A Writer's Curse

Todd Brison, a prominent Medium writer, once told the story behind his book The Creative’s Curse. After years of writing on Medium, one of his stories went viral. For a short time, he enjoyed fame. His article had thousands of views, was widely shared, and received hundreds of comments. Then it all died as quickly as it arose. And once again, he went back to obscurity.

Still baffled at what happened in the months that followed, he wondered what the hell it all meant. Did he make it as a writer or not? Where to from here? What he discovered, he called it, the creative’s curse.

We all have our own curses. I found mine yesterday.

I am writing my second book. Last night, 22,000 words into it when I threw my hands in the air.

It was rubbish—all of it.

I am stuck.

The book is my story of moving from a competitive to a creative life. It is supposed to be inspirational and entertaining. Yet it sounded boring and clichéd.

I made the first attempt to write the book in 2019. Then again, in 2020. I even got it edited and was about to self-publish but didn’t go ahead.

Why?

My inner critic stopped me.

Last night it stopped me again.

And the truth is, ‘he’ is right. (I have always perceived my inner critic as a male. It pops up like Jack In The Box. I have even started calling it Jack).

Jack is right. Most of the time. He keeps me in line. He protects me from making a fool of myself. He is annoying, restraining, and cruel. But I have to live with him.

And that is my curse.

Last night, Jack said, “Just dump it.”

He and I have had many conversations in the past. I know his tactics. I wasn’t going to give in that easily.

“No way. I need to tell this story. It is too important to dismiss. It is my story, after all. I can’t let it get lost in the oblivion.”

“It sounds ridiculous. You call it inspirational. I bet even you can’t read it. Admit it.”

“Oh! Go away. That is why I wrote my last book in one week so that you don’t get a chance to talk me out of it.”

“Yeah! that is why there are so many mistakes in it. Had you giving me a chance, I would have helped you make it a much better book.” Jack had gotten out of the box and was sitting on the bathroom benchtop where I was washing my hands.

What! now you want to get involved with writing books as well?”

He looked at the ceiling and swayed on his spring torso without saying anything.

“That is why you are visiting me? You want me to feature you in this book.” I exclaimed incredulously.

“You are smarter than I think.” he winked. “See you later!” Before I could blink, he jumped into the box and disappeared.

I have two choices now. Ignore him again or rewrite featuring him in the book.

If I do, the book will be a recount of the conversations we had in the past three years. I will still be telling my story and my insights, but I will be using many fictional elements. Rather than being an inspirational book, it might even turn out to be a witty memoir.

Before I embark on rewriting, I need your opinion.

Would you like to read the story of my journey from competitive to creative life in the form of conversations between my inner critic and me?

Your honest opinion will help a lot. Would you please take a moment to let me know in the comments section?


Here are the links to this week’s articles on Medium.

Your Productivity Problem Is Over-Expectation, Not Distractions

How To Structure Your Novel

Writing eBooks Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Do A Print Version

Dear Writers, A Fellow Writer Needs Our Help

Writing Books Is A Mindset Shift

Make Someone’s Day

Building A Bliss Station

The Hidden Gems and Secret Paris

Enjoy!

That’s it from me this week.

Take care.

Neera Mahajan

If you enjoyed this letter, you click here to get it every week.