A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Monday, October 21, 2013

Alaskan crab fishermen and writing

I've recently discovered a new addiction. It's a show called "Deadliest Catch". There are eight seasons of it on Netflix and I've just barely started with season one. The show followed the crews of a fleet of fishing vessels as they fish for crab outside of Dutch Harbor, AK. They're mostly fishing in the Bering Sea, a cold and dangerous place to fish. They risk their lives for the chance at grabbing up something that is literally worth thousands of dollars, and is a hit or miss when it comes to finding it. An episode I recently watched had six people die in the pursuit of the crab, and a ship sinking.

Now, I know you're wondering how on earth am I going to compare this to writing? Well, for starters, writing can be hit or miss when it comes to production. There are days were nothing comes and we're floundering along, pulling up empty pot after empty pot of thoughts and ideas. Then there are days where the pots are full to overflowing and we're barely able to scramble fast enough to keep up with them.

Then there's the emotional pain we feel. It's not the same kind of pain and death that the fishermen face, but for each of us there is a little pain and even emotional death every time we write a scene where a beloved character dies, or we have to give up on a story because it's just not working even though we've invested so much time in it. We face hardship and tragedy each day as we struggle to create masterpieces that we hope someone else will buy and devour as eagerly as people who like it devour crab.

We're not going to freeze to death if we aren't careful. We're not going to fall into the sea and drown. We're certainly not going to be severely injured by our job. But we are in danger of sabotaging ourselves, drowning in doubt, and being hurt by negative reviews or insensitive critique partners. We need to remember though that for us, like for these bravely insane men, this is our way of life. We live and breathe it.

I'm going to continue watching "Deadliest Catch" because I love the personalities and complexities I see in the show. I'm going to continue writing because that is what I love to do. And I'm not going to let anything get in the way of my dream.


  1. Although I'd argue, Annikka, that (especially without a supportive "other") we can easily end up freezing since like too many other jobs (teachers come right to mind), we tend not to be as prized, respected as say a basketball player.

    1. That is a very good point, Joelle. We do tend to be left out in the cold by a lot of people.