Letter to a Writer Friend

I write (and paint) to create stories that will survive me. I obsess over death, finality, and want to nurture, maintain life.

But right now, I feel hurt, frustrated, anxious, and sad. Because I can’t live up to my own standards. And I can’t let go of my standards; I wish I could. I know I want to be in a place that I can relax into and feel good about. That space of creation. But I falter, I resist, I procrastinate and withdraw.
I don’t like groups. Writers’ groups, art groups, etc. I never fit in. To me, groups have their own agenda, own rules, and regulations, own way of doing things and you have to play that game. So, I stand outside, without recognition, doing my own weird stuff. And that is all I can do, BUT I stand alone and it is hard. I am driven to do the stuff I like but I have no audience (except you). And then that is not quite true because I have people reading my blogs, my drafts in class, etc.
I keep wanting to send stories to different on-line journals, lit magazines, etc. which I think I should just stop. It doesn’t go anywhere. Right now, I’m in a space of giving up, exhaling, telling myself, I’m not capable. Yes, I know, that is pathetic. But I lose interest, I lose passion. Yes, I can write and write and write. But then what? I need to see some kind of direction and even a goal out there. How do I let that feeling go?
The authors, painters, who were driven, fiercely driven by their passions, did burn up, drank to death, shot themselves, became mentally ill, or were otherwise, deeply disturbed.
My body, my mind, and my emotions are deeply conflicted, and that’s what I want to write about. But it hurts, and I can’t breathe a ‘normal’ life. Suicidal thoughts. Isolation. All part of being a writer.
Okay. On to writing.


  1. Don’t give up. Whether or not others recognize it, you are a person of great worth.

    Like you, I want to write something beautiful. I dream that others will read my words and take the same kind of hope from them that I took from my favorite authors growing up. Books helped me to stay alive when there was no joy in my day-to-day life.

    And sometimes I look at my writing and sigh. Who am I kidding here? I’m not good enough yet. Maybe I’ll never be good enough.

    Other times I read my stuff and give myself a mental pat on the back. What is it? Differing moods? Flashes of brilliance that come and go? I don’t really know. I’m too close to it to tell.

    If it’s any comfort, JRR Tolkien lived a rather ordinary life, even though his writing touched millions. We don’t have to be Van Goghe or Hemmingway to make a difference.

    So keep trying, please. It matters, at least to me, that you do. Maybe I need to read your words. 🙂

    • Thank you Cathleen. Appreciate your words. And yes, I experience pain as well as pleasure through writing. Like life. Often, I think some of us are simply more sensitive to the energy that pervades us. Working on my words, too soon to share, I think. But I’ll keep you in mind 🙂

  2. Elizabeth, seems to me that you are able to observe and witness what you are experiencing, which makes it less likely that you will actually do something detrimental. All of us, whether artists or not, have self doubt and dark thoughts. All of these will pass if we do not fight them. Anything you don’t resist is less likely to persist. Whether you know it or not you are making a contribution to humanity by presenting your ideas in writing and painting. You never know how your works will effect another consciously or subconsciously. If you are compelled to make art with words and images, you need to do so. I think that if you concentrate on what you yourself get out of doing the work and are not so concerned about the feedback or lack of it, you will find more fulfillment than despair. Keep on doing what you are doing, unless you would be happier without writing or painting, which I have to say, I doubt. When I am in my dark place, I share your sentiments. But I also know that those will pass. One thing we all need is feeling appreciated. You could start by appreciating yourself and see how that works. You have intrinsic value and being sensitive does make you more vulnerable to all kinds of influences. But this is really a gift, if you choose to view it as such. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Helena, for your uplifting words. I appreciate to hear from a fellow artist who goes through the same challenges. In spite of the sad outcome of the election, I do feel better this week about myself. Been painting. And writing.
      Again, thank you 🙂

  3. I could really relate to what you were saying – it seems the hardest battles for writers are with themselves. When I get feelings like you’re describing I sit there for a while till I can’t help myself but get up and write. So it’s like I feel I can’t write, but then realise I can’t not write. Weird huh? 🙂

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