I told you so!

Writing a book is a terrible idea.

You think that, once it’s done, it’ll go away. That it won’t nag at your brain day and night the way it used to. Oh, sure – you’ll need to do a few edits, maybe rewrite a chapter or three. Nothing serious, of course. A little tinkering here and there. Change a name or two, make a man a woman, put in a donkey where the ground hog used to be. You know: the usual.

You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

No, see – once you’re done writing the book, the obsession gets worse! I know, it’s crazy!! It sits there all day, nudging your brain to keep dibs on its brain space. You print it out – hell, you wrote the damn thing, but you can’t hold a .docx file in your hands, can you? You spent all that time typing, you ought to have something to show people when they ask what the hell you’ve been doing. Maybe you even bind it, make it look pretty.

And then when they hear you’ve written a book, people want to read it. And you want them to read it, because — let’s face it — if all you wanted was to think up a cool story, you wouldn’t have spent all that time and coffee on writing it down, would you?

So you post it online somewhere. You password protect it so you retain your first publication rights because, damn it, this thing had better earn a buck or two if only to pay for the booze it’s going to take for you to forget you ever did such a foolish thing. And of course then people read it! And when people read something they always have opinions. Of course, you being a writer, your ego is enormous and about as resilient as a balloon made of toilet paper. Reading feedback is like volunteering to play Voodoo Doll for an army of psychopathic six-year-olds armed with bamboo shoots carved to fit perfectly under fingernails.

The only thing worse than reading the opinions people form regarding your book is when they have no opinion at all. Oh… that is true torture. Time goes by and you stare at the screen, waiting. How long can it take to read a book, you think. It’s only 460 pages, after all. It’s been three hours! Is it a bad sign? It can’t possibly be good… You wear out three mice clicking refresh… refresh… refresh… Your spouse bludgeons the laptop to death with an empty vodka bottle because you’ve brought it to bed again and the screen keeps her awake. You swear off shirts because each New Mail chirp from your cell phone triggers a Pavlovian response and bare skin sheds drool better than any fabric.

This, dear readers, is what writing books leads to. Take heed! Now, if you don’t mind, I need to go check my inbox, respond to Uncle Morty’s blanket accusation of artistic whoredom and mop my nipples. In the mean time, take my advice:

DON’T WRITE

(Want to read my book and tell me what you think? Email me and I’ll put you on the list. Come on, puncture my ego! You know you want to…)

5 comments to I told you so!

  • Uncle Freaky

    You are hilarious! And my hero! And I’m getting to it!

  • You and I are SO in the same space. I wrote the first draft in November. I was going to put it away after that and go back to my other novel, the one I pitched at three conferences and was in the midst of rewriting. Then in December I couldn’t stop rewriting scenes and adding nuances, layering meaning, and generally obsessing about it. So I gave up on the other one and in December did a completely new rewrite, a whole new draft at 131K words!! Now I’ve sent the first part out to readers, I worry that the offensive language has turned off one of them, or that my wacky perspective will scare the rest of them, and all the while I am still rewriting, adding scenes and rearranging the last 2/3 of the book. It won’t go away.
    I don’t sleep regularly anymore, and my family definately has noticed a change. I just keep telling myself this is all a learning experience and at some point I will look back on all this and it will make sense. Right??

  • BWRS

    Freaky – You sir have a sick sense of humor. I applaud you.

    Sarah – I’d like to ply you with empty benevolences, but it goes against my moral code and would break my lease. So since I can’t be homeless right now, all I can say is: You’re fucked. Sorry!

  • Andrea

    Torture, at least we are in it together.

  • BWRS

    True! Perhaps we can get our own wing in the looney bin!

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