I read one today and became extremely depressed about writing in general. I was filled with this sense of despondency about my verb usage and my abilities to construct sparkling sentences of varying lengths and styles. I realized there was no hope for me. I spiraled downward in a trajectory of hopelessness where I was forced to confront the realization that my stories are not fabulous. They lack intriguing ideas. The plots are starved. The voice resonates as loudly as the gurgle of a titmouse at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
I am a deluded moron, I thought, laboring at a futile task. I might as well be in one of the seven circles of hell.
I mean, I'm not, really. I'm fine. If I suck at writing, no big deal. If my stories bite, big whoop (is that how you spell it? I'm going for a colloquial tone here).
One day recently, I arrived home in an unusually sunny mood. Stoker was there, haranguing Bastet (the cat), teasing her and such (she loves it) and I said to him, "Yeah, I had a great day writing. I got over whatever lethargy I was feeling and realized I'm good. My stories are good. I'm fantastic. I suddenly realized I haven't been laboring at a futile task for the past five years. It was great." I said it with an appropriate amount of animation.
And he said, "Well, if you think about it, everything we do is futile. Right? I mean, it's all for naught anyway. Isn't it? Your writing. My life. Your life. My job. Your job. Etc."
So there you go. Just when I'd gotten to the crest of the hill in my emotional roller coaster, someone was there to quash it with a nihilistic lecture.
No, it was funny, really, and I gave him hell in a funny, ribbing kind of way, because what better method to counter nihilism than with a well-timed sarcastic comment? Eh? Eh?
I need a good dose of sarcasm right now. Whose idea is it to make those ridiculous Ten Tips For Writers lists, anyway? Seriously?
Some people thrive on the coaching style wherein the cruel drill sergeant-type hurls insults littered with a good amount of spittle at them until they rise to the occasion and emerge victorious. That's great. I mean, to continue the metaphor, no one wants pampered soldiers because a spoiled, indulged soldier will turn and run when they need to confront an enemy (or whatever).
I'm not saying I need to be coddled. I do get tired of the emotional roller coaster, though. It's easier to give up and not try at all. Eventually I rise to the occasion and get over the negative thoughts plaguing me. I shouldn't read the lists in the first place and that would be a great start. I should be less susceptible to negativity and more idiotically confident and ignorant of the possibility that I might truly suck at whatever I'm trying.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, for all I know I'm one of the tuneless, tone-deaf morons trying out for American Idol under the misconception that I'm great. "People have been telling me that my whole life, that's why I'm here, Simon, because I'm the next American Idol."
"You're terrible. Dismissed. Thank you. Goodbye."