Monday, December 3, 2012

Four Great Sins Writers Are Told

Well, well, look at this, I'm rolling up my sleeves so I can type up something on this dusty, old blog. There's a plethora of reasons to why I've stopped posting, but to read them isn't why you've stopped by. I'm posting because I've got something to say. There's a lot of bullshit in the blogging and writing world, especially the blogging world. Even when the bullshit runs out (I know, hard to believe right?), the topics become self-centered and egotistic, to which my response is, why did you write this blog when you could have edited or written a story?

Anyway, seems that everyone has the life of a writer down to formula, coming out with their lists and telling us off like they're well endowed experienced mofos. You must remember, that even the most experienced writer is a bullshitter at best, readers allow them to bullshit.

Alas, in order to prove my point, I too, must revert to a list. However it shall be a short one! So, let's begin shall we? Four things SINS! writers are told, AND BELIEVE!

1.) Writing Fiction for a Living is a Long Shot: Boo hoo! Wahh! I've been writing for twenty-some years and have spoken to folks older than me and they still haven't made a living in writing. So, unless you love writing, spare yourself the heartbreak and do something else with your time.

Seriously? Really? Why would you tell aspiring authors that? This is the single greatest sin in the world of writing (Nobody loves you, nobody cares, you can't write, blah blah blah). You want to know what else is a long shot? Becoming an actor, professional athlete, musician, astronaut, lawyer, doctor, politician (one that gets elected), philosopher, astrophysicist, paleontologist, anthropologist... do I need to go on?

Let's look at the NFL for a moment shall we? What do you tell someone who wants to become a starting quarterback? Do you laugh and say, son, that's a long shot, you need something to fall back on. I mean, why not right? There's only 32 spots where a person could become a regular starting quarterback, and that job ain't secure (injury anyone?). But you know what? People dream it and they do it. Who the hell gives us the right to turn someone away from their lifelong goal?

Uh oh, I see the rotors turning in your head, your thinkin', this guy ain't got a clue, he's got his head in the clouds. Yeah, I do. Your point? Why the hell does anyone shoot for the things they dream of doing? Because they want to! Not because they hear it's a long shot. Work your ass off. Dedicate yourself to the idea of making your writing the best it can be, no matter what! You want to make in the writing business? Shoot for the cosmos! I promise, you will make it with the top dogs.

The worst thing any writer can do is listen to the "advice" of it's a long shot. Soon that advice seeps into their work, and they give up. Then they pursue something else and live unhappily because they were afraid of making that leap of faith.

"But I'm just being realistic," you say.

"Ha!" I say.

"Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity." -- Will Smith
"There's no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A." -- Will Smith 

Writing is about jumping off a cliff and building your wings on the way down (coining Ray Bradbury). If you listen to the folks who say you have little chance of doing so, you either need to block them out or you might as well settle on a job at Denny's. Side note: Folks don't like their eggs overly scrambled.

2.) You Don't Have to go to College to be a Good Writer: You know, I used to say this. I read it from Stephen King and I regurgitated the quote like a good little programed human. Now I'm at the point where I'm so tired of hearing and reading it that I'm just about to literally toss my cookies.

Folks, it ain't about the piece of paper you get after four (or five or six or whatever) years. It ain't about the classes you sit in where people say, I liked this in your story because x-y-z. And I was curious as to why Melinda always wore a red dress. And why was there so much detail? I thought x character was really driven. It's about opportunity. If you go to a college that has a good arts program (including creative writing!), there will be chances to attend meetings were folks from the industry get together and you can meet and listen to them on what they're looking for in new writers. There's chances to study abroad. I'm going to the UK for a year in 2013, and the expenses (from the start!) are eighty percent covered. You want to tell me you'll get the same chance while working your Denny's job? Mmmmm, bacon!

Life enrichment is the name of the game folks. Meeting official editors, going to other countries, meeting new people, doing new things, is a huge step in bettering your writing. College makes it so much easier to do all those things. My classes haven't been a huge help (but they still have helped), and the true learning came from the one on one conversations with professors, listening to them and sharing my work. And if your work is good (which if your serious about this shit, it damn well better be!), you will receive guidance from them. No matter how hardcore you think you may be, guidance is a wonderful thing to have.

College? Not important? Think again, pappy.

3.) Writing is Hard: Hell, it ain't hard as much as it is time consuming. So many folks think they can get away with writing a story in a mere matter of hours and think they have the greatest thing since sliced bread (cliche! boooooo). Writing takes time, and creating a really good piece takes copious amounts of time. Hard? Nah. Unless you consider thinking hard work. If that's the case, you need to reconsider your place in writing (I'd like a short stack please).

4.) Write What you Know: Oh boy, this is a great lie. A great, great, great lie. So great, that it should be banned from the literary world. What do we know? We think we know a lot about this, or a lot about that. But truth, we (people) ain't got shit figured out, and that's the truth. Don't believe me? Read a book, watch the news, watch people, listen to people, and then come back to this post.

Writers don't know what hell is going on in life anymore than the rest of the population. People take comfort in such fallacies because they need that comfort just to function on a day to day basis. Fiction writers (besides politicians and philosophers) are the greatest bullshitters on the planet. This goes back to what I wrote at the beginning of the blog (do you remember? been a long journey I know), writers can spin a good sentence, but it's still just malarkey (yay Biden!).

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." -- Stephen King

We writers spend so much time barking into the wind that when the wind actually settles and we listen to the things we've been spewing, we can't stand to hear it. The same goes for anyone in the business of playing with words (I forgot rhetoricians, gasp!). Has anyone stopped yakking when they didn't know what they're yakking about? So, to the writers (politicians, rhetoricians, philosophers take a seat!), write. If you're writing a fantasy piece about a plumber and have never been one, write what your heart tells you and worry about the rest later.

So that's it, I'm getting down from my soapbox. I'll have to remember to give it back to my Mom when I get the chance.

On a completely different note, have you heard Toyota is coming out with a new Celica? The GT 86. It's a goddamn beautiful car. In the coming blogs (should there be more) you will quickly realize how much I love this new car. It's supposed to be released sometime in 2013 in the 'States.

Keep Writing!


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