Feminine author woes. And bears.

Ladies and gentlemen, at the risk of a completely over-sharing, I’m going to tell you a “biological secret” based on an informal poll.

I want to talk to you about the dangers of PMS as a female author.

PMS is a double-edged sword when it comes to writing: it either makes it impossible to write (I HATE MYSELF AND MY WORDS), or it results in the occasionally irrevocable death of certain characters. (This is the day bitches die, ya’ll.)

First, let’s address the Word-Hate and the spiral of self-doubt.:

PMS begins. Typical symptoms (at least for me) include an increased intake of chocolate or other favorite foods. Moodiness. Desperate, biological needs to watch Vin Diesel action movies. Then, you, beautiful lady, sit down to write. The first few words come out all wobbly.  No big deal, you think. I’ll take five minutes to collect myself. 

Chocolate is eaten. You think maybe you can run a quick errand and go put on your loose-fit jeans only to discover they are most definitely no longer loose. Well. Fuck you, too, Mother Nature.  Back to writing, because, uh, not leaving the house like this—no sir, the groceries can wait. I have Ramen.

The next batch or words comes out even more wonky than the first because you’re thinking about how terribly those jeans fit. You try to refocus, but then you realize that not only do those jeans not fit, but you are also a horrible writer. I mean, look at that shit. It’s not even grammatically correct.

God, and don’t even get me started on the adverbs. The fuck were you thinking, “overtly?” Why is that word even needed?  And for that matter, why is that character so overtly annoying? I can’t even believe I wrote this drivel—who is this person? Who am I? WHY WON’T VIN DIESEL LOVE ME?

And then come the sobs, and the gnashing of teeth and tearing of clothes, the frantic calls to your best pals—who, if they are really pals—come rushing to your aid, only to find you, faced smeared with chocolate, hugging yours knees in a dark corner of the bathroom. Possibly muttering about the evils of reflective surfaces and pants.

That’s the one edge of the sword. The second is by far more fun, because you’re not doubting or hating on yourself. Example:

PMS begins. Typical symptoms. You sit down to write, and everything is going pretty well. You’re on a high, farting rainbows and singing the praises of a life drenched in literature (and chocolate). Then, quite suddenly, one of your characters goes and does something a) stupid, b) sexist, c) mean, or d) all of the above. 

At this point, it’s totally that character’s fault, not yours.

He ran away with the plot. He broke the rules. He called your protagonist a pansy if front of the whole school. And, being the Mighty Creator of the world, this triggers an unholy rage:

Death is coming. I will put hot pokers in every orifice imaginable. I will cover you in honey and tie you to a tree so that bears will eat you. I will end you.  I WILL REND YOUR SOUL FROM THE UNIVERSE. THERE WILL BE NO AFTERLIFE. MWHAHAHAHaha–hackwheeze–haha.

Real life objects may or may not be thrown around. Chocolate will not appease this raging war-machine, only more death. It’s possible to write a scene in which everyone will die, simply to sate the blood-lust—sorry, poor choice of words.

But it’s all okay, because you can go back and rewrite the whole thing when reason finally returns. Which you will. With fewer bears.

Ladies, the only piece of advice I have for you during this trying time of the month is to not write. At all. Save yourself the trouble.

Gentlemen: good luck.

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4 thoughts on “Feminine author woes. And bears.

  1. But on the plus side, when people ask why you’re being such a crankypants today, “I’m a writer; I have the artistic temperament” sounds way better than “PMS turns me into a raging hatebear.”

    Also your career lets you stay in on PMS days. So there’s that.

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