Being a professional writer is a test in overcoming the greatest enemy to humanity: the self. The job employs every ounce of who you are and leaves it there for your peers to see. But their support and their attitudes are never enough to overcome that voice in the back of your head.

It whispers every time you check your readership “Not enough. You aren’t good enough.” It’s the voice that tells King he’s only lucky and not at all prolific. It’s the voice that tells writers to delete their poems.

But for me, it’s the voice that reminds me just how far I am from who I want to be. The voice tells me that I am friendless in a sea of friends, or that I could never have anything to offer the world.

There are those of us who write every day and that is enough. These lucky few don’t mind if the page isn’t full or if the book is complete when the sun sets. These lucky few have room to breathe at the end of the day, and pride for who they are.

I guess I’m not one of those people. I may never be. But if you’re reading this, and if you’ve been thinking lately that maybe, just maybe you’re not good enough- know that you are not in the minority, but the majority among us pencil-pushing, nit-picking, never quite good enough writers.

I salute you who write despite all of that, I am proud to know those of you who have no fears of failure, but hold high ambitions. You may not succeed, but you’ll do a hell of a lot better than the best of us.

To my readers, I hope you can find in your life the thing that keeps you getting up in the morning. I hope that in this gift of existence for which we can thank no one you can create an existence that is meaningful to you.

And I hope I can create something that is meaningful to you too. But on the days when you hear that voice, tell that bastard where to stuff it- you’ve too much work to do.

Keep living, my friends.

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15 thoughts on “On Fulfillment- Tuesday Thoughts

  1. Alexander, this is written with so much heart and so much empathy. You are exactly right, the hardest person to be compassionate towards though, is yourself. And also, this is the most important person to be compassionate to.
    This post is very timely for me… I have always felt like my poetry was sub par and struggled to believe in it enough to post on here. I have had so much encouragement through and while I have no words to describe how incredible that is, you are right, your own self-critic can always drown out absolutely everything else. Also, if I start to think that my previous work is well liked, then I start thinking I fooled my readers into liking my past stuff, but any new stuff will not be good enough and then their kind thoughts about my writing will be revoked. I think this has hit new heights for me in the last couple of weeks, and especially in my last poem, which I basically cut in half just before posting it because I didn’t feel it was ‘good enough.’

    Anyway, your post has given me a little jolt I needed to try and quieten down my own inner critic, and try and write from my heart, regardless of what people think. Easier said than done, but trying is still important.

    Thank you Alexander and happy everything to you my friend. Keep writing!

    1. Your comments are keeping me going, my friend. Thank you for supporting me, seriously.

      Also, and this is just my two cents, I don’t think you’ve ever fooled anyone into reading your work. I certainly come voluntarily and directly to your website when my own head-voice is drowned out by my devotion to the craft. Your poetry rings, my friend.

      Keep that bastard beat and locked up in the basement and put on your noise-canceling headphones because there’s plenty of writing left to do and only you can do it!

      Happiest of the happy everythings to you too.

      1. Honestly, if my comments can help keep you going, that makes me so happy. Your support means a lot and I take it as one hundred percent genuine. You are just that kind of person, full of integrity that is evident in everything you write.

        Keep it up!! And thank you 🙏

  2. How’s finals?? 🙂 🙂 Keep on writing, I have so much respect with you guys – “writers”. For me, you guys are the most creative artists. Stories can inspire people and change lives. Keep on going…

      1. Thank you so much for appreciating, I am trying my best. Good Job for passing the finals!! When is the next exam?

      2. My next exam won’t be until at least September. But lately I’ve begun preparations for the HSK and JLPT Chinese and Japanese (respectively) proficiency exams in spring 2020.

        I want to be able to have something on paper that says hey, this guy really can speak these languages- go hire him!

        Hopefully I’ll pass them!

        Thanks for keeping me motivated!

      3. Omg!! You are awesome, learning japanese is hard, i cant hardly be proficient in Spanish what more to japanese. 🙂 🙂 keep us updated

      4. You are exceptional. I will never have the courage to learn another language cause I know I suck.

  3. Sometimes you aren’t conciousness of that voice. Sometimes you don’t identify it as other, as a voice of not your own. And sometimes, that voice drowns all other noise until you have no choice but to listen. I guess nobody appreciates their own work as they should because it’s theirs. Is that modest or is that insecurity? I still don’t know. I’ve had that thought for a while. That, usually, the poems I don’t put as much work into, gets the best views. While the ones that I tear myself apart to write (not from over-working but from confrontation) are the ones that get little to nothing. But those types of articles that people like you, Alexander, write remind me that there’s more. More than this sing-song that we keep hearing, and, someday, if we listen carefully enough, we’ll hear that beautiful lullaby. Maybe this won’t be enough, but I’ll say it anyways: your writings are amazing. Please never stop!

    1. Thank you for such a well thought comment! You’re right about what that voice can do and how loud it can be- and you’re right about the work we make. I too have found my least favourite stories being the ones that are the most popular or well received.
      I guess we have to look at what made those posts good, what elements drove our readers to them. Maybe we can find what they like, and maybe we shouldn’t care.
      I don’t know any of these answers, but I can say that the more you read and write, the better your work can become.
      You keep writing too, my friend!

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