What is the Writer’s Worst Torture?

I’ve used words for the writing process like “wrestling” and “struggle” and “doubt” but the good news about all those words is that we use them when we ARE writing. There are certainly worse tortures than those for writers. Can you tell the story of one of your worst moment of writing torture?

20 responses to “What is the Writer’s Worst Torture?


    ome Blogs Lighten Up Christmas When the Sears Catalog Ruled (and Cathy Chatted)
    Lighten Up
    Christmas When the Sears Catalog Ruled (and Cathy Chatted)
    November 12, 2013, Becca Briscoe, 3 Comments
    It is official. The most wonderful time of the year has begun: The Chief is set up to sell Christmas trees. It seems like just a few weeks ago there were lines of people at the same site waiting to buy ice cream cones.

    I grew up on 13th Street in the Fifties, way before Toys-R-Us. Back then, We-Was-Toys. Every year, when the Sears Christmas Catalog would arrive, my older brother, younger sister and I would pore over the pages with the intensity of a bloodhound tracking a serial killer. By the time each of us had earmarked the pages, there was nary a corner left unturned.

    Becca_1112bMy brother, J.J., desired anything that was fast, noisy or creepy. The more sociably unacceptable the toy, the more coveted it was. One year my parents made the horrible mistake of getting him a chemistry set. He made some concoction that made the house wreak of sulfur for weeks and caused our collie, Reggie, to go bald. I think my Dad might have ingested some of the potion also. Thankfully, Reggie’s fur grew back over time, unlike my father.

    My sister, Chibby, was a doll aficionado; her collection numbered in the dozens. I honestly believe that the day Mattel invented Barbie was the best day of my sister’s life. Her very favorite doll of all time was “Chatty Cathy.” Cathy was perfectly coiffed and had an extensive wardrobe. This little charmer had a string that came out of the back of her neck, that when pulled, caused Chatty to say one of several phrases such as “I love you”or “Can we go out and play?”

    I hated dolls, especBecca_1112cially Chatty Cathy. I found her to be a condescending and manipulative elitist. I only had one doll. Her name was Poor Pitiful Pearl. She only had one torn dress, simple black shoes, tussled hair and an extremely dejected expression on her smudgy face.

    Pearl shared my disdain for Chatty Cathy, so much so that one night, Pearl reached her breaking point. She pulled Chatty’s string, wrapped it tightly around her neck several times and secured it with a knot. Chatty never spoke again; she only growled.

    Our best toy ever was one of our own making. Western Rubber on 10th street made seals for double boilers and their scrap pile was a mountain of 9-inch-in-diameter rubber bands. We collected armloads of those giant rubber bands and tied them together in a 30-foot-long daisy chain. We anchored one end of the chain to the telephone pole at the back of our property and the other end, we tied to the axle of our indestructible red wagon. A kid would get in the Radio Flyer, then we would pull the wagon to the front of our lot; stretching the rubber band to its absolute limit. Once released, the wagon would streak toward the telephone pole at a break-neck speed, literally. We named our invention the “Teddy Roosevelt,” because it was a true rough rider.

    The secret to a successful trip in the “Teddy” was the ability to bail out just before impact. I am pleased to tell you that we never had a serious injury caused by our wagon. However, we did have some sore behinds when my parents discovered how very inventive we had been.

  2. Hi P’nut – that was fun, and a nice way to start the day. (similar post didn’t make it for some unknown reason) Jeff

  3. Always a pleasure, Nut. (that’s your new nickname.) Your town is lucky to have you as one of their treasures.

  4. It seems to me like no one feels compelling to complain or rant. That’s fine. I’m moving on, but if you have a rant handy, feel free!

  5. Proofreading. That’s the worst. Especially the eighth time. That;’ when the night demons come, when the evils of the sea depths walk on land, when you realize your brilliant piece is a piece all right. A piece of s___.

  6. Oh, and whty is no one posting here? There’s a time to remember and a time to forget.

  7. For me it is reading published works and having to ask, “how the hell did this get published in the first place.” Excessive use of -ly adjectives (last week I read a book that used the word quickly in two successive sentences. Another written by TWO authors made reference to the “heor” sitting or moving “like a cat” 4 times that I remembered.) Arrogance on my part? I dunno,

    • Exactly, Jeff. Espeecially authors of many popular novels. Many people don’t read Stephen King because of his subject matter, but I think he’s a good writer, especially The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, And his On Writing is thoughtful and well crafted. I don’t read all his stuff, but those that I do read are well done.

  8. It sets my teeth on edge (actually it makes me laugh) when writers use the word, “oddly.” Sue Grafton (best on audio books read by Judy Kaye) used this word a lot in her very first Kinsey Milhone detective mystery. I forgive her because she was just getting going.
    “He was oddly sexual.”
    “I felt oddly at ease.”
    “The weather was oddly windy.
    Okay, I’m making those up, but you can see how the word “oddly” lets you get away with anything. And tonight I feel like being oddly crabby.

    • Yes I think we all have our fingernails on the chalkboard buttons! However, “He was oddly sexual,” well, maybe that one does work!


      When ask why she wanted to marry Charles Manson, the bride -to-be answered,
      “He is oddly attractive, in a pathological, mass murderer kind of way.”

  9. You made my night! I’m laughing so hard. Just perfect.

  10. I bet a twenty on the number six but it came up oddly seven.

  11. I work at night, and my computer dings me when I get an email from this site. Tonight, I am laughing too hard to get any work done.

  12. You guys are having WAY too much fun. Oddly enough, I am enjoying this banter vicariously. I need to get back to the keyboard, and start joining in the fun.
    ( He said, lying on his back in bed with the Ipad Air suspended overhead, right thumb searching for letter after letter.)

  13. Double negatives set my teeth on edge. I worked with two people that both used ‘irregardless’ in every other sentence. Excuse me, do you mean regarding? or regardless?

  14. That sounds oddly familiar…

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