Shelley Widhalm

Starving Artist (or is it something else?)

In On Being a Writer, Shelley Widhalm on August 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

I’ve become insecure as a writer, not in my ability to write but in getting noticed. That’s because it takes a great deal of work, or luck, or a combination of both, to get recognized in the writing community through publication, book sales and successful readings.

For those writers still struggling to make it, there should be a new term—not starving artist but ignored artist. Maybe the ignored artist pursues writing full-time without working, or she takes the safe route and works at a non-passion job to pay the bills and does the writing on the side. She questions what she’s doing, but keeps on going because writing is who she is. It’s what she wants. It’s what she loves. She can’t think of not writing.

This ignored artist is the one who compiles the rejection notices and keeps working at writing, because it’s what she has to do. But then she realizes she’s spending her free time in front of a computer, where she spends her days, too, and she wants to go be social and gather experiences, but if she collects experiences, she’ll want to write about them, too.

The writer is stuck being who she is. She just wants attention. And, of course, she wants to write.

See Zoey the Cute Dachshund’s response to the self-reflective, wondering-about-the- artist self blog at Also, see next week’s blog on Sunday, Aug. 9, about addressing feeling overwhelmed by the writing life and how to move forward from here.


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