As a writer, I like to complain. Artfully, if possible, with plenty of tribulation thrown in for good measure, of course, but, usually, any old grouse will do.
It's the burden of being an artist, right? We suffer and bleed our insightful impulses onto paper for the enlightenment of others. We have the right to complain about the agony of it all.
I recently wondered what the point of all these wretched woes are when I last had the opportunity to begin my usual writerly griping. I was talking to another writer, who stated that she just didn't have the time to write. I agreed. It was on the tip of my tongue to detail all the things that daily harassed my writing routine. But she spoke first – almost the exact words I would have used – and I knew why I wanted to complain.
The fact is, I was feeling guilty. I knew I hadn't been trying, that there were plenty of opportunities that I had been too tired or too lazy or too bored of which to take advantage. Isn't it obvious? I wanted to complain to hide my shortcomings. I think that attitude is one most of us writers can relate to.
It's so much safer to detail the troubles keeping us from writing than it is to actually do the thing we need to do. Everybody these days has a busy life – they can understand the inability to accomplish a long and difficult goal. It's safer and more comfortable to gain a sympathetic ear rather than to do the work itself.
Sadly, the more we complain, the less we write. It becomes a habit to not write then to complain about all the work we can't do. All the while, we pay for books and courses, visit blogs and websites, and go to meetings that tell us the 101 Ways to Become a Better Writer when we could simply do the deed itself and become better through practice.
I think it's time we all took an honest look at the obvious: we'd be better writers (we'd feel like writers) if we actually wrote.
I'm sure I'll still need to complain from time to time about the lack of hours in a day. But, from now on, I'll make sure it's after I've actually attempted to write.