Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Poor Pessimist's Guide to Not Writing

I'm not much good at being a pessimist.

Seriously. It's not that I'm a rose-colored glasses person (actually, maybe I am...), but I'm blessed to have optimistic body chemistry. Happy is my default emotional state. In college, I was a peer counselor, which involved pretty intensive training over ten weeks, with a full Saturday devoted to particular topics. For suicide, we were all assigned to think about what in our own selves would drive us to contemplate doing that. It dovetailed with an acting class assignment to perform a solo scene without words. So I created a scene of a woman committing suicide with pills. (I used pine nuts and the flavor of those still reminds me of that sense of despair I created.) It was incredibly difficult for me to get to that place.

As I recall, my acting teacher thought I didn't quite manage. LOL! Of course, there are a number of reasons I'm a writer, not an actress.

ANYWAY. This week's topic in the bordello is The Pessimist's Top 5 Reasons to Never Write. As a failed pessimist, here's my stab at it.

  1.  The persistent fear that the next book will be the one that sucks

    I can't shake this one. Is it just me? I'm forever worrying that the book I'm writing will be terrible. I also fret that ones that are out are actually terrible - no matter the praise - and that people aren't telling me the truth. I'm not like this about anything else in my life.
  2. The daily dread that I won't make wordcount

    This one is rich. Every day I start writing with the fear that I won't hit my planned number of words. Sometimes I procrastinate on starting, because I'm afraid the words won't flow. Crazy.
  3.  I could make money more easily in other ways

    Right? Making money as a writer is not easy. It takes a long time and is never a sure thing. And, if I think too much about making money, that gets in the way of the story. I still make much more money at my day job and it's not nearly as difficult. For example, I never worry that my next report to the EPA will be the one that sucks. :-)
  4.  I'll never write a book as good as...

    [Insert name of much-loved book here]
  5.  It gets in the way of my reading

    One of the sad truths of writing is it takes away from reading - both in time and pure enjoyment. It's difficult now to divorce my writer's brain when I'm reading and I'm much pickier about books now than I used to be. Alas. Also, the books really pile up these days (see last week's post.)
So, much like I associate suicidal despair with the taste of pine nuts, writing this now has me thinking about all of the craziness that comes with being a writer. I suspect the take-home message here is that not one of these things would exist if I didn't care so passionately and deeply about books and writing. That's what it comes down to for me. My day job is a job - one I enjoy and believe in
- but being a writer is... being alive. Which is why I write despite all of these neurotic fears.

Maybe, in some ways, I write BECAUSE of them. Next week will be the optimist's turn. Much more my natural habitat. :-)


I've been over at Harlequin Junkie, with an interview and giveaway. I asked readers to comment on what posts topics they like to see from authors. The answers are pretty illuminating! One thing a number of them mentioned is teasers from work in progress. Which I never do. So, I'm testing the theory and I challenge the other Word Whores to do so! Here's a little teaser from book 4 of The Twelve Kingdoms, THE PAGES OF THE MIND.


The ladies oohed, put the last touches on her hair and the subtle makeup Ursula had agreed to, and bowed out to take their places in the hall. Ursula remained still for a moment longer, a somber expression on her face as she studied herself in the mirror, making me wonder what she saw there.
“Nervous?” Harlan asked her, before I could, which meant he earned the glare instead.
“I’m having a big piece of jewelry stuck on my head,” she retorted. “What’s to be nervous about?”


  1. "Pine Nuts of Despair" that's the name of our next rock band.

    And LOL with Ursula's annoyance with pomp and circumstance.

    1. yes - she makes me laugh :-)

      YES on the rock band!!!

  2. I'm a 'hope for the best, prepare for the worst' kind of person. A hopeful pessimist, maybe?

    I love Ursula! Can't wait for the next book. And yes, I really mean it and no, I'm not just being nice. I just have to find the time to read it when it comes out. ;o)

    1. Love that, B.E.! and THANK YOU - I'm so glad you love Ursula, too. You're always so supportive. :-) Time is the thing - I totally get it.

  3. Why have I never thought to ask for that before?! I love the teaser from the WIP!!!

    And true, writing so gets in the way of reading.

    1. I'm happy to share teasers! I just had no idea people liked them so much....

  4. Speaking of things gettin in the way of reading....I'm a bit late but this is a great list!