Liberating the Tortured Writer

Writing can involve lots of hope — and, disappointment. But, says Ben Craib, mindfulness offers relief and perspective.

These days, more people than ever want to write for a living. Blogs and self-publishing mean unprecedented numbers of people are trying to get their voices heard. The internet is wild with screams: "Read me! Follow me! Buy me!"

There is also more rejection than ever before—that is, if you are lucky enough for someone to actually reject you. Most of the time you will be ignored. 

I have been writing seriously since the age of seventeen and I am about to turn thirty. Most of my twenties were spent trying to launch a career as a scriptwriter. "Tortured" is certainly a word I would use to describe my writing life, until recently. Here’s why:

The rejection. Most writers receive more rejection in twelve months than most people receive in a lifetime.

The burden of having to earn a living. All I want to do is write, but now I have to teach drama to a class of moody fifteen-year-olds!

The poverty. While my friends bought everyone rounds of expensive drinks without thinking about it, I went to the shop and bought a cheap can of beer and drank it in the street.

The uncertainty. A year's…