Stupid Writing Advice – Don’t Get Discouraged

Everyone has heard that they shouldn’t get discouraged about writing. Why the hell not?

Yesterday on Facebook I vowed to give up writing and find a job mopping floors. I may have spoken hastily, though. I have arthritis in my lower back that might make mopping floors problematic.

As a friend pointed out, there is no shame in mopping floors, and I did not mean to suggest that there is. All honest work is honorable, and I am not above it. When I worked in one of the dining halls at Penn State the Mexican prison in which I  was enrolled incarcerated from 1989 to 1993, sweeping and mopping the floor after the students inmates were done eating was part of the job.  Mopping floors was simply the most diametrically opposed thing to writing I could think of at the time.

A mopped floor does not require endless revision during open-ended periods of time. If it is mopped poorly the first time, one simply mops it again, and that’s generally the end of it. Floors are mopped according to a schedule around which one can plan one’s life. A floor does not call out to be mopped in the middle of the night. Mopping a floor does not call for inspiration. No muse is required to mop a floor.

Mopped floors do not need to be submitted to publishers. Mopped floors are not rejected over and over again. A properly mopped floor does not invite scathing criticism. Mopped floors are quite content to be mopped floors until they need to be mopped again.

I may follow through on my vow. I may not. But I am discouraged, and I’m going to be discouraged again and again. I refuse to be guilted because I’m discouraged. Instead, I’m going to give myself permission to feel the way I feel and make a decision based on my feelings rather than a spurious piece of stupid writing advice.

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