I Wrote a Book, Does That Make Me Cool?

As I sat in the café area of the Ace Hotel in London’s Hoxton area, around me were a bunch of people trying to be better than the next. It was full of beautiful people taking pictures of their skinny lattes, eating salad-free salads and saying words to each other like “project”, “exhibition”, and “win”, and I thought to myself, ‘Yep, I’ve made it. I’ve god darn made it to the big time’.

But how did I get here? How did I get to rub shoulders with the vibrant elite of the London bourgeoisie (and when I mean rub shoulders, I mean sit in a corner and pray someone acknowledges my existence)?

Yeah, that’s right, I wrote a book. Get over it.

Just to hammer it home, I’d finished writing my book in that place at that moment; it had been wroted. And as I sat there, clutching my cap(puccino), listening to a re(mix) of (Gary) Numan’s Mad World, I asked myself the question, ‘Am I now cool?’.

The answer is yes. And I’ll tell you why:

  • My insides were crawling around as though I’d eaten a pesticide-ridden piece of fruit for that grammatical error I probably missed on the manuscript I’d just submitted.
  • My chest had created a book-sized cavity because I’d no idea what to write next, and I was sure I wasn’t going to find it at the bottom of an almond milk-rimmed coffee cup.
  • My heart was grating up against my ribs with the fear that all I was doing was pointless because there was no quantifiable reward that could ever satisfy me.

I think that’s the truth of it, right? The wall we put up to show that everything’s cool, chilled and that we’re taking things in our stride, but this often gets in the way of something called “easy living”. We’re humans, we need to remember to simply, be.

Writers can be culprits of this outward projection which causes inward harm. Some of my fellow wordsmiths and I are guilty of perfectionism, which only serves to feed the anxiety of reaching an often unobtainable level. I wonder how many writers are ever truly happy with their work? It’s always good to have a team around you to help keep you in check: https://pensaroundtheworld.com/weewis/writing-is-like-a-team-sport/

There aren’t many industries where a final piece of work is produced, thrust out into the world, and its creator isn’t satisfied, regardless of the rewrites and edits. So, why the hell do we bother!? This word-based BDSM is a constant whipping across the genitalia that writers seem to want to endure. We’re sadists, not cool.

So, let’s take note of those around us who are playing it as cool as a cucumber in an icy glass of Pimm’s, and remember that everyone in the room has their own imperfections they’re trying to make perfect, their own life goals they’re clamouring to reach, and their own creations that still irk them, even if they’re trying to look cool on the outside.

And for the writers specifically? Remember that we’ve all made a typo at least once. It’s typos that bring us together, it’s typos that make us human.

So yeah, stay cool kids, just like me.

2 Comments

  1. Yep, Michael, welcome to the world of self-doubt, with that being the most contagious malady a writer will ever get. It’s endemic, built into the DNA, all a part of the fragile ego possessed by anyone who ever put themselves and their creativity out there. Even the late great Hemingway worried he wouldn’t come up with an idea for his next opus. So you can try to look like a cool dude, but those in the know, know the truth. Inside you’re terrified that the editor who looks at your work will dismiss it after reading the first line. That it won’t even BE an editor, just some intern sorting through the slush pile. But we write anyway. Cuz we gotta. And we band together as the team you mentioned, to try to be there when you need some words of praise or comfort or you want a friend to curse out the system with you. Welcome aboard and congrats on your first post!

    • Michael

      Well if Hemingway thought the same, then we’re in good company!

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