Why I hate writing

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Do you know what I was going to call this post?

Why I hate writers.

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I’m in a really pissy mood right now and I’m not sure why. Two years ago, I would have done what any normal person would do. I would yell at my kids or eat a half gallon of Blue Bell ice cream, or turn on the Wii and box a few rounds. Heck, I may have done all of these things simultaneously.

But I’m not normal anymore.

I’m a writer.

I can sit here and say, “Well, I’m not really comfortable calling myself a writer. After all, I have no plans to ever have anything I write published into a book. Clearly, I’m not invested enough into the craft to call myself a writer, yada, yada.” (Unless, of course some publishing type happens to be reading this and wants to offer me an obscene amount of money to write my memoir. Please validate my existence!)

Whatever. Here I sit banging away at the keyboard, searching the depths of my soul as to why it is I’m so angry. I’m actually sitting here wondering if I should take a spiritual approach to writing about my anger, or if I should just go with my standard “katrant”. This is why I hate writing. Because everything becomes potential material. I’m always writing. Whether it’s in a notebook, on the computer or in my head. It won’t stop! Why won’t it stop?

Back to my original statement:

Why I hate writers.

Good writers and bad writers. All of you. I blame you all.

Good writers: I blame you because when I read your work I feel inferior. You force me to study the craft so that my writing can be better. This is an investment in time and energy. I don’t feel like investing right now. I just want to do what I feel like doing. But you make me look bad if I do that. Thanks for nothing.

Bad writers: I blame you because when I read your self indulgent, flowery-worded diatribes it gives me a false sense of confidence. You make me think I’m actually better than I am with your badness. Truth is, I still suck, just not as much as you do.

Okay…

Not really. I don’t hate writers. I love writers – all writers. I love writing – good and bad. All writing encourages me to write better. It’s just so darned frustrating sometimes.

I think I’ll eat some ice cream…

Carry on…

EDITOR’S NOTE: It occurred to me after writing this post that upon reading it, approximately 96% of people reading who consider themselves writers would wonder (if even for the briefest period of time) if I was referring to them when I mentioned “bad writers”. That’s another thing I hate about writing. It tends to do a number on your self esteem. Not to worry. I’m actually NOT talking about 96% of you.

And now you’re wondering if you’re in the 4%.

See what I mean?

« « Previous Post: Going deep (by Kirsten Nilsen) | Next Post: Why I hate writing, Part 2 » »

69 Responses to “Why I hate writing”

  1. Jason July 22, 2010 at 12:05 am #

    As the leader of the 4%, let me apologize that my “self indulgent, flowery-worded diatribes” have been such a distraction to you. I promise to do absolutely nothing to work on that problem.
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..First blogiversary contest! =-.

  2. Bridget July 22, 2010 at 12:08 am #

    Great post, Kathy. I love your writing, and I understand exactly what you mean… I think I’m going to eat some ice-cream (and hot brownies) right now. That ought to fix it!
    .-= Bridget´s last blog ..Detours =-.

  3. Jake July 22, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    I love reading something that moves me. I want to do the same thing to others, to get them off their butts to do something amazing. I also hate reading something like that because it makes me wonder how I’ll ever manage land any kind of profound thought, couple it with the right words and place it before readers to get them to do anything.

    Kathy, you’re part of the reason (a large one, mind you) why I blog right now. Your encouragement got me though some discouraging bloggity times.

    Just so you know. Thanks for the honesty 🙂

  4. Candy July 22, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    I hate them too. I wish you weren’t a writer because YOU I love. Can’t we compromise and call you a wranter? Now pass the ice cream, I have a neglected blog somewhere. And since you post so much more often than I do, I feel very small and insignificant.

    Rant on, my little katdish. Do it for the 4%.
    .-= Candy´s last blog ..Tasty Bites- Ginger Spice Granola =-.

  5. Aaron Deason July 22, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    That’s why comparing myself to others in whatever endeavor will ALWAYS suck. There are so many folks better than me. Of Course, there are tons worse, too!!! I guess what I have to do is quit comparing ME to the world and be the best me I can be (whether that is good or bad!)

    PS…Plain old vanilla Blue Bell is better for the soul
    .-= Aaron Deason´s last blog ..A Journey to Myself =-.

