Diary of a Dystopian Writer
Writer’s, I think, are inherently hyperactive. Hyperactive with a splash of the neurotics. Those who aren’t writers, will disagree. For their part, we resemble that of a sloth in the mornings, hunting out our first caffeine hit with the grace of a moss-covered creature. We then retreat to our cave, slowly experiencing the ritual metamorphosis, until we resemble something closer to a primate. By nightfall, generally the writer is of standoffish human form—a sight to behold; its a remarkable transformation—or so I’ve been told.
We’re strange creatures. We lock ourselves away, isolated from the real world, yet go a million miles per hour, delving into the pretend one. Rarely does the wordsmith receive understanding from the outside; only acceptance, tolerance . . . and the obligatory: but they’re a writer, as though it explains the obvious.
Let’s face it: writing, as a career, is one of the more mental-dystopian, draining, contemptuous acts a single person will embark on. It isn’t an easy career. And by all means, it certainly isn’t a choice. Much like our fellow tortured artists—painters, musicians, photographers and the like—we’re outsiders looking into a world, desperate to understand the cogs and wheels turning beneath the madness. We clutch at what we know, with it sometimes slipping through our fingers. (notebook, anyone?)
From this desperation we search every corner and every nook of our mind, trying to ascertain what it is to be human. Facial expressions, traits, environmental settings, secrets, how one speaks, mannerisms, stressors and reactions, suffering, misery, pain, to comma or not to comma, adverbs—urgh! —excruciating death . . . to write is to be human. To create is divine.
And then the lone writer will constantly haggle with their inner being, nag at, doubt, accuse, and often at times, hold such ridicule for oneself: Are we good enough? Are our thoughts worthy? Do we matter? The furball-so-called-writing companion on the desk is staring at me again . . . am I talking out loud? Am I paranoid? You examine the pros and cons, ins and outs of the world, and then you doubt yourself.
And then there are those writers who routinely sit for 8 hours, produce their word count and sip iced water . . . really? [enter crickets chirping]
Then you edit, you censor, you rewrite—only to decide the original is more fitting—you pace your study, you publish, you retract, you publish again, you drink more coffee, pat the cat and go to bed . . .
But you don’t sleep. Your mind wanders to your characters, your writing, your words, your day and whether Good Charlotte will break up when they’re in their 70s? How does Gerard Butler look so good, I mean, seriously, what moisturiser does that guy use and can I have some? Incessant randoms continue to haunt your Z’s until the alarm clock yells ‘Wake Up!’ only for the writer to start their day again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
A lot of writers are divorced, are hermits or have married other writers (or musicians—a strange co-existence in itself). Their children usually go on to other artistic avenues, only because they were forced in childhood to befriend their make believe worlds out of loneliness; rejected for the wordcount. That, or they practice law or accounting.
It is what it is, folks. But before you poke fun at the writer next time, spare a thought for their poor soul. The writer didn’t choose this. It chose them.
Now, do I hit ‘publish’?