C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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The Writer’s Curse

When they speak to each other, comedians refer to all non-comedians as civilians. We aren’t in that treehouse club. I suppose every professional community has a bit of Us and Them shorthand when they talk in private. Writers do, too. I confess, I don’t know why it’s imperative that I write books obsessively, but I don’t really understand people who don’t share my pathology.

When I meet people who aren’t interested in writing books, I envy them a little. I think I’d have more time to exercise if I weren’t a writer. I’d have more time to do lots of things theoretically, though almost everyone seems to struggle with time and energy management.

But that’s not the crux of the writer’s curse. When we aren’t writing, we feel like we should be doing so. When we are writing, we wish we were doing something else. Not for long, though. As soon as we get sucked into our own creations, writing is just fine. I like the way writing makes my brain feel. I love to tell stories because I get the same pleasant cognitive dissonance a reader feels: I’m in a comfy spot with a book but at the same time I’m the bad thing with a sword or gun confronting Something Very Bad. Writing and reading is an escape and everything I write is ultimately about escape. It’s fun and it’s mine more than a movie could ever be.

The trouble comes knowing that there’s always more to do and the tasks never end. Everyone can relate to that, of course. Who doesn’t feel time pressure? I’m not a precious princess in that regard. We all have too much to do and never enough time to sit down and read (or write) a book.

What’s different for us as writers?

For one thing, a work of art is never done. It can only be abandoned. Old saying and still true. When I stack a cord of wood, it’s a chore I can strike off my list in short order. A note on the to-do list that reads, “Edit book,” is much more intimidating. When will that be done? Who knows? It might be a light edit or I might do a major rewrite.

I love to write, but there’s a lack of satisfaction that comes with what we do. Writing is sisyphean. It’s tempting to tinker with a book forever, especially since hitting publish and setting your baby out into the world alone can be so scary. 

The life of a book can be short or long, but we have limited time. Each exciting new project is also an opportunity cost. Each book written means another book is left unwritten. We have to choose wisely before our time runs out.

We have to make sure we live now, too. Don’t put off all your living until later. Later might not be there when you arrive where you were supposed to meet it. Travel when you can. Love more and make love more. Try to be social if you can stand the company. Take the time to do the important things, like crushing your enemies and drinking their cerebrospinal fluid from their hollowed out skulls. Like dat.

Write bigger and live larger and you’ll have fewer regrets when you finally put down your sword and your pen.

~ I’m Robert Chazz Chute. Please do check out my suspenseful hullabaloo at my newly redesigned author site: AllThatChazz.com. AllThatChazz.com, where we spin the platters that matter on the wheels of steel. This, my friend, is the adventure that never ends.

Filed under: publishing

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