  6. n. davis rosback, nAncY July 22, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    yeah yeah….bla bla bla!
    pass the ice cream, will ya?
    .-= n. davis rosback, nAncY´s last blog ..crack! =-.

  7. bman July 22, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    You know what I’ve come to notice? If you really get down to the nitty gritty stuff… everyone’s a bad writer. So, no worries. Enjoy what you do, and when you don’t enjoy writing, kill a character or something. That should make anyone happy. You’re a god! BWAHAHAHAHA!

    (In truth, I couldn’t hack it as a “writer”, so now it’s a hobby of mine that I enjoy very much and only do it when I wanna. But that doesn’t pay…)

  8. susie @newdaynewlesson July 22, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    But why were you in a pissy mood?
    .-= susie @newdaynewlesson´s last blog ..Even Annoyance Can Be Forged Into A Treasured Moment =-.

  9. susie @newdaynewlesson July 22, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    Oh and forgot to say that I love your writing.
    .-= susie @newdaynewlesson´s last blog ..Even Annoyance Can Be Forged Into A Treasured Moment =-.

  10. alece July 22, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    perfectly said, kathy. i couldn’t agree more!

  11. Deb Holmes July 22, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    That ice cream looks really good. 🙂

  12. Deb Holmes July 22, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    Oh, and by the way… I think you’re a great writer.

  13. Bethany Smith July 22, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    “I’m gonna go talk to some food about this.” -Liz Lemon

  14. Grace July 22, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    This cracks me up. Your angst over calling yourself a writer is something I’ve felt for the 20+ years since I got a college degree in writing.
    .-= Grace´s last blog ..Thank You- Russell Brand =-.

  15. Marilyn July 22, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    Hahahaha. Honesty is the first rule of good writing!

  16. Sandra Heska King July 22, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    I blame you for my eating ice cream at 12:30 in the morning. What kind you ask? Lemonade Swirl topped with Hershey’s chocolate shell.
    .-= Sandra Heska King´s last blog ..There are Rules A Photoplay Prompt =-.

  17. gwen July 22, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    Thanks for the great read (ahem…rant?). You said it all, sister! It’s always so refreshing to discover that, as writers (good or bad), we all sort of walk around with these insecurities. Thanks for sharing.

  18. kat magendie July 22, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Made me laugh! Loved this post – please pass the ice cream!

    The worse thing writers can do is to compare themselves to anyone else’s writing. Put on the horse blinders. But, we all know that, don’t we? Writers love to write advice that they often igore themselves . . . haw!
    .-= kat magendie´s last blog ..Barry Fraser- A beautiful lovely man – We will miss him so very much =-.

  19. Alise July 22, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Ha! That pretty much sums it all up for me!

    I think it’s too early in the morning for ice cream. I’ll have to read this again later when it’s more socially acceptable to be drowning my sorrows.
    .-= Alise´s last blog ..Comparisons =-.

  20. michael July 22, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    I’m glad you stick with us in the 4 %. I would think that most of us don’t think of ourselves as writers though.
    .-= michael´s last blog ..Hold Fast =-.

  21. Cheryl Lewis July 22, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    Someone complimented my composition when I was young and the fire was lit – a writer I must become! My college coursework steered me toward a journalism degree and, voila, after my first newspaper byline, it was official: I was a writer! Hmm. Wasn’t enough, since our circulation wasn’t enough to suit my yearning. So I wrote a book. Then another. And another. One reached #1 on the NYT Bestseller List. Done, right? I could rest on my laurels? Well, no. Since I’m a ghostwriter, none of those books brought public acclaim – to ME. They were all published with my clients as authors. Most days, I wake up feeling frustrated, insecure and restless. So what are the odds that writing a bestseller – or three – or TEN – of my own will ease that? Yeah, not so much. Because I’ve finally realized that I never wanted to be a writer. I’ve been that since before my first cursive letters formed. I want to be a STAR. That’s all it will take to satisfy me. (Right, Lindsay Lohan?) Best to stick with Blue Bell: more pounds, less baggage.

    • Jane Wells July 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      @Cheryl Lewis,
      You NAILED it! All those post-college, small-market journalism bylines did was create a mini-media monster in myself. And now that I’m home with two boys doing the “most important job in the world” I’m starving to see my name in print again.
      Well, crap… might as well bust out the icecream! (If I share it with the boys it won’t all go to my waist.)
      Jane

  22. Louise July 22, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    Did you know they don’t sell Blue Bell ice Cream here in Canada? Not in Canada, you say.

