Writerly things that I can and can’t talk about

There are so many things to do with writing that I can’t talk about, simply because I have no experience in them at all. Things like print on demand vs. e-publishing for indie authors, the pressure of the second novel, how to get an agent, how to celebrate getting an agent, methods of suicide when a publisher kills your novel… The list goes on and on.

By the way, there’s an excellent post up here about how to go POD for free and why it’s a good idea to make a small (i.e. $39) investment in order to get more out of the system. It’s a guest post by Alex Laybourne on Kait Nolan’s blog and I would seriously advise following that anyway because she’s in the dictionary under Awesome.

The list of things I can talk about is very long, but when you narrow it down to writerly subjects, it becomes a bit pathetic. Except when it comes to the actual writing part.

Now that I can talk about. Writing is, well, writing is a bugger. If it were any other thing that we did so compulsively we would be in insane asylums. They would be building new insane asylums just for the writers. I don’t know how we have managed to collectively remain under the radar for so long. Astonishingly it seems that only writers know the truth about writers.

I mean, we get up, we write. We spend the whole day thinking about writing, or actually writing, given the opportunity, and then in the evening we either write some more or we hook up with our friends, often online, and type (aka write electronically) about writing.

If ‘drink’ were used in that paragraph instead of ‘write’ we would be fine. There are twelve step programmes for that. There are rehabilitation centres. There are people you can talk to who help you see how wrong and destructive these impulses are. There is therapy to get people over losing their family and ending up homeless in the gutter.

How do writers get away with it? I suppose it helps that our obsession doesn’t make us slur our words. If anything it makes us better at communication because of our familiarity with those most cherished tools, words. This means we are employable, which is also handy for keeping one’s family and a roof over your head(s).

Even so, I must ask myself, sometimes, has it ever occurred to anyone to set up a twelve step programme for writers? Maybe rehabilitate writers who have been slaves to their muse for years and now see that there is more to life?

Except that there isn’t, is there? As a writer I know this, and since most of my readers seem to be writers, I’m sure you know this too. For us the creative process is like the respiratory process, it happens whether we like it or not.

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About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
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16 Responses to Writerly things that I can and can’t talk about

  1. tanya reimer says:

    What a fun post! Oh, this is exactly how I feel too. The rush of writing, the craving of editing, the impluse to get up in the middle of the night for just one little fix that can’t wait. The way I clutch my work as if it’s gold, no one can go near… yeah, it screams intervention. Yet, everyone says I’m fine. (although, I do catch my husband’s worried frowns every now and again, he sees the worst of it, really.)
    It’s an addiction that I pray pays off, otherwise it’s gonna kill us, one by one. Death by Writing– I want that I’m my tombstone, sounds better than Writing Addict.

    • Hahahahahahaha EXACTLY!!! It’s amazing no one is bothered enough to turn us in to the nearest psychotherapist. Although I’m glad. They might not have my preferred pencils and notebooks in the loony bin…

  2. alberta ross says:

    oh good – I for one think it’s the rest of the world that needs the straight jacket not us – how come they haven’t been locked up for not wanting to play with words?! that’s what I want to know.

  3. Mike says:

    Are we still talking about writing? Or are we talking about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

  4. Brian Hutchinson says:

    Very nice post, and so true.

  5. Gail says:

    Luv the post! I often find myself planning and scheming even before I realize I’m awake for the day. Many of my ideas come from these early morning, almost awake sessions. If I wasn’t obsessive about writing, I fear the natural human behavior to obsess about SOMETHING would lead me to eat even more pie than I do now!

  6. I’m not sure we are that employable, since I spend all my time at work secretly writing my novel πŸ˜‰

    Give me writing, or give me wine! I mean death…

    • Well, I was trying to fake out all the prospective employers out there… I can’t write at work, but I do have to scribble down little ideas on hastily torn off pages of my notebook which I then stuff in my handbag. If anyone watched me at work, constantly putting things in my bag, they would come and audit my desk on the grounds that I had to be stealing something

  7. ellieswords says:

    lol. what a funny post! Loved it. And this is my quotable of the day:”For us the creative process is like the respiratory process, it happens whether we like it or not.”
    Cheers, fellow crazy person. πŸ™‚

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