Monday, 23 February 2009

Rehab

This might be a joke. It might not.

I am an addict. I am addicted to writing. And to reading. The reading bit I can cope with (apart from the times I pick up a book that is poorly written and rant about how such a piece of garbage ever made it into print). It is the writing bit I have problems with.

And today I am desperate for a cure. I want to be free of the compulsion that drives me to sit down and string words together. Not because this is inherently bad or detrimental to my health per se. I want to be free because it eats me from the inside out. It uses up all my physical and psychic energy. It uses up vast amounts of my time. It turns me into a boring and increasingly bitter husk. Because writing isn’t the end of it. You then feel compelled to expose it to other people.

I have fine friends who tell me they love my writing and to them I am eternally grateful. There are agents and editors who tell me my writing is good, but in the current climate… (this being the latest phrase of choice) they are not taking on new clients/prepared to take a risk on unknowns.

You get to the stage where you wonder what the point is. Why string words together if no one is going to buy them and see them (and make me enough money so I don’t have to choose, for example, between heating a room or running the dehumidifier to keep damp at bay – that bit’s not a joke).

This may seem like an awful whine. Maybe it is. But I have always worked hard. I have always lived well below the official poverty line. I never bought into the system that is now crashing about people’s ears. I don’t mind being ‘poor’. I just want to get rid of the voices in my head that keep me on this soul-destroying treadmill.

But, of course, there isn’t a cure. Like every other writer who suffers from depression, I have to sit this out, tell myself that writing is a therapy and will make me happier, suppress the urge to moan about things, and just get on with it.

My best hope for today is that this post might dissuade people from thinking that writing is [a] easy and [b] financially rewarding (the average annual earnings of a writer in the UK have crashed from the princely sum of £7000 to £4000). If you are hooked already, you have my deepest sympathy. If you are dabbling, step away now before it is too late.

5 comments:

liz fenwick said...

hugs from a fellow addict.
lx

Graeme K Talboys said...

Thanks, Liz. You can tell it's February, can't you.

Pom said...

Graeme, I write and delete (not the blog) because I have no sense of confidence in anything that I put down. I admire your ability to keep at it because you are truly a talent that I see as underappreciated.

Your frustration is palpable. I understand and the solutions are not easy even if I do have a few ideas about it.

Of course I come from a country where Denis Leary is on the best sellers list. So much for credibility in regards to Americans' "culture".

Graeme K Talboys said...

Aw. Bless. Thanks.

I know there are ways forward. Just now I am very tired and it skews your view of the world when you see it through weary eyes. It would be nice, for a change, to have someone say they will sort it all out for you. Much more satisfying when you do it for yourself.

Lane said...

I think you're weary and that's understandable - you've had a tough couple of months. You'll always write and you know that. So will I (probably) but when you're tired,
trying your best and endeavoring to pay this and that, that's when a rejection really stings.

Hugs to you Graeme. I'm sure you've got it in you to see this through and soon the days will be lighter and longer. Hurrah:-)