Writers: Need to Ground?

In today’s world, being a writer is, I believe, much more difficult than it used to be; there are so many opportunities, so many things to do in terms of marketing and promotion, and, quite frankly, a lot of push to be busy, busy, busy to advance—and if I’m not “advancing” by my own standards, it gets depressing.

For me, why I write isn’t just because I can’t help myself: there is no way in the world I would ever stop writing, because it’s simply something I’m constantly driven to do; it’s part of me, it is me.  So no matter how down I get sometimes, I’ll never swear off doing it. Still, there’s another reason I write, and that’s to reach someone. There are short stories and novels out there I read that changed the course of my life, or how I thought about things; those writers reached me and affected me. I always wanted my work to reach and affect someone in the same way.

Recently, Nathan and I guested on one of my favorite podcasts, Dark Discussions—“a discussion of horror film, fiction, and all that’s fantastic”—about the film The Conjuring, and my book, Bad Apple, was mentioned.

Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks later when this post, from one of the podcast’s regular listeners, shows up on its Facebook Group:

Michelle Bad Apple Clip - Copy

This might sound hard to believe, but reading that, for me, was more fun than getting a royalty deposit. My work made someone feel like she was a kid again. That’s pretty incredible.

When I read or hear something like that about my work, I realize advancing—as the world sees it, anyway—doesn’t really matter…if I’ve reached one person, I’ve done my job.

Why do you write? If you’ve been feeling a bit untethered or discouraged lately, it might help to stop and think about what your ultimate goal really is, and how you’ve met those goals in the past. It just might get you grounded and back at the keyboard.

Bad Apple Vagabondage Press Draft 1

Draft, Post-2nd Round of Edits, 10/18/11, as it looked when it came out of the box in my basement.

Bad Apple Vagabondage Press Draft Bound

Draft, 2nd Round of Edits, 10/18/11, as it looked after dressing it up.

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About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. She has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, is a co-editor for Read Short Fiction, and co-hosts the Dark Discussions Podcast. Her work Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole is a collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks; her horror novel, Bad Apple, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. More info: www.kristipetersenschoonover.com

Posted on October 7, 2013, in Bad Apple, Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, The Writing Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Kristi, thanks. This is helpful. I always feel like no one is listening and that no one gives a shit about me. Actually, I feel downright hated by most people most of the time and not at all valued as a writer. I am only asked for payments and money. Money makes us equal because if I pay them money they can’t complain that my money “isn’t appropriate for children” or “is too lengthy” or “has inappropriate language” or “is too upsetting” or “is too revealing of what we all know to be true but don’t want to say out loud.” I guess money does none of the powerful stuff words do. They can safely bill me and know my money won’t be mentally unstable or a danger to society. See ya later, Kristi. I’m broke. Julie

    • Hi Julie,

      Well, hey, I really do care, I read all your posts, and they inspire me. And as I like to believe, if we have reached even only ONE person, then we, as writers, have done our work. And never let go of that. No matter what. True, it is easier said than done, but after all you’ve been through, you can do it. And yes…money is, really, the root of all evil. However, most people I’ve met who have scads of cash don’t have what we do…an awareness, a sensitivity, an understanding of what’s truly important. While that doesn’t make the rent, I wouldn’t trade what I’ve been through for anything. And they can’t take it with ’em. Just tell ’em how pretty they’ll all look in their coffins nestled among a pile of dollar bills.

      Don’t give up. You’re doing good work. If for no one else, for me. And remember the golden rule: if people don’t like something, they tell 11 people. But if they LOVE it, they tell only 3 — the 3 who actually care.

      Love you!
      — K

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