Ask Ceil – How’s the Writing Going?

Dear Ceil:

If someone asks me how the writing’s going, are they being passive aggressive? Or just mocking me, outright?

Hansen from The Heartland

Dear Hansen,

They’re not being passive-aggressive, nor are they mocking you.

They are aggressively mocking you.

If there are two things everyone knows about writers, it’s:

1. We procrastinate. We procrastinate so much we’re not even allowed to skydive because we’d never get around to pulling the rip cord. (Fact: 100% of writers who tried skydiving made a writer-shaped hole in the ground. And by “tried skydiving” I mean that they actually made it to their lesson on time & got on the plane before it departed. So, like, one single writer. He will be missed.)

2. The very moment we finish dotting that last “i” on any piece of work, we are absolutely going to tell every single human about it. If you haven’t posted a giant (and usually self-effacing but also somehow self-aggrandizing?) announcement that you’re finished, everyone knows you’re not finished.

The people who ask how your writing is going may, in fact, just be eager to read your newest contribution.

However, you can’t rule out that they may be trying to psych you into a twisting mental cavern of anxiety and fear. There is that possibility. (I mean, who’s more evil than humans? No one, that’s who. Not a single damn thing on Earth is more evil than humans. Maybe the lamprey, which is essentially a tube of teeth with eyes. Lampreys and humans, and that’s it. Is your friend a lamprey?)

I think you have a few options here.

First, you could simply not speak to any people at all until you’re done. While this is, of course, the most ideal course of action, it might prove to be challenging since this planet is lousy with humans. And they all want to talk to each other all the damn time and usually about nothing. They’ve even created several computer programs that allow them to be less productive, so that they can talk more about nothing. Frankly, I’m a little shocked at Darwinism over this whole situation, but here we are anyway.

Second, you could simply block anyone who asks about your writing (either online, or physically in person—like a football lineman—you could just body-block them into a building, or possibly into traffic).

Third, you could announce every tiny iota of progress on social media, and then dare people to ask for further detail. If they do, you could challenge them to a duel, or simply spray paint “I’M FINE. EVERYTHING’S FINE” on their house. So they know. Y’know?

Finding a method of dealing with those who either care about you, or who are possibly engineering your intellectual demise, is an important part of writing. Regardless of the course you choose, I wish you luck.


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