself whispering to me. Thank you for not giving up. You can see a lot of people look up to you. You are a star. Fan, friend and fellow blogger from Africa.
Absolutely beautiful. So many beautiful insights, but I particularly loved: “Writing about selflessness and love is going to teach you so much about who you are, who you have been, and who you want to become.” Blogging is such a strangely intimate platform, in which we share a journey with whomever decides to observe it. The journey, like recovery, is non-linear, and while I’m a new reader/observer to your blog/journey, I am thankful to to bear witness to it. Excellent post and deeply touching.
Wow this is so moving! Thanks for sharing 🙌🏾
Wow this is so moving! I get that sometimes when you’re feeling inadequate it’s easy to let this feeling turn into resentment for other successful people. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
being new to this field and reading your blog inspired me and filled me up with positive vibe. thank you so much for sharing your story it helps and inspire people like me.
Very cool and interesting. A new perspective of behind the blogging rather than viewing the blogging. I loved it 🙂
It really boosts my confidence thanks, Chris for sharing your experience. I would like to collaborate with you for my upcoming motivation blog. Please dm me on Insta @ivablog.in for further discussion😊
This is really beautiful and touching. Your life is inspiring and truly amazing. Everyone experiences pain and suffering, but it is what we do with these things that matter. Your post is another indicator that there are those who do not surrender. Loved reading this.
Hi Chris! I had started my blog on April 28th and your like meant a lot to me! It is my 41st like .
These are my blogs. Please follow and like🙏😊
Thanks for sharing this! I am new in blogging so this really helped and it was quite inspiring. 😊🥰
Failed because of expectations right? I expect to get famous and rich and have a non meaningless occupation etc got it
“I started writing because I feared who I was.” 👌🏾
I am sorry for your loss. I know the pain. I lost my father as a child.
Fortunately, many of us still haven’t dropped out of the blog world– mainly because there will always be a following of folks with similar interests to read and share. Just block out the first time agitators… and move on with your penned down thoughts and your own particular following. Works for me. Peace.
Thanks Chris, God bless!
This post gives me so much hope! I’m so glad I found it! Thank you, Chris!
I agree with the comments, man, this post really comforted me. Having been through challenges and insecurities, it’s good to be reminded that many of us are battling the same stuff but we can win through kindness, hope, and persistence. Thank you Chris Nicholas for sharing
Hey man, I checked out your blog because you liked a couple of my posts (cheers for that!) – was really curious about who would do that; you see I’m still at the 6 month stage of blogging…anyway what you wrote here is pretty cool and I can relate to it – you’re providing hope for others in tough times and that’s cool, too!