Life, MiscellaneousPennyworth AdviceRant Rant RaveWriting

The Bliss Symptom

Spirit in a material world Not dead, just resting. Pedaling against the infinite, as it were. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Horse_ebooks now has a name as well as a Twitter feed. Hm. I wonder if the poetry in it will go away now? (Link via a Particle Person. Who reminds me the internet will serve up another mystery for us soon enough.)

I also ran across this post on why “follow your bliss” is bullshit advice. It was thought-provoking, and it led me to think about why I fell out of the habit of doing writing advice posts.

It used to be that every Friday I’d take a different aspect of writing or publishing and post about it. There’s an archive of 200K-plus words or so (they’re being broken up into reasonable-sized chunks and edited so I can release them as ebooks, notwithstanding my views on books about writing) that I recovered at roughly the same time I figured out how to strip out and recover Selene, and though I hate to think of them going to waste at the same time my soul dies a little at the idea of trying to figure out how to repost them en masse.

The posts slowed to a trickle, and finally I realized I was pretty actively resenting the Friday writing posts. Why?

Because inevitably, I’d receive a deluge of nasty comments or hatemail, usually when I said “Sit your ass down and do it, keep doing it, don’t stop, there are no shortcuts.” The comments ranged from concern-trolling–but if I don’t write I’m still a person, as one so memorably put it (I restrained myself from saying “Yes, dear, you are a person, but if you don’t write, you’re not a writer. You’re just talking about it and wasting time.”) to attacks on me personally as a female who was fucking up things for nice male authors whose sunshine I was somehow taking.

The comments didn’t make it out of the moderation queue. The hatemail sometimes got mocked, but mostly it went into a killfile. The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was a memorable screed that asked the question: who are you to give advice, anyway?

At this point I had more than 20 books published and this person, as far as I could tell, had…none. The comparison didn’t soothe me, however. I decided, well, let’s just stop. I certainly don’t have to give advice. I had more than enough to do without it, and a certain nasty feeling of casting pearls before swine, I am sad to say, just sealed the deal.

Now, of course, being able to bring out the ebooks has put me in the exotic position of wondering if I even wanted to announce them, or throw them out under a pseudonym, or what-have-you. I’m not sure yet.

I love writing. I love the physical act of writing, whether with pen or keyboard, or a stick in the sand, or a blood-dipped finger on the wall. I also love talking smack and shop with fellow penmonkeys and wordsmiths. I luxuriate in the words, roll around in them, and am very, very lucky to be doing the thing I know I was made and meant to do on a daily basis.

But I didn’t get here out of following some numinous bliss. I got here by desperation and stubbornness. Not writing is not an option, and should my career fold I’ll still write stories. I just might not publish them. For me, the act of writing itself is a salvation, and I am not able to stop, I resist it just like I resist stopping breathing. While this may be a certain type of mental disorder, it’s still managed to feed the kids and the animals, and pays the mortgage every month.

Is there bliss to be found in it? Well, yeah, but there’s bliss to be found in many things if you just put your head down and fucking do. Some days it’s loathsome, some days it’s hard, some days it’s boring, but you do it anyway. Bliss isn’t a root cause, it’s just a symptom. A pleasant one, but by no means the only one. The important thing is to do it anyway. You figure out what it is, you put your shoulder to the wheel, and you take the bliss if and when it shows up.

There isn’t an easier way and there is no fucking shortcut, no matter what snake-oil vanity presses or Certain Personages in Self-Publishing blather. Do the work, so that if bliss happens, you’ll be prepared to grab it and beat it into the ground.

Over and out.

Notify of

The Horse_eBooks article said they will be reading bits of it aloud on the phone, which makes me wonder: will it be Hoarse_eBooks by the end?

Is The Bliss Symptom like The Andromeda Strain? I’ll take my answer off the air.

I like this new website layout.

Jennifer Parrack

I really enjoy reading your blog. Even when I don’t always agree with what you say, I find them refreshing in the cold wind off the Atlantic kind of way. I almost always smile when I’m done reading your insights about life. Thank you for taking the time to share, and being brave enough to put yourself out here.

martian moon crab

I got here by desperation and stubbornness.

if life were easy, nothing would get done…

I love reading you blog, reading your insights about everything, and I loved your posts about writing. I love writing advises even that I don’t follow the main one most of the time. I think it’s not because I want to learn how to write, it’s more about seeing the way someone does it and it works. I got sad when your blog was hacked and I miss your weekly entry about writing so I’m really anxious for the ebook. When I read about writing writing seems possible. I don’t even write in your language — I’m Brazilian so I… Read more »

I guess it’s 20-book-PUBLISHED-author, of course you’ve written more than this amount.

Tess Lecuyer

Ha! Bingo! Ass. Chair. Write.


“Not writing is not an option,” This is how I feel about reading. =) Great post.