The plateau effect in my writing career
I have not stopped working on ‘Witch of An Unfortunate Kind,’ though I have not been posting new chapters either. Since I am handwriting this particular project, I have already written ten chapters that I have not published yet, just because I somehow could not find time and willingness to edit and type those chapters for the actual publication.
I call it the plateau effect in my writing career
I know a lot of writers can relate; writing feels like teeth-grinding a piece of granite at times. I wish I took Charles Bukowski’s words about writing more seriously when I was younger. Remember his poem: so you want to be a writer?
if it does not come bursting out of you
in spite of everything
don't do it.
Each time I was reading it, a rebellious part of me shouted in sore throat – do not listen to anyone, you are the master of your life! All because I wrongly interpreted those lines. To me they were the echo of my inner doubts and fears. Only now I fully understand the meaning of these words: being an artist takes a universal courage.
Aside from that 'shallow' gloss that I saw in those lines back then, I now can see the gold depth in them as well.
The message in this poem is not to urge you to surrender but to urge you to dive deeper into your art.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
In my writing, I feel like a kneeled giant. I have a lot of projects and writing fiction is a huge part of my life. But I seem to be terrified to lift up my gigantic head. The worst part about it is that this fear is like a slippery fish tail. At times I do not even realize I have it or as my therapist says, I just refuse to admit that I have it and work towards solving it.
My friend who gave up on writing
Here is a personal story that freaks me out to the present day. I have a friend who just like myself was a fiction romance writer. He had been writing and trying to publish his works to make a decent living off writing novels for five years. But nothing worked.
As he said:
no one seemed to care about my books.
So after five years of living in poverty and trying to pursue his dream, he gave up.
The last words is what freaks me out in this story.
It was obvious that I was not meant to be a writer, so I gave it up. —Said he.
Today he has a successful online business that has nothing to do with writing, and though he seems more than just satisfied with his life and financial stability, I still know that the writer in him is not dead.
I respect his bravery. I truly do. The mere thought of giving up on my writing feels painful to me. But I know he did what he knew he had to do in order to live a life he wanted to live.
Here is my theory about it
Did he believe in his art? Or maybe the weight of expectations he had for his art was bigger than his belief in it?
If you do not believe in your art, then no one else will.
The plateau effect in writing career (in any form of art really) is exactly about it. Just like Bukowski’s poem, it is not to exhaust you and make you to give up but to teach you to belief in your art and its value.
The plateau effect should not be a reason to feel like a failure, even though I know it makes you feel like this a lot.
Instead, let’s try to treat it as a take-off area for the plain of our success.
The first step to get you through the plateau effect in your writing career is to ask these questions:
Do I believe in my art? Is the weight of expectations I have for my art bigger than my belief in it?
And the more you ask yourself these questions, the more you think about it, the clearer you will see how to get through this plateau effect and come out on top in your writing career.
If you have a personal story on the plateau effect in your writing career, feel free to share it in the comment section below. It might be of a great help to some of us.
To read Charles Bukowski’s poem so you want to be a writer? click here.