Writerly Angst

My mom said yesterday that my recent posts sound full of writerly angst.

I mentioned it to one of my writerly friends, Marcella, and she asked if my mom reads the comments to my posts.

“Sometimes?” I ventured.

“See,” Marcella said, “the comments on your posts are all the ‘oh, yeah, I hear you’ type. Nobody is telling you to chin up or that things will get better. That,” she concluded, “is how you can tell if you’re leaking too much writerly angst.”

Marcella is very wise.

What normal people don’t understand, she agreed, is that writers are pretty much always full of writerly angst of one kind or another. It’s really just a matter of how much normal people notice it. We’re kind of like highly functioning alcoholics. Most of the time, we seem like everyone else. Until you notice that we always have a drink in our hands.

“Oh this?” we say with nonchalance, swirling the wine in the glass, “no, no – this just the usual.”

Then we kick the empty wine bottles behind the recycle bin.

My folks have friends who do something like this. On recycle day, he goes up and down the block putting empty wine bottles in other people’s recycle bins, so it doesn’t look like there are *so* many in theirs.

We all have our issues.

The hummingbirds area study in frenzied activity right now. We have a regular crew of five to seven rufus hummingbirds flying about in a near-constant assault on the feeders. They’re forever zooming in, squabbling, squeaking, snatching a drinking and rocketing off again. I’ve been playing with the tripod, getting action shots.

I’m getting a new camera for my birthday – everyone who loves me is chipping in for it and I’m tremendously excited. I’m graduating from my point and shoot. Hard to say if my photos will get better with a better tool. I’ll have a steep learning curve.

You can look forward to me posting about it, full of photographerly angst. Which just doesn’t sound nearly as profound, does it?

But you all can stand ready to tell me to chin up, stick with it.

Or hand me a glass of wine.

12 Replies to “Writerly Angst”

  1. wait, wait, wait… are you suggesting that writers and high-functioning alcoholics are something other than two very heavily overlapped circles in a Venn Diagram? *hides his drink*

  2. No! No, JC, I would *never* suggest such a thing! Actually, I would love to see the Venn Diagram with all the circles that writers heavily overlap…

  3. I like how you say "normal" people. I suppose we do think of ourselves as something other than normal, don't we? We can have long, intense conversations with each other about writing and characterization, but if we attempted the same with "normal" people, they either wouldn't understand, wouldn't care, think we're care, or all three.

    To be honest, I like being Abby-normal. It's a good place to be, so angst on!

  4. Wow. I sound so much wiser when I'm edited for brevity and wit. I guarantee that the rambling IM conversation was not so coherent as it is portrayed above.

  5. Ha, Danica, yes – I don't kid myself I'm normal. Maybe no one is? I think we need a tshirt: Get Your Writerly Angst On!

    And Marcella – I always do my best to make my friends sound as wise as possible, however much editing it takes. 😉

  6. Some business consulting guy pointed out that "creativity" could also be cast as "solving problems"–we've sold the painters and the engineers short to segregate the terms the way we do. At any rate, one of the things that struck me while writing an entire novel is how many creative moments/problems there are to solve: from big plot issues to word choice in a sentence.

    So while I like doing it on some level (many levels), when I'm on a run I can get problem-focused, which I think comes off kinda downer to the bystanders. *kicks wine bottle behind sofa*

  7. Good point, Ann Marie – though I still like to think the writers bring our own particular brand of nuttiness to the equation… but your point is well-taken that our particular "focus" can look like a downer. And to you and Linda, both, I'm loving that everyone is totally getting this analogy! who knew??

  8. Yes, I always read the comments. But you writers must realize that there are many…maybe lots…of us readers waiting to be entertained and/or informed. Many of us read your blogs for the stories, profiles, or humorous antidotes you provide. I acknowledge that most of your followers are other writers but please remember us, too.

  9. That's a good point, Mom. It's easy to get in the groove of writing for other writers, but this blog has long been followed by lots of non-writers, too. I hereby declare tomorrow Amusing Anecdote Day.

    (Hopefully something amusing will occur twixt now and then. Hmm…)

  10. kicks wine bottle behind chair (space behind sofa is full) and that Marcella's words of wisdom were quite wise indeed. I also would like to see the overlapping circles for writers. I wonder if any of us would be surprised by what we find. 🙂

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