So you can read my books

Thursday, April 25, 2013

D is for DESPAIR and How Writers Can Fight It

{Image of Meilori mourning upon the tomb of Samuel McCord
by the talented Leonora Roy}

Most writers feel it like some constant undercurrent of unease deep within them,

murmuring that their dreams are hollow, their minor victories temporary and without meaning.
Writers open themselves to a life of rejection and being misunderstood.  Our first encounters with those barbs are the worst. 
And that is the good news.
 People live through such pain only once.
Pain comes again—but it finds a tougher surface.
If we are wise, we remember and cherish those pains and victories over them. 

What is any art but a cage to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself-
 Life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose?
We must be on guard against despair, for it erodes who we are.  This is the greatest hazard of all
Losing one’s self.
It can occur very quietly in the world,
as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly.
  Any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars,
a wife -
is sure to be noticed.
To fight Despair, remember the words of Gandhi:
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won.

There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”


  1. Despair, it's like the old lover that seeks you out, enters your chambers unbidden and lulls you into a sense of security masked as some other thought of realism, only to sink deeper and take root, exposing its true nature. It can be a terribly debilitating thing if not dealt with properly, with a shovel and a fire-blower :-)

  2. Angela:
    Wise words. We must learn from despair, asking why we are feeling the blackness and what areas in our lives it is showing we need to grow. :-)

  3. Despair usually arrives after something negative has occurred.
    When we feel we are trapped, with no recourse.

  4. Oops, I left a dangling sentence. . .

    I meant to say:
    When we feel we are trapped, with no recourse, it is easy to give in. I prefer to be stubborn.

  5. D.G.:
    After working 12 days straight, my whole brain feels dangling, so I forgive you. :-)

    Yes, it is the no recourse that darkens our soul when a harsh situation has happened.

    Stubborness is what has kept me going so far! And the Great Mystery, too. That's the Hibbs in me talking! :-)

  6. This was beautifully written. We all have the capacity for despair, but if we give into it, we couldn't get anything done. A lot of writing is like blind faith.

  7. No matter how bad it gets, it will always get better.

  8. Nick:
    So many miracles have been accomplished by those who felt despair but never gave in to it. Great writing is like that. Thanks for the compliment. :-)

    Like Victor's Mother once told him: "It will all be better in the end, and if it is not better, then it must not be the end yet."

  9. i am in a lock of despair... i look for the key to see what is finally on the other side of that door.

  10. The key to the lock of despair is hope and the courage to turn it and open the door to face the challenges beyond.

    Loved your list of hated characters on TV shows. Famke Janssem is definitely not one of mine! :-)

  11. There's no getting out of feeling despair at points in our lives, but you are right, if we can carry on it does make us stronger!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  12. Despair is the absence of hope, and I don't believe it ever fades or goes away. To combat despair we must meet it head-on by adjusting ourselves, our dreams, and our expectations. We must create new hopes.

    VR Barkowski

  13. My opinion is that despair comes from trying to please others and failing. That's where many writers find their pitfalls -- they try to please a reader or another writer, when instead they should be writing for themselves.

    Writer first for yourself. Write again for others. That's how you avoid despair.

    - Eric

  14. Gandhi was such a wise man.

    Despair is a familiar friend of mine - and yours too I suspect.

    A fine post, good sir :)

  15. Allison:
    As Samurai Cat was wont to say: that which does not kill me must have missed!" :-)

    Yes, we grow muscles through weight resistance. We grow character through life resistance.

    Yes, adapt to overcome, never minimalizing the challenge but never buckling under to it either!

    Sadly, we writers must please editors or agents, and we write with that goal in mind. Too many rejections in a row tend to wear down the resolve of the strongest soul!

    Yes, despair is a longtime traveling companion for both of us, but he never pays the toll -- we do! :-)