Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Toxic writing friends

One of the hazards of being a writer, especially one that is trying to make a living at writing, is having toxic writing friends.

Toxic writing friends are those people, who after you deal with them, cause you to come down with a bout of writer's block. It can be as little as ten minutes in some cases; and whammo, you can't write for days or weeks. Their opinions poison the well of your creativity.

I have a few of these friends. One of my oldest friends falls in this category. My sister also falls in this catergory. And I am quite sure if my mother was still talking to me that she would be the worst of the lot.

It is not that they mean to be toxic. (Ok, I lied; I am positive that my mother means to derail others; she has self-esteem issues.) It is simply that they open their mouths; and for days afterwards, you wonder if you are not wasting your time at the keyboard. Their voice, and opinions, are louder than your muse's.

Like my friend, he does not mean to be a wet blanket. It is just that he is in a really bad spot economically, plus he has a toxic family, therefore he is busy looking for the big score; my stragety of playing the long game at Helium and Associated Content is a big waste of time as far as he is concerned.

I understand his viewpoint. If I was looking for the big score, they would look like losers too. But I am taking a rather long view of things. I guess that it is the result of running a restrauant for so long; the profit there came in a nickel at a time; a lot of gyros had to be sold just to break even; but if you sold enough, behold profit.

The reason that my toxic writing friends are on my mind is that I spent a couple of hours with one of my sisters the other day. For some reason, I find other writers (she is a technical writer at the moment) to be very toxic. Especially, when they tell you not to give up your day-job.

Hey people, I would love to have a day-job. Remember: I am unemployed. For me, being a writer is not an option that I embraced willingly. It was something that I was saving for my fantasy life. It was not something that I thought I would actually have to figure out a way to make it work.

But seriously, who in their right mind is going to hire me with my school schedule? As I said, I would love to have a day-job. I don't.

So given the fact that I need to keep writing, I decided not to bring up my writing efforts while she was visiting. It didn't work. College came up instead, and how what she studied in college is not what she is currently doing. Nor any of her friends for that matter. She also hinted that maybe transferring to the University of Colorado is perhaps not right for me. There was also the fact that her husband is still paying for his education.

All this brought up the question: Am I doing the right thing?

I wallowed in that for a few hours yesterday, then brushed myself off and went to work on the lodge's website for a few hours. I am not completely recovered, but I am getting better.

And that is the thing: If you have toxic writing friends, you have to come up with ways to cope with it. Like I made sure to have something written in long-hand before my sister visited, something that I have to type up. Typing up stuff helps me get back into writing. Anything that helps you overcome writer's block will probably help you recover from your toxic writing friends.

Now, you have to pardon me, I have to go write something in long-hand, I got to visit one of my oldest friends next week, and he is a toxic writing friend.

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