Writer Rant: I Got 99 Problems and a Muse is One
Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
When I write I listen to music. Thank the heavens for Spotify; I don’t know if I could have been a successful freelance content writer without streaming tunage seeping into my ears. Random stuff in my queue; I bounce around the room like an airborne Phish. Right now, for instance, I’m hitting up Southern Gothic style songs. Later it’ll be late night focus tracks. However, one song that came up the other day was Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” and it got me thinking.
Writers have at least 99 problems, starting with the mysterious muse who flits in and out of our lives. Then you’ve got the regular case of writer’s block, followed by a dozen days a month where you simply feel like writing is not your style after all. That makes 14 problems we writers have regularly.
A shortage of words, the inability to think of clever ways to say “most,” and the ever-present problem faced by content writers—the ability to revise and rewrite content to make it more original—counts for problems #15, 16 and 17.
On your bookshelf are at least a baker’s dozen of books you have started or need to finish, some about writing, all containing words. These books sit watching you, waiting to steal your attention when you need to be writing, bringing our problems’ count up to an even 30.
If you have children, they automatically account for six problems, which include their education, entertainment, feeding, bathing, attention and financial support. Married or living with a significant other? They are worth at least six problems alone, count them: your undivided attention, intimacy, mindless chitchat, cuddling/spooning when you should be typing, drama, and extended family members. Note that with family and loved ones, problems are a gray area, bordering on the best and the worst times of our lives.
We are up to 42, almost halfway there.
If you live in a rural area, that is a problem. A city dweller, you say? That is a problem, too. See, there is no perfect place to live as a writer, and that my friend, is another problem in the count. If you have neighbors, they too, account for a problem. Otherwise if you live in the middle of the boondocks and your only neighbors are alligators, your hermit existence is a problem. Got cats? Dogs? Sheep? Cows? Problems that keep writers from doing the very thing that makes them writers.
Connecting online is a problem, but not being able to get Wi-Fi service, well that is worth a whopping 10 problems ranging from not being able to do research, missing your bestie’s Facebook news, or screwing up a job due to a missed deadline. How many is that? Sixty-two problems facing writers.
Finding the time to write is a major problem facing writers, as is the problem when you have way too much free time for writing. Both are death whispers to motivation. Having too many clients is a problem, whereas not having any clients is worth a half a dozen problems, i.e. stress, boredom, anxiety, insomnia, nervous ticks and an overwhelming feeling of doom. What about those times when you do the work but don’t get paid? That, my writing reader, covers 20 solid problems including electricity shut-offs, bare cupboards, angry landlords, lost Internet service, and a lack of will to live as a writer.
However, the doozy of all writers’ problems is not having anything to say. You get the unlucky count of 13 problems when you are unfortunate enough to run out of clever, original or quality verbiage. If my math is correct, which is not necessarily the case since A. I’m a writer and B. I am a writer because I failed at math, then it appears we have our 99 problems and a muse is one.
Miranda B enjoys musing about the writer’s life, wondering how she made it this far in her dreams of being a writer, and wishing to make it onto a bestseller’s list before she retires from life.