    Yeah.

    So, I can’t even indulge in good ice cream to compensate for good or bad writing.

    harumph!

    Love the writerly rant — please do more of it! 🙂
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..The View From My Place =-.

  23. Jessica Benzakein July 22, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Ok now I am really depressed…. it’s been 10 years since I left my home state of Texas and 10 years since I’ve had Blue Bell ice cream. Oh sure, I’ve been back to visit, but it’s always a whirlwind visit and one cannot do whirlwind Blue Bell. It deserves one’s full attention… savoring every creamy spoonful… ah crap I think I just drooled on my 4 month old’s head…
    .-= Jessica Benzakein´s last blog ..The Wisdom of Listening =-.

  24. Helen July 22, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    I know what you mean, and I blame you. Until you introduced BC into our little world, I thought I at least had potential! Now I know that they aren’t even great thoughts in my head, much less when I punch them out on the keyboard. Oh well. It still releases the insanity from my brain, and there IS something to be said for that….
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Happy Anniversary- Bob and Me! =-.

  25. Megan Willome July 22, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    Preach it, sister!

  26. HisFireFly July 22, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Hate writers, hate writing. Love writers, love writing. It’s the split personality in all of us “writers” that echos in our heads, wanting to write more than anything, but doing anything else to avoid sitting down to capture the swirling words.

    Thak you for loving us and hating us enough to make us better!
    .-= HisFireFly´s last blog ..Tuesdays Unwrapped – On the water =-.

  27. Missy July 22, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Hi, visiting via Kirsten at NilsenLife.

    I completely get this, the love-hate feeling for other writers. Only recently was I willing to say out loud, “I’m a writer.” I am cracking up right now, because that statement was initially made after I felt encouraged by a particularly bad book. A week later, while reading a particularly good book, I almost packed up the dream for good.

    Glad to have found you. I’ll be back to read more!

  28. deidra July 22, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    Forget about the good writer bad writer thing! How about that ice cream? Blue Bell??? Why not Breyer’s??? Or Ben and Jerry’s??? Turkey Hill???

    • katdish July 22, 2010 at 10:35 am #

      Deidra – The mere fact that you would mention Breyers in the same comment as Blue Bell merely points out that you have most likely never tasted Blue Bell ice cream. Especially not Birthday Cake or Cookies & Cream with the giant chunks of oreos in there.

      Bless your heart.

      • Lainie Gallagher July 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

        What a devastating prospect, indeed… To have lived all of one’s life having never tasted Jesus’ favorite ice cream! I wish we could mail her some.
        .-= Lainie Gallagher´s last blog ..Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays =-.

  29. Alex@LateEnough July 22, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Wow. I hate writers too!

    Of course that means I hate myself.

    But I don’t have time for therapy.

    Maybe I’ll just write it out.

    Even though that’s what got my in this mess in the first place.

    Life is complicated. Ugh.
    .-= Alex@LateEnough´s last blog ..I’m The King Of World! Hungry And Without Television But Still King-ish =-.

  30. Bradley J Moore July 22, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Great rant, KD. You are only venting what we all are feeling. I love the honesty. And your writing is great – your unique style transcends techical definitions of “good”.

    And I’m so with you on that lame 4%.

  31. Kyle Reed July 22, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    I feel you and often feel the same way.
    .-= Kyle Reed´s last blog ..Why Mediocrity is Addicting =-.

  32. Katie July 22, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    Bwhahaha! This is perfect. THis is where I am right now! I just manned up and was able to call myself a writer and now I hate (and love) all writers. EVERYTHING is a blog post in my mind. Yesterday we went to the movies and encountered ridiculousness and I said to my husband, “well shit, I have a whole blog post right here.” I AM ALWAYS WRITING!

    and I love it.

    No, I hate it.

    Meh.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..I Saw the Signand It Opened Up My Eyes =-.

  33. Tina Dee July 22, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    RFLOL–I feel ya, totally. Laughed so hard I almost choked my way through a half gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream as I read you’re post. Thanks for making my day, and, at least now I know my hubby knows the Heimlich.

    Katdish–just love ya!
    .-= Tina Dee´s last blog ..Crazy Monday Recipe Lil Tigers Pasta Salad =-.

