Hello, friends! Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Are you a writer? Do you feel insecure about your writing? Then this is the support group for you! Click here to learn more!
So the other day, I got into an argument with my muse. I said some things that I regret, and she called me some names that I, quite frankly, deserved. The whole debacle started because of the Internet.
Almost every day, almost every single time I go on the Internet, even just for a few minutes, I am bombarded with bad news. Certain headlines pique my interest. I feel this sense of morbid curiosity. I start clicking things. I start reading comment threads. And slowly, gradually, all that bad news transforms into worse news, until everything becomes the absolute worst news ever.
I was in the midst of this downward bad news spiral when my muse reminded me (kindly but firmly) that I’d promised to do some writing today. And I refused. After reading all that bad news, doing my writing no longer seemed important. How can I do my writing when the world is in so much trouble? How can I do something as silly as writing when all of human civilization is burning down around me? “My writing doesn’t matter!” I exclaimed. “Not at a time like this!”
That, by the way, is the wrong thing to say to your muse.
As I already mentioned, I proceeded to say some things I regret, and my muse proceeded to call me some names that I deserved. But after we had some time to calm down, my muse and I had a long talk, and my muse said to me: “So bad stuff is happening in the world right now. Okay. Do you know how to fix that stuff? Do you know how to make all the bad things stop or how to make all the bad people go away? Hmm? I didn’t think so. But you are a writer, and you are an artist. You may not be able to reduce the number of bad things in the world, but you can try to add something good.”
And my muse was right. It’s one thing to stay informed about current events; it’s quite another to dwell on problems that are beyond your power to solve. I’m no activist. I’m no community organizer. I don’t have the skillset for that sort of work. But I do know how to tell a story, and I do know how to draw pretty pictures to go with my stories. The best thing I can do, both for myself and for the world, is to keep writing and to keep drawing—to give myself those comforts and hope that the finished products will give comfort to others as well.
With that in mind, there’s one last thing my muse said to me: “Don’t you ever—ever!—tell me your writing doesn’t matter. Never say that to me again. That is the most disrespectful and hurtful thing any writer could ever say to their muse.”