They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But I’m starting to think what makes me stronger is going to kill me anyway, just for giggles. So here it is, this week’s list of things I can’t live without as a writer, but which I’m certain are going to shorten my lifespan by years.
- My cell phone – I have just spent 3 weeks trying to get my phone, which is still under warranty, repaired and/or replaced. I now have a new phone, a promise of a refund for my old phone, and a bazillion apps and photos that didn’t transfer over. And 5 chapters of my novel that don’t seem to be writing themselves while I’m fighting with my phone.
- My computer – I speak to it in a soothing voice, buy it flowers, and make sure it’s comfy at all times, because it likes to ambush me around the ankles when I’m not looking, like a housecat with intermittent rage issues.
- Query letters – All writers know it’s easier to write a 90,000-word novel than a 200-word query letter.
- Synopses – Likewise, a 250-word synopsis, a 500-word synopsis, and a 1000-word synopsis—because editors and agents can’t ask for the same length—are more painful to craft than a 10-volume space opera. Synopses… the mere word can send writers into voluntary solitary confinement
- Social Media – Time sink + vitriol + low self-esteem = self-destruction
- Google – Is anyone else worried that the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, and/or Interpol will soon be knocking on your door based on your search history? No? Just me?
- Books – If the amount I spend on books every year doesn’t bankrupt me, the towering stack of unread books that will topple onto me in the next minor earthquake will at least do some serious damage. And if the house catches on fire, the books alone will keep the flames alive for days.
- Snacks – Because writers cannot live on alcohol alone.
- Self-doubt – It’s the little voice that tells us we can do better, which can be a good thing when we’re in revision mode. But it’s also the little voice we want to strangle in the dead of night when all we want to do is get a good night’s sleep.
- Hope – Because hope keeps us dreaming the impossible dream in the face of an endless sea of rejection and competition. Surely it would be easier to give up writing and take up, I don’t know, building affordable housing for hamsters. But noooooo, hope drives us ever deeper into this ruthless industry, while we tell ourselves self-flagellation is good for the complexion.
[Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash]
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