It Helps If You Are Completely Bonkers

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Vain, selfish and lazy? Speak for yourself Eric Blair aka George Orwell. Most writers I know are none of those things. These days the only people you will come across like that are certain editors and literary agents as well as some professional critics. The latter category, especially the odd one or two who write for newspapers and literary magazines here in the UK, can definitely be said to be vain and selfish. To those two unsavoury qualities I would add a few others – condescending, snobbish, scathing and vicious, particularly when it comes to one leading newspaper’s literary critic and his deep loathing of Indies. Compared to him, internet trolls are rank amateurs.

As for the rest of what Eric is quoted as saying – writing is a long exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness, he’s perfectly correct. It is. With a few exceptions, I seriously doubt that anyone who reads books has the faintest notion of what we go through when writing one. Blair was also right when he said that – one would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist, nor understand.

In my own case, what drives me to write is not so much a demon as the burning desire to share a story with you the reader. So the next time you read any book, whether you liked it or not, ask yourself what kind of hell did the author of this book put themselves through when he or she wrote this? How many sleepless nights did they suffer to bring the story to me? How many times were they afflicted with the one problem all writers suffer from on a fairly frequent basis – writer’s block?

As if all of that wasn’t enough for the writer to contend with, there are the endless attacks by internet trolls. In some cases they are actually disgruntled fellow writers who are seriously annoyed that people buy, like, and praise your work while shunning theirs. Some trolls are nothing more than malicious individuals hiding behind pseudonyms, thriving on hate while hoping that you will react, judging by their often incomprehensible one star reviews.

Do I still want to write for a living? Hell yes, even though it often drives me to distraction. Once you have been bitten by the writing bug, everything else in your life apart from writing posts like this, and chatting to readers and friends on Facebook, rapidly vanishes into the distance.

You heard it here first folks. It helps if you are completely bonkers with a masochistic streak when it comes to writing.

😉

31 thoughts on “It Helps If You Are Completely Bonkers

  1. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    George Orwell once claimed that all writers are vain, selfish and lazy…read what Jack Eason has to say in rebuttal of this outrageous statement…my personal opinion based on experience (self and others): most writers are workhorses committed to delivering a unique message….whether you like that message or not, next time you read a book, perhaps you could consider the effort invested to bring it to life? (And I’m certainly not saying there are not lousy books….just that all creative work represents much blood, sweat and tears). Thank you Jack Eason!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    As a writer I deny, absolutely any suggestion that I am, in any sense bonkers. Now can someone pass me that ladder so I can descend, in safety from the top of Nelson’s Column!
    When reading scathing reviews of an author’s work I sometimes ask myself whether the reviewer has ever expended blood, sweat and tears when writing a book. Reviewers must, of course be honest but as a poet once wrote “tread softly on my dreams”. Kevin

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  3. Still can’t re-blog, dammit! Vanity? Soon trounced by the 1-star trolls, hey, Jack? Hard-working? I’ll say. 16 hour days, seven days a week are normal here. Bonkers? Must be. Any sane person would get themselves a business degree and become one of those self-serving and vastly over-rewarded bankers.

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  4. I have to agree with you, Jack. Especially about the scathing reviews. My mother taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything, and it applies to reviews. I started writing after retiring, and if that isn’t masochistic, I don’t know what is! Most of my friends are amazed.

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  5. That we’re all bonkers is taken as read, of course. But I challenge Aldous on his comment that writing is like an illness. Having suffered with a relatively serious condition for ten years (I’m currently writing an account of this, now I’ve recovered, in the hopes of raising awareness and some cash for one of the charities), and having written several novels, I can see no similarities at all. But then, for me, writing is a joy as well as a compulsion. All part of the madness, I suspect. There I go, tapping at the keys for hours on end with little expectation that my gems will actually be appreciated. But, for reasons I can’t define, I have to do it. Honest, I just have to!

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  6. Just so love your take on things Jack! You never cease to amaze me. Yes! You are right. We are bonkers. We have to be. Who else would do all of that for the paltry $1.40 Amazon gives us these days? (Yes, I read all your posts). No one of sound mind, for sure. But hey, we’re grateful just to be read, right? We dont need to feed a coffee addiction in Starbucks do we? I mean how many books would we have to write to afford that?

    Lol! Writing is hard work AND fun. Rewarding AND disappointing. Choice AND compulsion. It’s who we are. Vain, selfish, lazy? No. If anything, most writers I have met are less than confident or enamoured of their ability; we fit it around caring for our families or giving 100% to our day jobs; in my book, that does not sound like vanity, selfishness or laziness.

    Perhaps back in the day, when writers relied on wealthy patrons, but not in today’s climate.

    And btw, I never knew George Orwell was a pen name…

    Liked by 1 person

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