Monday, June 19, 2017

5 Archenemies of Writers

The archenemy is a critical character in many fictional stories. Most often they are defeated in the end, but not until they give the hero a good sound kick in the ass a few times. In addition, the hero usually has to survive a vigorous test to their moral character to gain the ability to conquer their archenemy. Well, I’m here to tell you that our fictional characters are not the only ones who are subjected to the evil ways of an archenemy. We writers have some difficult ones to overcome ourselves.

Sally Squirrel
Little Sally Squirrel seems too cute and tiny to cause any real trouble, but that’s why her weapon of distraction is so effective at taking down writers. We don’t see her coming, and once we do catch sight of her, we simply smile and say, ‘Aw, she’s so cute.’ Next thing we know—POOF—we’ve been sucked into her tornado of distraction and missed our window of hitting our daily word count. It’s difficult to battle Sally since she can morph into many forms: social media, kids, pets, non-writer responsibilities, and on and on and on . . .

Time Swift
Please note that Time Swift should not be confused with Taylor Swift. While Taylor can spin a wicked pop tune, Time wickedly spins the hands of time. When we begin our new project, that deadline (whether official or self-imposed) seems obtainable. We have plenty of time to reach it, so we go to bed intending to start fresh the next day. Only once we awake it’s as though time has disappeared and we’re scrambling to get everything done in time. Seconds pass quickly to hours to weeks to months, and we’re sitting here staring at the start of the next NaNoWriMo like WTF?!?

Professor Imposter
“What makes you think you can write?”
“You call that a novel? {insert sinister laugh}”
“My five year old has better grammar than you.”
“Please, step out of the way and let the real writers go past.”

These are just a few of the sweet nothings Professor Imposter likes to whisper in our ears. Her only objective is to make us believe we are not worthy of the title ‘writer’. She’s a professor, after all, so she would know. Right?

The F-Bombinator
This archenemy throws F-bombs that are more devastating than the one that rhymes with truck. I’m talking about that evil 7 letter word: Failure. The F-Bombinator tosses out the failure bombs more rapidly than a batting cage stuck in hyperdrive. The bombs hit their target, and we’re convinced we’re going to fail. We won’t get that manuscript done in time. We’ll never hit the publish button or get an agent. We’ll never sell any books. We’ll never be as good as author-fancy-pants. We try to regain control, but mostly all we can do is sit back and watch all our writerly hopes go up in flames—BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! It should also be noted that The F-Bombinator is even more effective after we’ve gone a few rounds with Professor Imposter.

Mr. Rainmaker
Mr. Rainmaker is difficult to defeat as he can possess the body of anyone around you. He’s that reviewer who craps all over your book. He’s your family member who wants to know why it’s taking you so long to write your book. He’s the many agents/publishers who shoot you down before you can even say, “Hi, my name is—” He’s the editor who just doesn’t get your vision. Even on a perfectly sunny day, Mr. Rainmaker is there, bringing you down by raining on your happy parade.

So how do we stay strong and continue to defeat all of these archenemies?

The first two, Sally Squirrel and Time Swift, require diligence and organization. Put Sally in a cage and only let her out at pre-scheduled times. Time is best defeated with obtainable goals that we keep visible.

Professor Imposter, The F-Bombinator, and Mr. Rainmaker require a different strategy. Luckily, it can be done in three easy steps:
  1. dig deep
  2. grab the hilt of your self-worth sword
  3. swing with all your might

Simple, right?

If you feel you’ve lost your self-worth sword, or don’t feel strong enough to unsheathe it, then it’s time to turn to your side-kick. Every good superhero has someone who can back them up, so should every superwriter. They can help you find your self-worth sword, or even lend you theirs in desperate times. If you don’t have a side-kick, let me know and I’ll be happy to stand by you!



Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I needed this today. Thanks, Carrie!

Mary Fan said...

LOL!! Great post, Carrie!! So much truth...

Brenda St John Brown said...

Oh my God! All of these!! I swear, I've experienced every single one this week (except Mr. Rainmaker and that's only b/c the dogs don't talk back) and it's only Tuesday! Here's to caging Sally Squirrel and telling the others to GTH. :)

Carrie Beckort said...

You're welcome! Sally's been kicking my butt a lot lately, so I needed it as well :)

Carrie Beckort said...


Carrie Beckort said...

I hear you! It does seem like they all like to strike at once.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

I love this piece Carrie, so needed it today, I've been at a loss for words lately and I've allowed all these situations to separate me from my writing. I'm getting back on the horse, thank you.

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