This past Labor Day weekend I spent some pleasant evenings outside by the fire pit, sweating (and then shivering), alone and holding hands, silent and, at times, reading. One of the older books I plucked from the shelf was Isaac Asimov's autobiography, a book I seem to return to time and again for some delightful insights into the writing life (the guy wrote more than 500 books in his lifetime!).
On page 208, I found these words:
The writer's life in inherently an insecure one. Each project is a new start and may be a failure. The fact that a previous item has been successful is no guard against failure this time.
What's more . . . writing is a very lonely occupation. You can talk about what you write, and discuss it with family, friends, and editors, but when you sit down (to write) you are alone and no on can possibly help. You must extract every word from your own suffering mind.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Asimov uses some strong language here: "insecure", "failure", "lonely", and "suffering". None of these terms and/or realities are experiences that most people would readily embrace, much less enjoy.
But when one is truly a writer, these are the daily experiences of the writer's life. Considering my own suffering, I realize that it has been nearly two years since I was last working under contract. I feel lost in an ocean of words. I need a rudder. A star. A fixed point in space. I'm writing every day, but my direction is uncertain, as is my destination. An essay, a poem, another short story, a piece of genre fiction, a chapter to yet another book, yet one more proposal . . . I'm working on all of these simultaneously (and much, much more). But I need an editor.
Quick! Somebody throw me a line. Preferably a long one, with several pages, and a place to sign my name.