Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Post for Depressed Writers: Ten Reasons to be Happy and other random jolly thoughts.

I am sick to death of reading articles by depressed writers or writers pretending to be depressed. It's so depressing I'm actually thinking about killing myself.

Okay, maybe not: I like living too much. Living is interesting. You know - wine, sex, that kind of stuff.

However, I am seriously beginning to wonder if some of these arty types are faking these depressions because they are everywhere. I mean everywhere. For example, I am minding my own business, humming and happily "researching" and I click on what looks like a jolly looking writer's website which might have lots of useful tips and I find...

I was depressed for years. My writing suffered: I couldn't find my pen, my computer crashed and even my printer cartridges imploded. I became an alcoholic and addicted to chewing the ends of biros, smoking pot and watching Friends. I read Martin Amis. Finally, when I trapped my head in my desk drawer I decided to consult a therapist who put me in touch with my inner soul and I subsequently wrote a book about demons castrating small piglets. It's been nominated for the ManBooker...

*Files nails, picks nose.*

Now I have deduced from all this apparent depression amongst writers that many of them have this image that to aspire to be a creative or literary genius you must cultivate a tortured image and, at the very least, be prepared to cut off your ear, eat your bowels or kill yourself.

I don't plan to do any of them.

Now, I admit I do occasionally say I want to blow my brains out on this blog but that is normally in relation to specific events such as: car crashes, unexpected weight gain, irritating children, autistic husbands, schools, sports cheats, schools, politicians, schools, The Daily Mail, Tony Blair, schools and Justin Bieber.

So quite a lot of stuff then. But let me assure you, Readers, I only contemplate blowing my brains out for a few seconds at a time. Although I did once contemplate it for longer but came to the conclusion Mr T would probably have a breakdown if I pegged it. Not because I was dead but because it would take him weeks to clear up the blood splattered over the kitchen worktops. Thus, it would simply be unfair to kill myself and inflict such distress on the good Mr T.

Now I am sure there are some writers out there who do have genuine mental health issues. ( I don't want to appear to be too harsh so I thought I better put in that bit.) Indeed, a recent study has shown that writers are one of the most vulnerable of personalities and literary heavyweights such as Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Ernest Hemingway are often cited as evidence of this and that to be a genius you have to peg it by your own hand. Woolf killed herself by drowning, Plath stuck her head in the oven and Hemingway took the most succinct option of blowing his brains out with a shotgun. These deaths have kind of set a precedent for writers topping themselves. However, I've come to the conclusion that with so many writers competing for chart positions and their place in history even blowing one's brains out like Hemingway will not get a writer much attention. These days to be a truly great and memorable writer you need to die in a dramatic and noticeable way. I suggest something like the following:

1.Run naked across across Time Square whilst quoting from your latest work about satanic pigs before ensuring you are hit by a bus and trampled by onlookers. Make sure your last words are: "It was a pig and I loved him." Thereby securing you place as a (dead) literary genius.

2.Jump out of a plane at 50,000 feet wearing only a large pair of silk pantaloons or a voluminous petticoat and skewer yourself to a high profile building - like The White House flagpole or Big Ben. There you will die a protracted and lonely ( but poignant) death whilst quoting from your novel. Onlookers will gaze up in bewilderment and say "He/she truly was a literary genius. We should go to the charity shop and see if we can find a first edition of that book about pigs."

3.Tie yourself to the London Eye. As it spins around you must quote from your novel as well as Shakespeare, Mein Kampf, The Little House on the Prairie and The Da Vinci Code. For a while people might confuse you with Dan Brown but they will soon to come to realise as you self-flagellate with a free hand that you really are a tortured genius. When you are at the point where you think your head might explode don't forget to cry out: "Forgive me, Father. I never meant to read Dan Brown." Then close your eyes and utter the dying words: "It was a pig and I loved him."

Now I could go on but (and it's a big but) I don't won't to give any writers popping in too many ideas how to kill themselves as basically I care about my readers. I really do. I don't want any of you to peg it. (Not before you buy my book anyway.) I just want to say this: lots and lots people over the world have problems and suffer from intermittent depression. There is a lot of sadness in this world BUT most folks live through it and move forward. So, if you're a writer, STOP banging on about being depressed and STOP torturing yourself and us with books about pigs etc etc etc.

"I'm a Young Adult paranormal romance writer and I've run out of ideas."

So to end with (no pun intended) here are ten good reasons to be a happy writer and celebrate life:

1. Right now, you probably have a roof over your head, have access to medicine, you are clothed and probably have your next meal lined up. Stop whining. Your problems maybe very real and tangible but in all likelihood they are not insurmountable.

2. Western society allows artists, musicians and writers to say what they want and do as they please. This is very fortunate, especially if you are Justin Bieber.

3. I've mentioned this before but as a writer you can legitimately Google any image and read any crap on the net and justify it as research. Not only is this immense fun but you should never be bored or lonely and even if you're fed up Googling you can always sign into a Writers Discussion Group at 3 am and discuss book blurbs and sticky toffee pudding for several hours with another bored writer. This is a lot better than killing yourself.

4.You can follow this blog which is a wonderful source of mind boggling, enriching and life-enhancing stuff.

5. You can probably cook better than I can. See - it's easy to lift your spirits. Just compare yourself to someone worse off than yourself and you instantaneously feel better!

6. Somebody, somewhere will like your book. Okay, so it may only be the bloke you overpaid at the garage or your priest but does that really matter? Have realistic expectations. We don't all look like Julia Roberts or write like Virginia Woolf. Get a grip on it.

7. You will be happier if you are truthful to yourself. Admit you're not going to be a literary genius and that you quite like disco music and Justin Bieber. You don't have to pretend to like Mozart, drink effluent and study Tolstoy by candlelight. It's okay to like normal stuff. (Except chick lit.)

8.You can have lots of sex - and even write about it. This is potentially one massive ego trip. (Unless you suffer from premature ejaculation when you might genuinely have to consider killing yourself.)

9.You can slag off other people's books and justify it as in the common interest. This is guaranteed to make you feel happy. I do it all the time.

10. People aren't that discerning these days. Even if you can't write a literary novel there's still the potential to make a whole heap of cash by writing something topical like Fifty Shades of Grey. Now that news should cheer any writer up. In fact, I am studying Fifty Shades at this very moment. I have even got out my ABC: How to learn the alphabet book in case I stuck on any unfamiliar words and I've also got out my illustrated  Karma Sutra just in case I get *stuck*.

Right, I'm done for day. Time to clean the kitchen worktops.

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