On Bad Days


Maybe this will soften the blow of the swears I’m about to drop.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a good story will have days where that story turns on them, rending the skin from their face and chewing on their entrails.*

Yesterday was that day.

Today? Jury’s still out. My entrails are still scattered on the hardwood and I’ve yet to try reading the future in them.

This is the point where I suppose I should write something inspiring about how bad days make better writers, about the Artist’s Fight, about how even James Joyce struggled. Except fuck James Joyce.

Or I could do a list. People love lists. Seven Things To Do When Writing Sucks Harder Than A Closeted Varsity Athlete, maybe.

Except I don’t want to.

What I want to do is write. It is what gives my days purpose.

But I need to get this blog post done first. Not that I think any of you live and die by my words, but I made a commitment. And if there is one rule for writing, it is: finish.

So. Bad day yesterday. And if you’re here because you had a bad day, then I only have one thing to say.


Bad days happen. You can spend your time navel-gazing about whether this means you don’t have it in you to be a writer, beating your breast about the difficulty, the unfairness, the grand sweeping suckitude of it all.

Or you can get on with things.

Pick up your entrails, stuff them back in your body, and duct-tape everything together. Staple your face back on. Smile.

Because we’ve got work to do.

*I’d say “with apologies to Jane Austen”, but I’m not sorry. I might be an asshole, but I’m not going to add ‘liar’ on top of that.

8 thoughts on “On Bad Days

  1. Except fuck James Joyce. <lol

    I feel you. Luckily my current story hasn't done tha yet, but I can feel the beginnings of it. About a third of the way through seems to be some kind of 'critical: meltdown imminent' sweet spot.

  2. “Except fuck James Joyce.”


    Thank you for that.

    “Or you can get on with things.”

    Pretty much this. Actually, ALL OF THIS. I don’t write because it’s easy. I don’t dance because it’s easy. I write and I dance because the opposite is unthinkable and, quite frankly, THIS IS WHAT I DO.


  3. Novelist Nancy Peacock said there are a million “saner” things to do and a “million good reasons to quit” and that the only good reason to continue writing is, “This is what I want.” You say, “What I want to do is write. It is what gives my days purpose.” What two writers agree on must be true. So we get on with it. Thank you.

    PS No need to apologize to Jane Austen. I think she would be thrilled to know her beautiful sentence is universally acknowledged and appreciated.

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