The sky is not clear in the world of Fiction Writers. I have found a fairly nurturing environment here in Portland, OR, but I am lucky. We live in a world where manuscripts aren’t accepted for publication not because they are poorly written but on the terms that they are unmarketable. So what do we do?

Most of us still write. And we work second and third jobs. These jobs are shitty. They are shitty, because if we worked better jobs there would be no reason to write. These shitty jobs keep us inspired.

And they pay some of our bills.

I am reminded of the transition from Summer to Fall here in Portland. In the Summertime, I am joined on my commute to work by hundreds of other cyclists, who are all riding into the city. But as the skies turn from blue to grey that number drops rapidly. The good cyclists aren’t the ones sticking with the wet commute, But the most persistent ones are.

The same goes for the writers trying to make a living in this world. The Writing World has become overcast and rainy, weather in which no sane person would choose to ride, but there are some of us who still do it. We still ride through the downpour of rejection letters (I’m currently covering the walls of my office with mine), and we still trudge through our two shitty jobs just to do what we enjoy doing, writing.

Because of the bleak conditions in which we ride, we are joined by a small number of colleagues. Both the year-round cycling community and the writing community here in Portland is small but tight. (Of course, the number of cyclists here are much larger than the number of writers.) It is always nice to run into someone who is a writer and still writing despite the conditions, in the same way that it is nice to see another cyclist barreling through the downpour for no reason other than the ride itself.

The wind and rain may be a buzz kill for many writers, but for me it is part of the challenge. It helps remind me that I don’t write to become rich in money. I write because I enjoy the trip.

Cycling would not be nearly as enjoyable if it was Summer all year long. Then, anyone could do it. I enjoy being a part of a smaller faction of Portlanders, who ride all year long. We ride for the sake of riding, for keeping up our stamina, and for the opportunity to enjoy life just a little more than those who merely drive cars in the winter.

We write for the sake of writing, for the opportunity to see the world differently, and because we love it too much. Like our fellow year-round commuters, we throw on our rain-proof jackets and write, despite the weather.

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