My writing process

EGO and CRITIC are reading over a piece they have written for a literary journal.

CRITIC: So I was thinking we could should cut this paragraph —

EGO: Cut?! Like, with a knife?! OH MY GOD YOU MURDERER WHY DON’T YOU JUST DROWN SOME KITTENS WHILE YOU’RE AT IT

CRITIC: No no, I mean —

EGO: What are you doing with the cursor?! Why have you highlighted that paragraph?!

CRITIC: I’m just copying it, see? Copying. That’s all.

EGO: Our words! Our beautiful words! Don’t you remember writing them? How pleased we were?

CRITIC: Sure, of course.

EGO [quietly]: I love that feeling.

Pause.

CRITIC: I’m pasting the paragraph into this new document, see? So now there are two.

EGO [suspiciously]: Well, I guess that’s fine…

CRITIC: And look how comfortable this new document is! Lots of room for the paragraph to play in.

EGO: Yes that’s true.

CRITIC: And now, since there are two, there’s no need to keep this version in our article, is there?

EGO: I guess not…but…hey what’s going to happen to this new document then?

CRITIC: Uh…let’s see, I’ll save it right here next to our article, okay? Right here in the same subfolder. So they can see each other.

EGO: Yes, that’s good. Let’s call the new document Wondrous Gems of Beauty and Art.

CRITIC: Sure, or, we could call it —

EGO: Everything We Write Is Shit And We’re All Going To Die.

CRITIC [annoyed]: Seriously?

EGO [defiant]: There is no middle ground.

CRITIC: Sighs Or, how about we call the new document Notes?

EGO [sulking]: I mean, that’s super boring, but whatever.

CRITIC: I’ve solicited some editorial feedback and here it is, they suggest cutting —

EGO: EVERYBODY HATES US, PRECIOUSSSSSS

CRITIC: No, actually this feedback is really helpful, and —

EGO: We have no friends! We fail at everything! Falls to the ground weeping

CRITIC: Pats shoulder soothingly No, no, we have lots of friends and we’re doing really well. Let’s just copy this paragraph, shall we? And then we can put it in the Notes document with that other paragraph.

EGO: Strokes computer screen with one finger, whispers Are you two paragraphs okay in there? Are they looking after you? You’d tell me if you weren’t okay, right?

CRITIC: So I think we’re about ready to send this off to the editor.

EGO: The journal will never publish it.

CRITIC: Well, they commissioned it, so, probably they will.

EGO: They won’t though. No one recognises what total genius our writing is. Also, nothing we write will ever be good enough because we suck.

CRITIC [annoyed]: Those two things cannot possibly be simultaneously true.

EGO: Yes they can! What would you know! You never listen to me!

CRITIC: Pinches bridge of nose, closes eyes briefly Let’s just send this off, shall we?

EGO [wailing]: We’re doomed! Failure and humiliation await!

CRITIC: Look, let’s look at this rationally, shall we?

EGO: Never!

CRITIC: Let’s examine the evidence.

EGO: No! Stop oppressing me!

CRITIC: So far, we’ve been asked to write things and then we’ve written them and they’ve been published and everything’s been mostly okay, yes?

EGO: I read somewhere that past performance is no guarantee of future success!

CRITIC: And, although sometimes people will certainly disagree with us, it’s important to keep writing and keep practising receiving critical feedback, yes?

EGO: Actually I think that thing about performance might have been about the stock market…

CRITIC: So the best thing to do is to focus on trying to get better each time, yes?

EGO: I saw a movie about the stock market once. I didn’t like it.

CRITIC: Our writing will never be perfect but we have the capacity to improve it, and that’s the main thing.

EGO: It had Leonardo di Caprio in it and it was too long.

CRITIC: What?

EGO: What?

CRITIC: Were you listening?

EGO [sulks]: Yes. No. I don’t know.

Pause.

CRITIC: So I’ve sent our article off to the journal editor.

EGO: JUST ADMIT THAT YOU’RE TRYING TO KILL ME.

CRITIC: Pours a small amount of whisky into a glass. Looks at EGO. Pours more whisky. Time to start work on the next one?