You're Cursed (and how to break it)

You’re cursed.

You’re cursed to loathe a step or two of the creative process, to stare so long at your work that you despise it, and to hear the word “NO” so many times that you feel like a fraud.

But we’re writers, we’re all cursed. You’re in good company.

The Artist’s Curse is a fancy way to say that we struggle with the outcome of our immense effort. Granted, everyone’s process is different but the one, unifying truth is that what we see on the page is not what we imagined before we started working. Close, sure. It might even be “very similar” but the final product is never the exact embodiment of the image we had before we began. That’s where The Curse comes in: it tricks us into thinking we have to change more things, to painstakingly study every single comma and descriptor until we somehow find that elusive perfect picture.

The perfect picture doesn’t exist.

That sounds harsh, right? It’s true: the image in your head is so beautiful, it inspired you to write it down. It begged to come out and in that birth, it was fresh. That’s why you loved it. But then you spent time drafting the idea and revising. Maybe you gave your word-baby to readers, revised from their notes, and stared at it some more. The longer you stare at your creation, the more imperfections you see: a word that appears twice on the same page—can’t have that—and you revise, still chasing the inspiring initial idea because now, the story feels stale.

Your story is not stale. It feels that way because it’s been with you for so long. You spent so much time and put so much effort into the piece that you know it backwards, forwards, and inside out. If someone scrambled all the words around, you could probably put that puzzle back together blindfolded in record time and you hate it.

Creatives have suffered this curse since art