Ah, January! The month after the month when you were told to eat, drink and be merry.
Now we get to turn the tables on ourselves. Now is the time when everyone in the world gets to feel a bit Irish. Because now is the time you get to hate yourself.
No more are we encouraged to love one another and raise a glass to life, good health and happiness. No, indeed. It’s time instead to put down that glass, become self-obsessed, and loathe ourselves with a passion unparalleled since that time you got laughed at for walking across a crowded room whilst wearing your skirt firmly tucked into your knickers.
Regrets, I’ve Had A Few
Every candle-lit memory, every glowing sense of sugary bonhomie which Christmas brought you: they’re all ruined now. At least until Lent, anyway.
That glass of champagne shared at midnight on New Year’s Eve with those you love best in the world is now a lingering manifestation of a memory of a hangover.
That trifle with the alcoholic clip on the ear, which made you laugh, now resides just beneath your belly button, making your waistband scream.
The delightful presents you bought are now a financial crater so deep, your photograph is displayed on cash machines around the country.
And that quarter pound of Quality Street, which you inhaled in an subconscious haze, is now a festering spot upon your upper lip.
Oh, yes. January is a grand month for hating everything.
Which Brings Me To Writing
Every blog/newspaper/website/toilet roll with a literary section, is currently bellowing at you about New Year writing resolutions. Now is the time to write that book! they say, safe in the knowledge that whenever the hell it is, now is definitely the time for people to make sweeping statements of intent they will regret later.
However, along with New Year But what do you REALLY want from life? interrogations, these writing resolutions have become a new tool to bash the creatively-inclined with.
Writers are ideal for this kind of torture. I could say that nobody doubts themselves more than a writer. However, most Irish people – well, above a certain age, anyway – feel a sense of inadequacy so deep, that the mere hint of pride in themselves will trigger a guilt trip so festooned with potholes that they end up with post-traumatic stress which forever thereafter makes them break out in a rash in their nether regions upon even hearing a compliment in the wind. Fact.
Therefore, to be an Irish writer is to languish in a pit of despair-filled paralysis. And by Jesus, do we love our Januarys to do it in.
Don’t Give In
Fight this cesspit of feel-bad journalism. DON’T make any writing resolutions. If you can’t be dissuaded, I heartily recommend that you make some Anti-Resolutions instead, which don’t make you feel bad, are easily kept, and won’t add to your acne.
Without further ado, therefore, here are my 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers.
- I will not attempt to write down ideas while I am driving.
- I will not summarise my work-in-progress into one or two confidence-shattering sentences when people say to me “so, what’s the book about, anyway?”
- I will not follow any writing, marketing or publishing advice issued through barely-disguised advertisements for someone else’s own writing, marketing or publishing services.
- I will not feel like a lemon when someone introduces me as a writer – or a blogger.
- I will not allow myself to be forced to say something about my writing which sounds stupid, even to me.
- I will not take serious rejection seriously.
- I will not revel in self-imposed deadlines.
- I will not rewrite the flogged, dead pony.
- I will not immediately seek out the worst parts of honest criticism.
- I will put anything which doesn’t fit me to the back of the wardrobe, where it belongs, for the six months before I am ready to throw it out.
Apologies for the last one. Writers are human, too, and the circle of life would collapse in on itself if I didn’t put at least one fat reference into a January list.
Sigh. Seems I’m not the renegade I thought I was. Happy New Year everyone.