Your cart is empty. Go to Shop
Menu

FXXK WRITING: WHEN GOOD NEWS PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE, HAVE A PARTY! Jason S. Ridler

If last month concerned managing bad news, this month leaps to the opposite end of the spectrum. Because I’m writing a new series of books for Nightshade Press. Ink spilt. Checks cashed. So, now what?

I’m not used to good news. I have no blueprint for what to do with it. In fact, my workaholic tendencies want me to nod, then just get back to work, and ignore anything akin to celebrating the achievement because that would mean I’m not working.

BARF.

Other reasons to not celebrate including thinking yourself undeserving, unworthy, suffering from imposter syndrome or depression, and other mental gymnastics we play to deny ourselves the pleasure of taking a moment to say “Huzzah!”

Because celebrating is bad.

It’s big-headed.

It’s righteous.

One should be humble, carry on as if nothing happened, and die without ever having fun.

You know, like all writers.

But here’s the thing: if your friend had a party to celebrate a publishing milestone, you’d go, right? You’d have fun, say congrats, and unless you’re a voraciously talented and bottomless needy type like Gore Vidal, you won’t “die a little” because something good happened to your friend and colleague. And if you do, who cares? It’s about them today, not you, ya narcissistic jackass!

So, I’m vexed. My news got lots of “likes” on FB. Some friends went out of their way to congratulate me. Does wanting to celebrate more reveal the depths of my own ego’s need for validation?

Maybe.

But I think I’m gonna have a party anyway. I will eat the shitty food I crave, like BBQ chips and Moosehead beer, (they’re exotic in America, though I won’t have them for breakfast, as in my punk rock days of yore), and hang with my friends. There are worse reasons to have a party. Like, ya know, dying.

Another reason I want a celebration: there’s a theme in some writing advice about never making a big deal out of what you just did, that celebrating accomplishments can blind you to the real purpose: doing the work.

There’s truth there. I share some of it. And Steven Pressfield and his ilk hammer this lesson at beginner, pushing them past anything that might become “resistance” to completing the next task. But once you’ve learned to be persistent, such relentless attacks on anything becoming “resistance” becomes dogma, and can lead you think that “the work” is the end all being of existence. How noble. How righteous. How defensible. And stupid.

Resistance no longer concerns me. My work ethic is strong. Thus I’ve erred on the side of exhaustion, burnout, and overwork instead of finding joy beyond the grind. And, unlike some writers, I’m not a pure introvert. Let’s face it, I’m a goof, a ham, a class clown, and an improv actor. I like shooting the shit for hours at bars and restaurants and on the street until the street cleaners give my care a shine. And it doesn’t make me any less committed to my craft to those who prefer a more solitary life.

I say this because there’s a Faustian bargain in much writing literature about the need to be alone. Just you, and the work, and nothing else matters, for writing is a lonely business.  Cue ten hours of sad violins (no joke: ten hours of sad violins, and don’t read the comment section)

I used to love the need to be alone. Why? For years, I was a self-hating, very lonely putz thanks to the usual bad psychology from enduring hardship in childhood. I was deadly alone for most of my life (even when a social beast). Writing gave me justifiable cause for never being social. And I did great work for years, in fiction and history, with justifiable loneliness. But when all my pre-conceived notions were shattered in 2013, I realized that the “need” to be alone was 75-80% “fear” about being who I was without art as the core part of my identity. After my conception-of-self went through the shredder, I soon realized how often I justified the shrinking of my world of friends, social engagement, and more by saying “well, that’s fine. I’m a writer. And I’m writing a fourth novel this year, so no need to make new friends, go outside, see a movie, take a walk, smell the roses, take a class, or do anything other than toil at the machine, because that’s what all the bullshit tough-guy messages preach.”

And thus, without any conscious intent, I turned the love of writing into a recipe for perpetual loneliness.

Sigh.

I’m not that guy anymore. I balance the need to work alone and have some kind of social life to avoid hiding from the world. But I am the inheritor of his old “solitaire engine.” When the good news came down this month, the engine started up . . . don’t do more than acknowledge it happened, just get back to work, finish three books this year, this is the only chance you will get, do not take your eyes off the prize, if you do you are self-aggrandizing asshole who thinks he’s big stuff when nothing’s been proven in sales or acclaim, you have no reason to celebrate until someone else validates you, which is the only kind of validation that is legit, but then again most people validate you because they like you so they are ruled by bias and can’t be trusted and thus the only salve to these issues is to chain yourself to your desk and work until you die and only then, when you can no longer influence with world with your Canadian charm and Latvian good-looks, with you receive fitting acclaim-

>KRRRANG!SMASH!BOOM!THUD!<

Sorry, that machine won’t stop on its own.

So, long story short, it is party time in Ridlerville! And that means play my theme music! (ha! You thought it would be a brilliant, sad song with a dark video sung by a legend! NOT TODAY)

Wanna have bragging rights? Wanna say you’d read all my books before my new series became an instant bestsellers (like Game of Thrones!)?

THEN GET READING!

© Jason S. Ridler

Meet the Author

Jason S. Ridler

Jason S. Ridler

Jason S. Ridler is a writer, historian, and actor. He is the author of The Brimstone Files, and his latest historical work Mavericks of War was called a “visceral read that is also an important piece of scholarship” by Pulitzer-Prize winner Richard Rhodes. He is a Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and teaches creative writing at Google, Youtube, and for private clients.

Become a Patron! Check our our NEW membership levels!

Sign up prior to March 31, 2021 to receive access to 365 Days of Flash Fiction Writing Prompts! (See Patreon for details)

FIREFLY

Receives weekly links to new stories, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, and our undying love.

WILL-O-THE-WISP

Receives Monthly discount code for a free download of our current issue, plus benefits from lower levels

SHOOTING STAR

Join our monthly chat/”ask me anything,” plus benefits from lower levels

AURORA

Get a shout-out in our monthly editorial, plus benefits from lower levels

LIGHTNING

Receive a monthly prize, which may include critiques, digital or physical swag, or other special events, plus benefits from lower levels

SUPERNOVA

Receive one flash fiction critique per month, exclusive polls, an opportunity to “sponsor-a-story,” plus all the benefits of lower levels!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Become a 2022 Super Subscriber!

If you’re a fan of our boldbrief, and beautiful fiction, we hope you’ll consider purchasing a 2022 SUPER SUBSCRIPTION. You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping to publish amazing stories by talented writers… plus you’ll receive the following benefits (details listed below)

  • 12 monthly issues (+ a vote in our first FFO Reader Awards!)
  • bonus content from our authors
  • live events on our Discord server
  • one FFO annual anthology
  • your choice of one ebook from an author or  staff member
  • entry to our $100 gift card giveaway

Support Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online is a free online magazine that pays professional rates. So how do we make that happen? It’s due to the generosity of readers like you.

Here are some ways you can help:

Become a Patron.

Sign up to become a monthly donor. Read more…

Subscribe to FFO.

Never miss an issue! E-reader formats delivered to your inbox. Available from WeightlessBooks.com

Buy our issues & anthologies.

Each of our issues and anthologies are available in convenient e-reader formats (epub/mobi/pdf). Available from the Flash Fiction Online Store, WeightlessBooks, and Amazon.

Donate.

Consider a one-time gift that fits your budget.



Advertise with us.

Have a product, service, or website our readers might enjoy? Ad space available on the website and in our e-reader issues. Sponsored posts opportunities are also available. Learn more…

Spread the word.

Love one of our stories or articles? Share it with a friend!

%d bloggers like this: