10 Reasons Why Writers Can’t Have Nice Things

Writers, we can’t have nice things. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. We believe we have a capricious muse who wanders in (rarely) and out of our head space (often at the worst possible time). We curse him or her or it (can’t be genderist) when we can’t write and praise and worship when the words flow with the viscosity and taste of honey. We are kidding ourselves when we say, “I couldn’t write today because my Muse was off at the day spa and didn’t invite me.”

2. We invent characters loosely based on the our own fears and misgivings, but make them thinly veiled caricatures of people we know (yes, you have irritated us once too often, so we made you into a character who dies a slow death by having your buttocks scrubbed with sand paper and washed with lemon juice).

3. We eavesdrop on every conversation, squirrelling away choice bits of dialogue, character traits and personality tics. Whenever the family gets together our brains melt with all the juicy tidbits. On Christmas Day we experience the high of a sugar junkie.

4. We haunt twitter and facebook and any other avenue of social media to pimp our wares. Support for one another is important, but we end up feeding the circle creating narcissistic, preening believers of our own onanism, making us grow extra digits, and probably another head. Look beyond the immediate circle and seek an audience. Do something that doesn’t involve writing.

5. We believe our ego has the tensile strength of an egg shell. And I’ve seen a raw egg thrown a fair distance only to bounce and not break. If you can handle being popped out a sphincter with no harm done, you can handle a bit of criticism and rejection. Go and play in the dirt like chickens. It builds character.

6. We can teach glaciers a thing or two about procrastination. Apply a blowtorch to the things that have frozen up, and liberally spray WD-40 as if it were a can of Lynx deodorant body spray and create your own climate change. Get it done!

7. We believe we hold the monopoly of ideas creation and generation (along with artists and musicians). Psst… look at the business world, corporate strategy, management, child care, education, health care. They have some bloody good ideas. Now, go outside and play, and learn from other areas of life.

8. We arbitrarily create rules for writing. And then change them because we anticipate the ad break to allow us to void our bladder. Rules are cultural, aesthetic and social constructs of ‘taste’ when it comes to writing. I will use adverbs summarily. Simply write to your purpose and function, not ideas of fashion and taste.

9. We complain, whinge, tweet, start flame wars, and troll about the publishing industry because it’s in a state of flux and we are afraid of the changes. When the dust settles, publishing will still be there. It will look different, but there will still be avenues to publish, even if we have to invent it.

10. We believe reading, and our words,  is important and therefore require recompense. We do not have a right to make money from our art. It’s a privilege. Even if we don’t get paid, let’s use our words to reflect, question, entertain, amuse, horrify, and challenge, even in the one story.


10 responses to “10 Reasons Why Writers Can’t Have Nice Things

  1. I really like it. Sorry, but I need to ask, did you write it?

  2. Struth you are in a grump today. BUT, spot on and I suspect hiding a vast sense of humour. Love No. 5. but the reason is personal.

    • And my tongue is somewhat stuck firmly inside my cheek, with a side order of sarcasm and a hint of truth. Not without a sense of humour.

      • Adam, It surely is the only way to travel. I respect my subconscious even though it uses the Microsoft theme of “Please wait….thinking”. This is why I have several projects on the go. There is always something to add or change and progress is made regardless.

  3. My you are in a grump today. But hiding a vast sense of humour I suspect. Love No. 5. we don’t have chickens, will playing with the kids do?

    • Playing with the kids is fine. Yes, perhaps a bit grumpy, but it’s more I get tired of writers creating esoteric reasons for not writing. We invent a whole cornucopia of myths about writers and writing and perpetuate them like jokes from primary school. I believe writers have cycles with their work, like any occupation. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s harder. But we write. Even when not writing, we are often thinking about it. There’s a whole blog post in that idea alone. Maybe next week.

  4. It’s like you carefully researched all the most irritating habits of writers online today and distilled it into ten steps that make me want to lock myself in a room Dickinson-style. Owch!, and nicely done. 🙂 It’s always good to have a reminder.

  5. Pingback: 8 Things Writers Should Be Doing Now | A Fullness in Brevity - Adam Byatt

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