Saturday, July 7, 2012

So You Want to Be a Writer, Hun?


I havesome tips for blossoming writers. Why should you listen to me? Good question. I am an unsuccessful writer, so I know what not to do.

And your first lesson is that beinga writer, is just that…it’s what you are—it’s not what you do, or say you do,or how you make money (unless you are lucky.)  Being a writer is just what you are. You can’t help it.And if you could help it, you would choose to be anything else, like anarchitect or a dj or clown bear or bank teller or zoo keeper or bank robber or milkman or insurance salesman or pizza delivery driver (all of these jobs are jobs that famous writers have had.)

Advice to people who want tobe writers:
  1. write
  2. read
  3. write
  4. read (get it? good.)
  5. don’t think. Just write. Don’tthink about sentence structure, or character names, or rhyming words oranything, just write what’s in your head/heart/mind/nugget and then go back andclean it up (or say FUCK it and leave it a big mess and call it a “blog” anddon’t give a shit if anyone ever reads it or if you make money or have fame ordo anything great.)  This is called“writing through the shit” or writing through the bullshit that fills your mindand is stupid and trivial and useless and shallow and cowardly and lame. This is what all writers do. You have to write the crap to get to the good stuff. 
  6. Don’t be a chicken. (Yes, I know,there are some things that I will never write. I am the biggest squawker outthere posing as a writer. Cock-a-doodle-doo.)
  7. Live your life. This should belike number 3 or 4 if you wanted a list of priority. If you stay in your roomand do nothing and risk nothing and fail at nothing you will write boringtedious garbage.
  8. There are so many famous horriblewriters who only deserve fame because they are lucky or tenacious or because they fucked the right/writing professor in grad school but they donot deserve the fame based on merit, effort, or talent. Most writers are terrible.This should not discourage you. In fact, this should keep you warm at night. Ifyou do 1-7 you will not be a terrible writer and if you sleep with the right people, you may even be famous. Making money as a writer is a good thing all self-deprecation aside. You should strive to make money as a writer. I am just jealous and I haven't tried that hard and I am a chicken, remember that when reading this advice. 
  9. Don’t forget to write. Use yourparents, use your childhood, use your heartbreak and internal bleeding andhatred and fear and ugliness and joy and splinters and stubbed toes to makegood writing. All of your experiences through your eyes are unique.Write all of that shit down. Some famous writer said something about only needing childhood experiences to be a great writer. Look it up, I'm too lazy. 
  10. Try to publish. Blog at the least,submit to literary journals in the interim, send mms (manuscripts) to publishers.
  11. Number 6 plus a little: you can’tcare too much about spelling or sentence structure. It’s important just so yourmeaning doesn’t get lost between punctuation marks. But, write it down and get/find a good editor or train yourself to be an okay editor and get/find a shitty editor with good connections. No one will give a shit aboutwhat you write. So, just be honest. Or lie. Fiction is full of lies that wewish we’d told. What if this train could fly? What if I said this instead ofthat? What if I fucked my college professor and became a famous writer? What if I died in that car crash and was reborn a donkey? What then? Don’t let your inner critic kill your ink flow. Write it. 
  12. There is nothing, not one thing,noble about being a writer. There is no romance, no money, no fame…most writersare boring and scared and have no money, sex, or fame. Most writersare middle-aged losers with a lifetime of fear and loathing to write about. It’sour sad little fucked up lives that make good writing—not social skills, orgood looks. If you want to be a writer to get money or love, you are a hugeidiot and will probably be famous. Most writers are not so lucky.
  13. Learn to read, re-read, and edit.These are skills that can be taught. Learn to read, re-read, and edit—three separate skillsthere. This will help you when you don’tknow how to write about something or when you can’t write and still want to dosomething in your daily practice….
  14. Daily practice. Write every day.Lists count, as do shitty blogs, and web articles, and songs, and love notes onnapkins and poems in the steam on your bathroom mirror. Have you written today? Get to it.
  15. Do not make excuses. Being awriter is not easy or fun or awesome or sexy. Just write. You will not be goodat it most of the time, but so fucking what? Don’t make excuses, just do it. 


1 comment:

  1. This is a crazy juvenile entry. Sorry peeps. I will rewrite it tomorrow sans scarcasm. I can do better. Watch it.

    ReplyDelete