My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fortune Cookie Wisdom VIII

Even staler fortune cookies. 

The problem is that we live in a world where most people think there is some "bingo" idea that is worth money and work doesn't matter. While the truth of the meritocracy is more complicated than its myth of work=success, it's never the ideas that make money; it's their execution. 

Live a new schedule for a few days before figuring out where your writing is going to fit in. No schedule will ever really be quite how it looks on paper.  

No writer is immune to the effect of people not respecting their writing time. The trick is to pack a flamethrower and flash your best murder eyes.

Creative writing programs are not a waste of time, but be ready to deal with a lot of things that aren't actually writing, and be ready to spend a lot of money for things you could have reproduced with self-motivation, 100 hours on Google, and some sincere feedback.

A generation of writers exists now who fetishize the physical book as the pinnacle of writing success. Despite the fact that physical book publishing is descends into greater obsolescence, market shares have shrunk, and it has become far more difficult to achieve success through traditional publishing, they still believe physical books, book deals, publishing contracts, agents and such are more "legitimate." I'm not here to judge their route but I am here to cheer that there is no longer just ONE route, and I will not stop pointing out that unless one is fabulously well established as a writer already, traditional publishing will lead to fewer readers, more logistics, less writing time, and less money. It is no longer the path.

Agents might be strange writer-hating creatures who live in caves with booby traps and acid pits, but if you're going through traditional publishing, you need one.

If you don't think a million page views and a regular paycheck takes the curse off of people who insist I'm not a "real writer," let me divest you of such absurdity.

If you want to be an elitist, classist, ablist, (and often racist) anal sphincter, be a pedantic jerk about "proper" grammar and assume things about people's intelligence based upon the fact that their dialect doesn't match yours or their eduction wasn't as stellar as yours. On the other hand, if you want to be a widely-read writer, it's in your best interest to learn which rules the group in power favors and break them only with care and consideration.

Every writer you envy (and most you've never heard of) have sacrificed something for their writing. Family. A "real" job. A social life. Something. It's not that you'll never publish or never make money doing something casually for a few hours on the weekend, but the writers who fill our bookshelves have all had to put something on the altar of writing.

People will Google your name the minute you hit the public sphere. Make sure they don't find your Friendster account from ten years ago with the Emo Julia Moore™ poetry phase.

If the answer to "Why do you write?" is money, fame, groupies, really hot birthday threesomes, or basically any reason other than "Because I love the act of writing for its own sake," you might want to quit now. There are better and easier ways to get all that other stuff.

I need more fortune cookies!

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