A lot of people, myself included, possess a high tolerance for physical pain. But of course, it’s not something we were all born with. Most of the studies done on this subject suggest tolerance to painful stimuli is adaptive in nature.
Meaning a person actually “learns” how to respond to pain triggers, push through the pain, and continue functioning.
I guess that’s about right.
I can state with impunity I am certainly no stranger to physical pain. Over my sixty-seven years, I’ve managed to:
- Break various bones on my body — my right arm in three places, nine of the ten fingers on my hands, a right ankle bone, and a collar bone.
- Suffer significant cuts that required multiple stitches on my hands, arms, and legs.
- Cut the tip of the thumb on my right hand off working at a chicken shack (really, I did).
- Tear the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments on my right knee.
- Get stabbed in the head by a kid wielding a paring knife.
- Burn a quarter-sized area on the palm of my right hand with molten plastic which stuck to the skin and caused second-degree burns.
- Slice a finger on both hands with sharpened mulching blades as I attempted to install them (some of you may have read about that incident — The Barnett Curse remember?).
No, I’m not a walking disaster (well maybe I am) just waiting for the opportunity to inflict injury on myself, but I do have a tendency to just ignore crap when it happens and continue on with what I’m trying to do.
Unless ignoring it means I may end up dying.
Because I’m still here talking to you I guess we all know how those disasters turned out, right?
My lovely wife is the same way with furniture and broken toes and the backs of both of her hands and doorknobs. Over the years, she’s suffered more swollen toes and bruised hands than I’ve ever witnessed.
She, just like me, has a propensity to put the pain on hold so she can finish what she’s set out to do. So with all these “adaptive” incidents over the years, I would say we can grit our teeth and bear it.
But none of all these self-inflicted incidents of mine have prepared me for the pain I endure each day as a writer.
None of them.
The pain of trying to establish a career as a writer is like nothing I’ve ever dealt with before. Not the physical side of it, unless you want to count the pain of my aging arthritic fingers, but the emotional roller coaster anguish and self-doubt I experience almost daily.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but d*mn, this career path I’ve chosen for myself is driving me crazy. One day I’ve got a ton of people reading and offering compliments and sentiments of praise the next day, not even crickets.
Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon?
I now know what silence truly sounds like.
I really have to confess, the highs of where I am in my career right now are simply not compensating for the multitudes of lows I continue to experience.
Even as I’m talking to you folks today, I have no idea how in the h*ll I’m managing to do it. Each day, I find a way to gird my loins (my favorite line from the movie The Devil Wears Prada) and crank something out.
And of course, I need to ensure I’m not just writing a ton of crap to hit a self-imposed goal, so there’s that little frustrating as all get out, quality issue, I need to focus on.
Quality over quantity P.G., but still find a way to hit the quantity goal as well P.G.
More, more, more, more.
Step it up and notch. Get your career heading up.
Up, up, up up.
No dummy, you’re not supposed to be going down.
Down, down, down, more down.
Up and down like a pogo stick on steroids, zipping up the string like a yoyo and then spinning right back down again.
Every day lately, it seems as though instead of feeling good about where I’m heading, I feel absolutely horrible about where I currently am.
And yes, I do take my own advice about not comparing myself to any of the thousands and thousands of stellar writers who crank out their work each day as well.
Plus, I try not to pay much attention as my brain continues to harp at me with thoughts of why or how in the heck this continuous race of mine to the bottom is happening.
I just keep on writing.
It’s a message I’ve sent out to all of you folks time and again, and not patting myself on the back here, but it’s d*mned good advice.
And I try to ignore the results and focus on what I should be focusing on, writing better, becoming a prolific purveyor of quality work.
This seldom up, mostly down, how in the world can it possibly get worse than this career of mine, is starting to grate on my everloving last nerve.
I need a pick-me-up.
No hang on. That isn’t quite what I need at the moment.
I need to pick me up.
Sure, I can continue to write with a promise to myself I’ll just do it one more day; I’ll give it one more day regardless of how bad I feel at the moment. Just one more day, and if things don’t turn around, then I’ll just shuck it all.
But I won’t shuck it all, and I know I won’t.
I’ve worked too hard, too long, to just leave it all behind. You folks may or may not remember, but I walked away from writing a long time ago, for almost ten years.
And I made a promise to myself when I started writing again this time I was going to go all in.
An interesting thing about this decision of mine.
It is only now, I realize how high my emotional pain tolerance has to be as a writer. There is no more self-ravaging, spirit-demoralizing, emotional-wreck-creating profession in this world than being a writer.
It takes a h*ll of a lot of guts, of persistence, of tremendously high pain tolerances to the constant rejections of this industry of ours, our peers and yes, a lot of times ourselves.
In my case (and maybe yours as well) it takes a ton of blind stubbornness.
Nothing I can ever tell you is going to adequately prepare you for this journey because each of you will ultimately experience the joys and pains of your writing career from a perspective completely unique to you.
What I can tell you is there will probably be a lot of emotional pain you’ll experience. You will probably experience a ton of self-recrimination and self-doubt. There may be moments when you tell yourself you’re a fraud and gaze dismissively at your own efforts.
There will be many times when you may find yourself in a very dark place and wonder what you’re going to have to do just to find the light.
In the end, what it all simmers down to is if you really want to test your emotional pain tolerance, then, by all means, become a writer.
It just happens to be the best career in the whole, wide world.
Thanks For Reading
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