The Year of the Office: Writing is hard

Kerouac, the cat by Fellpe Miguel via Flickr

Professional Author: Okay let’s get to work.

Artiste: Fine. What have we got to work on?

PA: We’ve finished the outline for the new women’s fiction title. Write some of that.

Artiste: Ugh. Do we have to?

PA: Well, we could write a chapter or two on the new Downtown Divas Romance.

Artiste: I’m not in the mood for romantic comedy. And anyway, we haven’t worked out that thing yet. You know, that thing?

PA: Maybe we haven’t worked it out because we don’t need it. Or maybe if we just start writing, it’ll come to us.

Artiste: But I don’t feel like writing that.

PA: Well…write some backstory or world-building on that paranormal thing we wanted to write.

Artiste: You know that was your idea. You’re the one who wants to write something that actually sells. You’re all about the bottom line.

PA: Seriously? Why the heck do you think we’re sitting here in this fabulous third-floor office in Historic–

Artiste: –also your idea.

PA: –Downtown? We wanted to be professional about this. We wanted to write more books.

Artiste: Look, I’m an artist. I don’t want to write something just because it sells.

PA: <smacks head> As long as it’s a story you like, there’s no compromise of our integrity.

Artiste: I do like the idea…but…

PA: It’s the sex thing, right?

Artiste: You want us to write sex scenes.

PA: People like sex!

Artiste: I just don’t feel like tackling that right now. I’m afraid it’ll make us feel dirty. And anyway, you said people like romance, so we wrote that romantic comedy. Uh…hello? Are we famous yet? Just because I write a paranormal sex romp in no way guarantees the success you’re counting on.

PA: We’ve been over this already. We’re writing a paranormal romance. I know we are because we’re thinking about it a lot and the story is coming together in our head. But, okay, not today. What else can we work on?

Artiste: What’s the point?

PA: WHAT? What’s the point? It’s what we do!

Artiste: But why do we do it? To what purpose?

PA: <sputtering> It’s…it’s…who we are. We’ve been writing stories since elementary school. We wrote our first novel in middle school.

Artiste: Uh, hello. I don’t mean to be rude, but that was all me. You didn’t show up until 2012. I’ve been toiling away here, for too many years to count, so I think I know when we’re having an existential crisis.

PA: We don’t have time for that. We’re in the office! We are professional now. We work even when we’re sick, when we don’t have any inspiration, when we’re so depressed we’re weeping into our Diet Coke.

Artiste: I’m sorry. I think we have writer’s block.

PA: We don’t believe in writer’s block! Writer’s block does not exist! Remember? We made Facebook posts and Tweets about it. About how we’re professional now. Getting through the procrastination that we call writer’s block is simply a matter of writing! Whether we feel like it or not.

Artiste: I’m just not there. Nothing inspires me. Nothing grabs at me. And you know as well as I do that if I’m not excited about the project, the reader won’t be.

PA: Uh, well, number one: There won’t be any project for readers to diss if we don’t–

Artiste: –I can’t believe you’re bringing up that one-star review thing! You know how upset I’ve been about that.

PA: Oh, get over it, already. And number Two: the only way for us to get excited about a project is to work on it! Come on! Butt in chair! Let’s go!

Artiste: Our butt is already in the chair. Nothing’s happening.

PA: Write anything! A poem.

Artiste: You know we have to be really, really depressed to write poetry.

PA: A short story!

Artiste: We haven’t had an idea for a short story in months.

PA: Just start writing and something will come to us.

Artiste: I don’t think you are fully grasping my existentialist pit of despair.

PA: No. I got it. You feel like you’re a tiny voice in a maelstrom. You feel alone and abandoned. You feel like no one understands you and no one cares. You feel like you’ll never be successful at the only thing you’re really good at–that it’s possible that you’re not really all that good at the only thing you’re good at. Part of you feels like you are under appreciated–that life isn’t fair–and the other part feels that you get what you deserve. You feel like you’re going to die having never been read–really read, like, widely.

Artiste: Thanks for laying it all out there. I feel so much better.

PA: Sarcasm?

Artiste: I realize you’re too professional to delve into the intellectual’s true artistry.

PA: But I’m right aren’t I? About all of that?

Artiste: Yep. I think you nailed it. I just don’t see the point in writing, anymore.

PA: So, we’re going to get a job at Walmart?

Artiste: Maybe we’ll go back to school.

PA: Oh, for the love of Grumpy Cat, not that again!

Artiste: Woe is me. Woe is I? Woe are we?

PA: Okay, how about this? How about we accept that we will never be successful while we’re alive. But just think. Once we’re dead and buried, somebody might discover one of our books. Camelia, for instance–a masterpiece, if we’re allowed to say–

Artiste: –We’re not supposed to think that highly of ourselves.

PA: That’s our artiste talking.

Artiste: Uh, yeah.

PA: As I was saying, once we’re dead, we could be discovered.

Artiste: Couldn’t we just Tweet something super offensive to a whole lot of people and create a Twit-storm? Then we could be famous and read widely in our lifetime.

PA: You want to go with the no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity ploy?

Artiste: You’re right. We’re too nice. The only sorts we’d feel comfortable offending are writers and I’m not sure that would generate the Tweets.

PA: Look, you’re stepping over your bounds…entering Professional Author territory. Let me worry about marketing.

Artiste: Why bother? What’s the point of going on?

PA: I just told you! After we’re dead, we’re going to be famous! So, get our fingers on the keyboard and let’s write something worthy.

Artiste: After we’re dead…hmm. That might just be morbid enough to spark something…

PA: See, all we need is a little push. This office is totally worth it.

Artiste: Don’t you miss working in our pajamas?

PA: A little. And by the way, blogging doesn’t count as work.

Artiste: Of course it does.

PA: No. It’s not work. We’re still not working.

Artiste: We are. This totally counts.

PA: You can keep going, trying to up the word count, all you want. It doesn’t count.

Artiste: Does so!

PA: Does nah-ot…

Artiste: *&$#

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