Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Pessimist's Dilemma

The topic for this week is discussion of the top five reasons a pessimist might find not to embark on a career as a writer.

Full disclosure - I am in no way, shape or form a pessimist. But I can't talk too much about that because I gather next week's topic is talking about optimism. So I'll save those nuggets of wisdom!

I think Bruce Springsteen expressed it well in this quote:
Pessimism and optimism are slammed up against each other in my records, the tension between them is where it's all at, it's what lights the fire.

So he seems to be saying one needs a balance of both to be effective creatively. I kinda like the concept.

If this was a Twilight Zone episode and I as The Author was writing a grumpy, pessimistic character who was trying to convince him or herself not to write novels, here are some of the things my character might think:

1. All the good titles are gone.
2. All the words have been used up. Darn Shakespeare and Charles Dickens and Stephen King and Danielle Steel and J. K. Rowling anyway!
3. All the twisty plots have been revealed.
4. If I can't write Middle Earth because Tolkien already did that, there's no use in putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
5. And the real secret in my pessimistic character’s heart: If I never actually write the novel, then I can never fail at it. I can spin dreams about the fame, the accolades, the money, the celebrities seeking me out, the “Today Show” interview, the “Dancing with the Stars” invitation, accepting the Academy Award….and tell myself if I wrote the book, none of that would happen to me, so why bother? Why take the risk of putting myself out there?

There you have it!

I also loved this quote on the subject of pessimism:

When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, have you grown old. Samuel Ullman

Come back next week and I’ll regale you with my optimistic, sunny viewpoint!


  1. " If I never actually write the novel, then I can never fail at it. "

    That is what probably holds a lot more folks in the "aspiring" pen than chasing the NYC contract.