I’m reblogging this post because I think it’s a good one, I like Laird Barron’s writing, and I’ve never previously used the “Reblog” feature. He’s spot on here about stopping: there are a million reasons to stop, and precious few to continue. When the yardstick is that of improbable success, we will all “fail” regularly, if not always. There are many potential pull quotes from the post, but I choose this one:
They will read your words and pronounce you No Hemingway, no Jackson, no McCarthy. They will probably be correct in this latter judgment. It doesn’t matter. Hemingway was no Faulkner, Jackson was no Shelley, McCarthy is no Steinbeck. None of them were Shakespeare. Be sure they were told this or something like this and by someone who loved them, wanted the best for them.
To new writers, and especially to young writers: expect resistance. I am forty-three. I’ve written since I was five. I know one thing if I know anything.
They will try to stop you.
Resistance to artistic aspiration is typical. In general, people aren’t going to leap onboard your dream train. It’s cute for a teenager to talk of becoming a novelist, or a poet. The gloss is tarnished once you travel beyond the solar system of middling youth and into young adulthood. If it has not already begun, it will begin. If it has begun, it will now begin in earnest. People will gently, or not so gently, undermine your artistic endeavors. How will you pay off your loans? How will you pay off a mortgage? How will you afford a family? What will become of you?
Grow up. Get real. It’s for your own good. We love you. Stop, just stop.
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