What is denial and how does it relate to a writer’s life? Some would argue writers don’t deny themselves of anything. The famous examples are those who lived lives of excess and wrote epic prose that inspired many generations to take the reins of their only existences and spend it on the road or at the end of a bar or in the arms of various “muses”. Those examples are pretty damn glorious. Who wouldn’t want to be able to make that decision and go and quaff froth from a glass, while picking up the next day and moving onto the next town and experience and muse? Okay. Best get to the point of this post otherwise I’m going to toss my laptop in the garbage and hitch a ride with the next car I see. Which could be hilarious, especially if it was a cab and while he/she kept asking me my destination I kept answering with, “why do we need one?”, and “what is this word ‘fare’ you keep speaking of?”
Denial. Should we as writers deny ourselves anything? Yes and no.
I’ll start with “no” because my “yes” side rebuttal is the easier conclusion. See? I didn’t deny myself the easiest route. As writers, within our means – or beyond them, gulp – we shouldn’t deny ourselves any experience. Any and all experiences are to be had as they fuel our imaginations and thus, fuel plots and characters. From the minor and seemingly inconsequential, such as grabbing a coffee during our morning routine, to the more epic, like accepting an invitation to a party where we only know one person and that person bails and we are left standing by ourselves doing what we do best (observing people) all experiences should be had. They are what keeps us interesting but more importantly interested in humanity and thus, writing. Writers spend a lot of time alone, even if we have “day” jobs. We need experience in all forms to – I’ll say it again – fuel our creativity, and our desire to translate that into productivity. What better way to do that than give every opportunity its full and best chance to entertain and educate us?
I thought that went pretty well. I only used the word fuel twice and both times I feel it worked. Now for the “yes” side.
Why we should deny. Because sometimes some offers, opportunities and experiences aren’t what we are looking for. You get invited to something. You aren’t 19 so you’ve been to things like this before. You can plot out the entirety of the night’s/day’s/afternoon’s/evening’s events before you have time to take your next breath. I argue, if it’s something you don’t want to do, don’t do it. Deny it. Why? Because you are not open to the full experience anyway so why waste your time going somewhere and doing something you have already mentally shunned? Yes, there is the ethos of “you never know” and that’s entirely valid, however, if you would rather stay home and read or go do something else, then deny what you don’t want and embrace what you do. You will at least gain something from having an interest in participating rather than feeling forced and, most likely, anxious about it. If I say anymore I’ll most likely be repeating myself, so that’s it for the “yes” side.
Now…denial. I think everyone lives in a state of denial about certain parts of their lives. Whether it be work, love, friends, addictions, regrets, successes, the past, the present, and/or the future. Writers are no different. The one thing I would say is don’t be in denial about writing. It takes work, dedication, an open heart, and an open mind. Don’t be in denial about feedback and its importance to your work and don’t deny feedback ever. Even if it’s not constructive and it literally is just a mean-spirited asshole being an asshole, you can ask yourself, “what has made this person become such an asshole?” and then BAM!, you just asked a pertinent question that leads to building a new and exciting asshole character for your next project.
Well, I wouldn’t exactly say I nailed that one. I tried. Hope it wasn’t entirely shit. I feel like I used a lot of adverbs in this post. If Stephen King ever reads it I do hope he doesn’t vomit at that last fact. Damn.