Recently me and some of my pro writer colleagues have been asked why we are always complaining about writing, and, the follow-up question: if it’s such a horrible job why don’t we get a better one?
Good question! Here are some of the answers:
- Whingeing is fun. Writers in particular are totally addicted to it. We can’t not whinge.
- Writers are boring. We don’t get out much so we don’t have much to talk about other than writing, which is one of the least interesting things ever. “Hey, guess what, guys? Today I typed! A lot. Like, I typed maybe 2,000 groupings of letters.” If we whinge about it we figure it sounds a bit more interesting. We don’t get another job because we’re boring and writing is boring: we belong together.
- Boasting about how you have the best job in the whole world is rude and skiteful and makes rational people want to chunder1 or kill you. “Look at me! I am so blessed and lucky! Why today I typed. A lot! I think I typed maybe 2,000 groupings of letters. I think I arranged them really well! Go me! Also I did that wearing pjs. And no one at work was mean to me. Because I work at home! Where the ice cream is. My life is perfect!” Oh, shut up, already. It is better to whinge than to skite.
- Writing is really hard. It makes writers bleed from the eyeballs. Demons take up residence in our brains and sip on our cerebrospinal fluid. But if we told you how it really was—how there are tiny goblins—trained by our evil publishers—that hold open our eyelids and slap our fingers back on to the keyboards thus making sure we never miss a deadline and keep churning out publishable product—you would never believe it so we just whinge about the lesser aspects of writing hell. We don’t get another job because we can’t. The contract with our publishers mean we are indentured slaves until we die.
- Writing is dead easy. Seriously all we do is sit around and type, luxuriating in our pyjamas, and ordering our minions around, while we feast on champagne and caviar. But if we let everyone know that then too many people would want to be writers. Thus, der, we pretend it’s really hard. “Ow, my brain! It burns! Too many groupings of letters today! I suffer!”
I hope that makes it all crystal clear. I live to answer your questions. And, um, write books. Like the one that’s due next Friday fer instance. Should get back to that. Or sleep, possibly. If the clanking pipes allow.
Oh, and also, what Maureen said.
- Or as me and a bunch of my friends used to say “muntah material”. We were studying Indonesian. Don’t ask. [↩]