As a writer, there a few things more irritating than a pen that runs out of ink at the climax of a scene that’s been building for five pages. An irritant like that can feel at time like a bad case of allergies. I've come up with a few more irritants that make me want to alternately pull my hair our or throw my computer out the window or both at the same time. And here they are.
1. This one is an irritant to many who aren’t writers too I’m quite sure. The phone. It never rings until I’m comfortable in my chair, laptop revved up and fingers are on the keyboard. And it's across the room.
2. The weather. Why is it so damn sunny and nice out on my days I set aside for writing? I want it dark and stormy, a real mood intensifier. Not some unseasonably warm , happy come play outside temptation of a day.
3. Slow Internet is the bane of my existence. I have to wait to get to a wireless café or steal from my neighbour if I want to upload pictures on the blog (of which you will see are absent from this post) or if I even want to send out a large attachment.
4. The cat, much as I love her, seems to feel that if I’m writing, she must not be getting the attention she deserves. This also applies to the dogs, my husband and numerous other people who shall remain nameless.
5. Unknown technical problems. Like the computer shutting itself off with unsaved work on the screen. Or randomly choosing not to hook up to the Internet. Or choosing not to be able to find files that I have JUST saved.
6. Not hearing back from agents, editors or publishers in the time frame that THEY give. My agent isn’t a problem (She’s wonderful!), but I’m finding that publishing houses and editors don’t follow much in the way of their own time lines. Poopy heads.
7. Someone who has never written a book telling you how you should write yours. Or how they could write a book no problem, they just never got around to it. I try not to strangle these people. I prefer to kill them off in a scene somewhere. Preferably a nice, gruesome scene. Maybe turn them into a rotting zombie.
8. People asking, “Aren’t you done yet?” or “You’re a writer?” both are said with a large dose of snobbery and condescension. And yes, I have had people ask me these things.
9. A minor character in your book suddenly deciding to take on a life of their own and you realize that you now have to write them their own story. Or series. This one isn’t all bad, just one of those moments that you let out a sigh and wish your characters would sometimes, once in a while, behave themselves.
10. Last but not least. You finish your book, hand it out to your beta readers or editor, they give you their feedback and you realize that you have to cut out a massive chunk of your book and re-write it. Yes it will make the book better, but damn, I always wish I could have figured it out sooner and saved myself some grief.
Like a bad case of hives, these irritants can really get under your skin if you let them and worse, they can completely derail you from your writing progress. Take a deep breath, a walk in that beautiful sunshine that’s tempting you and let the irritation go.
I would love to hear what other irritants are out there, so comment away, tell us how bad a case of hives you’ve got and how you deal with them.