Top 5 Reasons Writing Sucks

I’ve been writing since I learned to eat a pencil eraser. I moved on from chewing pencils to eating pen caps, sniffing markers and giving myself ink tattoos with a Bic during history class. Then came “typing,” “keyboarding” or whatever the hell it’s called today.

(Remember typing so fast the keys stuck? Yeah, I’m that old.)

I learned to type on the very first typewriter carried to this continent by Leif Ericson and his band of merry Norsemen. It sucked. But the more technology has developed to help me write, the harder writing seems to be. I’ve been a “professional” writer for 10 years and there are days I LOVE it (the days I’m on my meds) and days I hate it (every other day).  Here are the Top 5 Reasons Writing Sucks:

1. Content Limit: There are only so many words in the dictionary and only so many ways to arrange those words. So, unless I start writing in Russian or Greek, I need to maximize 26 letters in a way no one has ever done before. No pressure there. And Shakespeare already used the best one-liners. But, then again, even monkeys could write a novel if given enough time—look at Sarah Palin.

(Maybe she’d like a ghost writer for her next book.)

2. People are easily offended: If anything in the previous paragraph offended you–take a number. I’ve received emails from people who were angered by things I’d written, not taking into account I write a HUMOR column, not political essays for the Washington Post. Trigger words like “conservative lunatic” or “get off your a**” seem to set people off. Go figure.

3. It’s SO personal. Writers bleed their hearts onto the paper (or screen) and tentatively let it loose in the biosphere for people to attack/enjoy, only to have it received with a sniff and a derisive comment. If you don’t have thick skin, perhaps you should choose a different field. Like hermit.

4. I’m easily distracted. I just typed “I’m easily distracted” then stared at the screen trying to decide which Girl Scout cookies are left in the pantry. My method for writing is:

1. Craft a brilliant sentence (or phrase)

2. Look around the room to see if there’s anything more interesting to do

3. Rewrite the brilliant sentence (or phrase)

4. Get up and eat a Girl Scout cookie

5. Repeat 1-4 until the article, blog, column, etc. is complete (sometimes this can take days).

5. Low pay. I know, you’re shocked. But how many millionaire journalists do you know? We put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) every day, subject ourselves to ridicule and, in return, make less than many Wendy’s managers. Okay. ALL Wendy’s managers.

So why write, you ask? Because I love to . . . ummmm. . . I enjoy . . .Well, I guess it harks back to the day when I tried to type so fast the keys would stick. Not such a problem anymore.

Sigh.

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15 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons Writing Sucks

  1. […] A. I’ve already answered that question: Top 5 Reasons Writing Sucks […]

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  2. chestercrowley

    You are my substitute for that other great humorist, Dave Barry, since he sort of fell out of the circuit. You produce higher quality humor than most of the monkeys out there, and you deserve to be paid more…sooo…when will your book be published? As soon as it is, I’ll buy more copies than I could possibly read. Thanks for always cheering me.

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  3. Number 3= very true. If you don’t have thick skin, it’s just never going to work out for you 🙂

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  4. Ahhhh, it’s refreshing to see someone speak so truthfully. I loved the post. Of course I didn’t like what you said about Sara Palin. But i’ll tell you what, I won’t hold it against you if you don’t hold it against me.

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  5. You hit the nail on the head! I’m working (writing) today, and I wish you hadn’t mentioned Girl Scout cookies. I had forgotten that I have Tagalongs and Thin Mints in the pantry! Thanks for a great post.

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  6. Loved this! From your reference to your old ass typewriter to the part about being distracted. Great post!

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  7. I must say I quite loved this post! I also have a blog and it blows my mind how easily offended people can get! and not even about touchy topics like politics and religion, but I wrote a post about the 50’s, and had several people jump down my throught about how I didn’t know what I was talking about Sheesh! Anyway as long as you possess talent people will try and knock you down. Figures

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  8. writerintherough

    Love this one. I’m a writer as well, though not as long as you have been, but it is hard at times. And I have come to find that we don’t choose writing. It chooses us. Otherwise, why would we torture ourselves. Unless you’re into that, of course.

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  9. Number 4 rings true with me. Except I usually eat a BOX of cookies before I go write the next sentence.

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