My new e-book is out. It’s my first full-length novel. And by full-length, I mean it’s like, a hundred and some pages. It took way too fucking long to write, so I’m gonna go ahead and call it full-length. I have a lot of sympathy for GRRM right now.
Anywho, the damn thing is done.
You know something? I fucking hate it. The more I worked on it, struggling to polish it and make it better and better… The more I hate the damn thing. I’ve read this is fairly common among authors. After publishing, they just want nothing to do with it. Just shit it out into the world, and be fucking done with it forever.
Imagine writing a novel is like dropping a big fat turd.
OK? Let me paint you a picture. You sit down on the toilet. You light a candle. The fan is blowing gently on your face. Your crack open a magazine. Everything is cool and zen and lovely in the world.
Then you start to shit. Right, this is obviously why you sat down on the toilet, and everything goes as expected for awhile. It’s smoooooth sailing in shit-town. And then, gradually, slooooowly, it starts to hurt.
Your shit suddenly isn’t so enjoyable. But you power through it. You grind your teeth, and you keep telling yourself that you just have to get through it. You have to. After all, this shit is your purpose right now. You just have to get it done.
OK and I was gonna keep this metaphor going, but it’s already a bit much. The point is, writing a novel is like taking a huge painful shit that never fucking ends, and at the end of it all you just hate everything about it and want to flush the damn thing down the toilet.
So that’s what I’m doing at the moment. Flushing this 2-year long shit down the Amazon toilet.
That’s not the main point of this post, though. Well, it is, but I’m pretending that there’s a deeper, more interesting point beneath all the shit metaphors and self-promotion.
As a creative type, it’s natural to have a little self-loathing. All the best artists are a little bit fucked in the head. No sources on that, but trust me. They are. Like, here’s a checklist.
- Abused as a child
- Frequent drug use
- History of mental illness
If you can manage to have a huge ego and hate yourself at the same time, you’re well on your way to being a great artist. But yeah, if your horrible past is haunting your every waking moment, that helps too.
I’m not saying that you have to be fucked up in the head to be an artist, but the act of writing fiction is a fucking crazy thing to do. You have to have this entire world inside your head, and then you have to decide that other people should go to this weird made-up world too. That’s a weird fucking idea to have. Most people are smart enough to keep their weird made-up craziness to themselves.
The self-hatred aspect of the whole thing probably isn’t universal though. There are probably authors out there who spend a year or two grinding out a project, and at the end they hold up their finished manuscript and a golden fucking light shines down on them, and everything in the world is fucking magnificent. Not me, but somebody out there can do that.
For me, though, there’s a good reason why I fucking hate my book. It’s not because it’s BAD. If it was bad, I would have thrown it into a folder with all my other old rejected projects, never to see the light of day.
I hate my book in the same way you might hate a nipple clamp that you can’t remove. Like, at first, you might enjoy a painful clamp on your nipple. But then it’s permanently stuck there, and every day it just grates on your consciousness until you wanna scream and tear your whole nipple off just to be rid of it.
OK, that’s another bad metaphor.
The thing about writing long-form projects, is that… You have to write the same damn scenes multiple times. I did two complete drafts, and a third draft of rewrites throughout the text. So I basically wrote the damn thing two and a half times. That’s just the start, though. Then comes the editing, which is the part where you REALLY want to tear that nipple clamp clean off. Editing is the process of going over something that you’ve already worked really hard on, and slowly becoming more and more aware over time just how flawed the whole thing is.
But yeah, the thing is done, and I hate it, and I hate the description I wrote on Amazon, and I hate the book itself, and I hate myself a little bit just for good measure.
It’s good, though. You should buy it.