Wednesday, February 18, 2009

That Evil Writer-Hater in Your Head

Ever have days when ALL of the world's problems weigh on you? Like you're trying to write your cute middle grade mystery/adventure novel and the evil writer-hating voices in your head say things like, "There are children starving all over the world and this is what you're doing?!" or "How long are you going to stick your head in the sand while Michigan's economy tanks? Go ahead! Fiddle around with words while Rome burns."

"Shut it," I tell the voice. "Gabriel Garcia Marquez said the best thing a writer can do for the world is write."

"Oh did he? When? In what book?"

"HE SAID IT! See? It's copied neatly here above my desk."

"He never said that."


Why don't you Google it and prove it?"

"Fine!" I yell. "I will."

Thirty minutes later, I hear giggling.

"Shut up," I say. "What's so funny?"

"Google Google Google. You got nothing. And meanwhile, the polar ice caps are melting."

I put down my pen and weep. "I know. And I love polar bears! But what can I do?"

"Nothing. You're useless. Put away the laptop and go get a donut or a bag of chips."

And she is right. And I have to obey.

What? That never happens to you? Oh. Well. Me neither. I was just speculating. Nobody crazy talking to herself around here.

Munch munch munch.


Elise Murphy said...

Went to the gym. Listened to Obama's speech. Decided writing was the least of my problems. Came home to stress about pregnant goat.


I know nothing about the Evil-Writer-Hater in my head.

Debbie Diesen said...

Since you probably have some comments that have been made but haven't been moderator-approved yet, this may be a repeat of some (currently unseen) comment ahead of me. But if no-one else has put you out of your Gabriel Garcia Marquez misery yet, I think the quote you're looking for is...

"I think that a novel about love is as valid as any other," he once remarked in a conversation with his friend, the journalist Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza (published as "El Olor de la Guayaba," 1982). "In reality the duty of a writer -- the revolutionary duty, if you like -- is that of writing well."

(I found that tidbit in an article at but it also shows up quoted elsewhere.)

Perhaps the evil-writer-hater-donut-pusher needs a name?

Kelly said...

I'm going to get a donut, too (in a reusable grocery bag of course!) ;)

J. Thorp said...

People need stories. They need stories to help them understand the world, to help them learn to read, to make them laugh, to make the cry, to make them feel, to deaden the pain, to inspire, to educate, to inflame, to soothe, you name it. People need stories.

Now, that snarky little hater in your head might try a different approach, like the one in my head. My hater insists that I *should* be writing, just not *this* story. The hater asks, "Does this story really need to be told (again ... snicker, snicker)? Is it the best story you have? Will this change anyone's life for the better?"

On the plus side, my hater inspired a fun discussion with our priest the other day on vice in fiction ...

Jacqui said...

Elise, the goats would provide hours of not-writing time for me.

Debbie, nope. You're the first. And thank you.

Kelly, enjoy!

Thorp, thank you. And tell your hater to shut it; I want THAT story.

Rena said...

Keep writing, Jacqui. People like me need stories to take us away from the reality we live in.

Mary Witzl said...

That evil Writer-Hater has been visiting me lately, too, mocking me and making me feel guilty for global warming, strife in West Africa, and the crimes of Pol Pot. S/He is trying to convince me I'm a crappy writer, too. And you may be right: a donut might be just the thing to shut her up.

Jacqui said...

Thanks, Rena.

Oh, Mary, you can't be responsible for all of that. I am.