A question for you.


Has complaining become the new boasting?

#humblebrag is worth a google if you have a moment in your ‘busy, busy’ loves. Funny stuff. I like this tweet from Will.i.am.

Christmas shopping today…I haven’t been home in 3weeks & now its santa.i.am time…Im blessed to give better presents then I receive…

or from former White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer.  As he lamented on Twitter :

“They just announced my flight at LaGuardia is number 15 for takeoff. I miss Air Force One!!”

Or the ones where people crap on about being,

“Honored and humbled to be included in @xxxx’s  profiles of global ‘remarkable women.”

Shhhh. No really. Shhh.  Humility is free.

Sometimes I stumble over posts or blogs on social media from emerging writers, complaining about how hard it is to write novels.

They post memes about how they think they’re going crazy from writing (darls, you were probably were nuts B.N [before the novel]) or talk about how many workshops, retreats they have attended in order to structure their novel that never seems to emerge into being.

As an agent once said to me, ‘The minute I read in their cover letter that it took them nine years to write, I know it’s going to be a pass.’

And these want to be writers who complain. They have time and money enough to write. They’re educated and work on a Macbook Pro. Shut up. Now.

I know I sound like a bitch but honestly, I’m not confident in reading people’s work if they complain relentlessly about how hard it was, the martyrdom curling the corners of the book, the spine glued with their own sweat and blood. And you know what? Not everything has to be hard.

I like it when authors are honest about the work. Elizabeth Gilbert says, “I think that loving one’s work is a marvelous trick for enjoying life. When people ask me if writing is hard or easy for me, I don’t even know how to answer that. Hard and easy don’t matter.”

My editor at Penguin once told me that she wants my readers to feel confident when they pick up one of my books. I get it. It’s not that writing is always easy, no job is and writing is, regardless of the romantic notions that surround the task, a job.

If a brain surgeon wrote about how hard their job is, and how exhausting and taxing performing surgery is, and how they filled with self doubt they are when they crack open a skull, I don’t think I want them to operate on me. Show me you know your stuff with confidence. Tell me how much you love what you do and yes, it’s difficult at times but the love for the task makes up for the rough spots.

The same goes for being busy.

‘Busy’ is a complaining/boasting staple. A nurse is busy in an emergency department on NYE or a postman in the week before Christmas. A single mum or Dad.If busy is part of your job, then feel free to tell me about it if I ask, otherwise. Hush.

Busyness that is self imposed is your problem. Author, Tim Krieder says, “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”

When people talk about how many emails they have to reply to on Facebook, I wonder what that’s like. I don’t get many emails nowadays unless it’s related to the timing of a book being released, or a freelance job. I don’t over book my days with ‘stuff’, I rarely socialise but when I do it’s with people who matter to me.

I don’t write about the complaints that are actually good problems to have because right now my life has problems are shit-house to have. A newly dead father, a brother filled with cancer, worry, difficult emotions and people, uncertainty about coming year.

One of the insights I’ve had since meditating is that by stilling the mind, building the banks and not letting your thoughts run away with you, you let ideas come out. You give them space to exist.

If you fill your day with busy, then how can you allow yourself to be you. These tasks are masking something nasty in the woodshed of your mind. You hate you life, you don’t know what you’re good at, you’re afraid of who you are, or what you might be? Choose one and drop three tasks on your to-do list.

The best piece of advice I read this year was do not have more than three things on your to-do list if you do a creative job.

While it’s hard, nigh on impossible, during certain times of the year to adhere to this rule, for the most part it works. It slows you down, calms you to know that’s all you have to do today and then you can get back to the business of creating.

Anyhoo, lecture over. I promise to take my grinchiness elsewhere, or maybe not. Afterall, it is my blog.

2 thoughts on “A question for you.”

  1. Hi Kate. I know it’s been a hell of a time. Despite the fact that I love words, sometimes they don’t seem enough and can’t quite capture the emotion or impact that live in between and outside of the thoughts. I bumble about not knowing what to say and end up tongue-tied in exasperation. So I’m sending love and best wishes your way instead for a less bloody complicated 2015. You are courageous in staring down busy-ness and facing what’s in front of you. xox

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