Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Hate, anguish, and shuddering despair (Or: Being a writer.)

What about that plot thread?
What about it?
It'll unravel the whole novel.
Shut up. I'm trying to sleep.
Hm. Zombies would be good.
Shut up. It's 3AM.
Did you pay the gas bill?

I've said many times how cool it is to be a writer. But it's not all good. There are the bad things to go with the good things...

My brain is working against me.

I used to think that I was an insomniac. Maybe I was? But now it's something else. It's my brain. You see whenever it senses something boring or mundane, it decides to just leap on in and start working the plot again. That used to be fine.

But these days its idea of mundane and mine are different.

Last week I was walking out of a finance meeting and one of my colleagues asked me what I thought about the first quarter fiscal projections for next year. He got a dribbling nonsensical response. In part due to the fact that when the meeting moved into the first quarter fiscal projections my brain went on vacation and started thinking about a novella series, and also because when I was asked said question my brain re-packed and left.

I forgot how to walk yesterday and fell down the last three stairs. It wouldn't have been so bad but I was carrying a box of shredded paper to the bins. I looked like a drunk yeti in a suit.

It also decides on a regular basis that when I'm not thinking about anything perhaps it should jump in and fill the void.

Like when I'm trying to sleep.

Scumbag brain.

I am constantly self doubting.

All writers doubt somethings occasionally. Will this story be good enough? Is it scary enough?

These days I'm all out of hand. Especially when I'm laying in bed at stupid-o-clock. It starts with something small.

I wonder if this project will be finished by the end of the week?
I wonder if it'll be good enough?
I wonder if I'll sell it?
I wonder why people read my work?
Oh, yes, my work sucks.
Maybe I should quit writing?
What the fuck was that noise?
I wonder if I'll live until the alarm goes off?

Who cares. You weren't sleeping anyway.

Scumbag brain.

I spend my life waiting.

At first it was exciting. Send off a submission and then check email every 15 minutes for the next four to twelve weeks waiting for the life changing reply.

Not so much now. Submit and forget.

But it's still waiting.

I concluded that writer's don't write because they want to. They do in that very first instance, but after that? We write as a form of procrastination against waiting.

Until 3AM

Hey, check your email.
I'm trying to sleep.
But you're awake now. It won't wait until morning.
I'm not burning my retinas out to check my email. I need more sleep.
You should write a blog post about this.

And I did. In my head between 3 and 5 this morning. Then I got up and have been taking intravenous coffee since.

Scumbag brain.


  1. Good post...I feel your pain, especially about waiting for approval's / rejections :)