The Hamster Wheel of Writing

Are you in danger of losing your spark?

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Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

It feels, at times, that you’re in a constant battle.

The endless cycle of needing to get a story out and published. And then the bitter disappointment when only a tiny percentage of your following read it.

Why bother? Why do you continue to churn out article after article?

My mother-in-law plays the lottery. Every week she sits in front of her giant tv screen hoping that she’ll win big. “This time” she’ll repeat. A mantra for modern life. “This time” she whispers over and over again. Hope keeps her going. She describes it as her one vice (while casually sipping port). Is this your one vice?

Are you addicted to the promise? Are you in tuned with the hype? Has the allure of one big payload kept you going all this time? What point do you quit? What’s your exit plan?

Don’t believe the hype

If, like me, you’ve bought into the hype, you’re just waiting for the world to discover how great you are. You know that one article is within reach of going viral. You plug away constantly. Thoughts spewed out into the world. Opinions masquerading as facts. Ill-conceived articles beached on arrival. Their semi-tanned succulence bedazzled with chosen words. Beauty beamed to the masses. And yet, there they lay, starved of attention.

You know you can do it. You’ve received endless claps from your fans. The hardcore few who cling like a controlled group fed a placebo of success. They all understand what it looks like but are no closer to achieving the desired outcome. The holy soft spot. You’ve been teased into believing your time will come. It will, but do you have the patience?

Meanwhile, there you are, adding to the noise. Another blurbing bulging bison of mass-articulation. You’ve joined together sublime words that cry out for affection. You know you have talent. You know a pedestal is being built just for you. You belch out another tweet. Another post on another social network on another channel on another comment on another like on another promo another writers lift on another and another.

There is no end.

What does success look like?

Even when you’ve launched into the stratosphere by chance, you’ll still come crashing down looking for the next fix. Do you see the pattern? The addiction? The false economy that you’ve dived headlong into? This is no Pleasant Valley Sunday.

What happens when you’ve become part of the churn? When you are the churn? What then? Where do you go from there? Do you still have it in you to continue? You’ll hear the afficinados talk about a calling. They’ll tell you how a true writer struggles. They’ll describe passion. They’ll whisper about the journey. And you? You’ll buy into that because you have an addiction. You can’t stop.

I’m trapped in this cycle. I’ve seen my stories reach the giddy heights of monster payloads. I’ve tried to repeat. I’ve tried to do more due diligence on my work. I’ve scraped the internet for stories. I’ve binged on trends and thrown out asinine work that makes me froth with anguish. When did I become such a hack?

Don’t get caught up in the race. There are easier ways to make money than to spend hours upon hours on writing for this platform. It’s no longer about passion, but commitment. Go ahead, tell yourself about all the writers that hit big when they were middle-aged. Social proof is everywhere on the internet. Don’t give up says every Linkedin seminar you attend.

The dream is close.

Do you have what it takes?

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