Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for Whinging and Whining Authors - The Writers' Curse No 2!

I am sick to death of reading articles by whinging, whining 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 whinging authors are faking their 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 whinging and whining 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, The Guardian, schools and Justin Bieber.

So quite a lot of stuff then. But let me assure you, 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 reasons to complain as life can deal the occasional hard blow and perhaps there are even some who do have genuine mental health issues. But there are some who never stop whinging - about Amazon, their publisher, their sales rank, the fact their mother-in-law never wrote a review for their book, the dust on their desk, that their PC has crashed...and so on and on and on and on and on and on and on. When I hit on one of those writer's websites I usually have to make a quick exit to The Daily Mail otherwise I know I am going to be still there three hours later glued to the comments from the other three hundred and fifty whinging writers who have commented with their own thoughts on whatever is the Major Whinge of the Day.

Now it's true that 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. However, I've come to the conclusion that with so many writers competing for chart positions and their place in history viral whinging or 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 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 your 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 the 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 want 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 books anyway.) I just want to say this: lots and lots people over the world have problems and suffer from intermittent depression and have serious problems to whine about. There is a lot of sadness, pain and upset in this world BUT most folks live through it and move forward. So, if you're a writer, STOP whinging about Amazon etc etc and 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 whinging!  Your problems may be 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. Like Strictly Come Dancing.

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.

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.


I am always delighted to receive comments!

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