When I sit down to write, a sort of satisfying melancholy, one that I usually reserve for complaining about my job and lying to doctors, overwhelms me. I think to myself, why can’t I ever just feel comfortably whelmed?
Stephen King, the writer, wrote a book about writing called On Writing. So meta, I know, I was just thinking that too. Every writer says every writer should read it, so I read it, and it pissed me right off. I get it, Stephen King, I thought throughout. You can write. You write all the time. You’re a perfect writer. I know. I KNOW.
The book is supposed to help writers write in a more writerly fashion. I’ve heard, over and over again, that the only thing that makes a person a writer is writing. What kind of bullshit is that? Is there some kind of certificate I can get instead?
I don’t know one writer who isn’t a tortured, sad sack. If you aren’t filled with some degree of self loathing, do you belong here? If you are, come sit next to me. Let’s have a whiskey and complain, my treat. Look at us! We’re Ernest Hemingway. Such artists.
When I want to get pumped up, I read my friends’ work. I read their shit and I think, they’re fucking brilliant. I can’t hang. And then I talk to them and find out that they feel like I do…? A writer-not-writer? An imposter! No way. I read their work and imagine them sitting down at their pristine writing desk, their genius properly lubricated by half a bottle of wine, and beautiful words blasting out of their fingers — pew pew pew — like a Stormtrooper with bad aim. So, a Stormtrooper. Why am I saying this?
I would find it extremely helpful if every writer would start their work with an excerpt of them trying to convince themselves to write the thing. Honestly, it really seems like you guys are just sitting down and DOING IT, which I find intimidating. So if you all could do me this favor and pander to my insecurities a little more, I would greatly appreciate it.
Looking at you, Stephen King, you jerk.