  34. Kathleen July 22, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    This post will forever be THE DEFINING moment in your life. Life before and life after. It will be a pleasure to read your book. Amazon 1 click preorder is poised and ready.
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Only on a Motorcycle =-.

  35. Maureen July 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Well, I’ve been called “intimidating” but maybe not “bad”. There’s “bad” as in the meaning you find in the dictionary, that is, “not good”, and then there’s that other meaning of “bad”, as in the lingo my only’s generation uses to mean really good (sometimes three letters are attached to the word to arrive at this meaning).

    Trader Joe’s sells great chocolate btw. Alas, it doesn’t sell Blue Bell brand ice cream.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..Down on the Farm =-.

  36. Elaina July 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Being a writer is pretty much like Paul’s thorn in the side. I’m just sayin’.
    .-= Elaina´s last blog ..In the trenches =-.

  37. jasonS July 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Ah, you’re awesome, Ms. Katdish. And I do have low self-esteem and wondered if I was a bad writer. I don’t think I do many flowery diatribes so maybe I’m a mediocre writer. I can deal with that (for now). 🙂
    .-= jasonS´s last blog ..6 Ideas for Maintaining Excitement =-.

    • katdish July 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

      No, “flowery” does not come to mind when I think of your writing, Jason.

  38. Lainie Gallagher July 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    I am right there with you. If I’m furious, I have to write. If I’m dying inside, I have to write. If I’m elated, I have to write. Write, write, write.

    But, I’m afraid to call myself a writer.

    Thank you for being such an encourager to writers! (You know, most of the time. This post is really kinda mean, but I didn’t take it personally since I don’t call myself a writer. So, I can rest assured that you don’t hate me, at least!)
    .-= Lainie Gallagher´s last blog ..Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays =-.

    • katdish July 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

      You should take it personally. Just because you’re afraid to call yourself a writer doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. Of course I don’t hate you. You’re so silly.

  39. Ed Cyzewski July 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks for such an honest post. I could almost anticipate what you were going to write because I think you’re speaking a truth that so many writers feel at times.

    And for what it’s worth, that post was so awesome that I have not doubt you can call yourself a writer. Don’t let a few editors devalue your work. I’ve actually written something similar along these lines recently:
    http://www.edcyz.com/when-can-you-call-yourself-a-writer/07/

  40. Billy Coffey July 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Holy wow. I was going to ask you what was in that ice cream, but instead I’m just going to say Yes.
    .-= Billy Coffey´s last blog ..Best Friends =-.

  41. Joanne Sher July 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    hehehe. Yes. SOOO there. NO idea where I fall (and don’t tell me – I don’t wanna know). But I can relate.
    .-= Joanne Sher´s last blog ..As Of Late late! =-.

  42. Kay July 23, 2010 at 7:08 am #

    I know exactly what you mean, and if it helps you feel at least a little better you aren’t the only one wondering why it won’t stop, although many of my writerly friends shuffle nervously aside when my own anger inevitably mounts when I predict the ending of a movie five minutes in. Perhaps its the growling in the dark. Hmm. Maybe ice cream’s not a bad idea after all.

  43. Dina Santorelli July 23, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Or maybe I could have… 🙂
    .-= Dina Santorelli´s last blog ..Why Finishing This Novel Is Like Playing Sudoku =-.

  44. Bangalow Accommodation July 23, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    Love that you honour ice cream in the writing process. I tend to eat alot when I am editing. Both writing and editing makes me fat. I also have a love hate relationship with writing. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I always feel inferior and superior – like a jekkyll and hyde. I love that you have brought this topic to light – and that you have lightened the topic (does that little play on words put me in the 4% or 96% LOL)

  45. Mary Patricia Bird July 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    And I thought I was the only one who felt that way. Makes me feel better… though a carton of Rocky Road ice cream would make me feel even better (it’s so hard to find unless you have a Baskin Robbins nearby). Lately I’ve been feeling like I should give up on my dream.

  46. Cassandra Frear July 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    I was snort-larfing (Duane Scott’s term, thank him, not me) through the whole piece and saw how many responses you got to it. Then I put my head down on the table, laughing. Too much. Too much.

    I don’t care which category I fit. This is a hoot.
    .-= Cassandra Frear´s last blog ..Leaping the Wall =-.

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