Before the whinging begins, I should add the disclaimer that not even an infinite number of pet peeves would make me give up writing. The process of writing and publishing, and the resultant reactions of a real-life reader elicit a response more potent than any drug.
So, what pet peeves do I have as a writer? As I sit here in my writing room, the blackness of night having descended at some ridiculous afternoon hour, an IKEA desk lamp illuminating my laptop, writing a blog post about pet peeves, I’d perhaps feel fraudulent quoting lack of time as my biggest peeve. Why, I hear you cry, do you not write your books instead of this, admittedly witty and thought-provoking, blog post?
But lack of time is a real issue, of course. However, that aside, I’ll try to pluck from my mind several other annoyances involved in being a writer. And, it being night, please don’t expect a structured post. It’ll be a mind vomit, but I’m a writer and I can claim that it’s for artistic effect, right?
Okay, you need to write a new character. Why, out of all the names that exist in the world, do you only remember about five first names? You finally choose one. No, can’t have that. That was the name of the hero in your previous six books. (This is why random name generators are useful.)
So, you’ve banged out your first draft (steady!) and now you have to edit the thing. The first edit feels good as you see things coming together. The second edit is good too. You’re tidying things up, tying up loose ends. You know the story pretty well by now. After all, you wrote it. Any further edits which may well be necessary are nevertheless a form of torture and sometimes you’d rather gouge out your writerly eyes than edit the damn thing. And so what that you noticed your character was wearing two different outfits in the same scene? You know the story inside-out, back-to-front and upside-down. There are times when you feel sick at the thought of looking at your book again. And yet, of course, you do.
You release your book amidst waves of euphoria and nausea. Your first reviews roll in. You can now relax, once your blood pressure has returned to normal after stressing over the reviewer who was shocked your gay novella with specified word count was a not-novel-length book about gays and stuff.
But the biggest pet peeve of them all is when you blog about stuff and have to find an image to break up the text and nothing really is suitable so you just paste a frankly embrassing selfie into your post.
You ask yourself why the hell you put yourself through it all. You’re exhausted, wrung out, mentally finished. But your subconscious is a nasty individual too. And it’s scratching around for plot pieces and characters and, before you know it, you’re working on your next book and you’re loving it.
Despite all the pet peeves, you’re loving it.
You’re writing because.
Because you’re loving it.
And you need to.
Jonathan Hill's latest book - the hit comedy, A Christmas Outing - is out now.
He kindly nominates authors, Andrew Barrett and Debbie McGowan, both terrific authors who have wowed him with their literature, to write about their pet peeves.