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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fortune Cookie Wisdom X


Even staler fortune cookies.

Remember, when I say it'll take about ten years (on average and roughly) to make the kind of money that might pay bills, I'm talking about ten years of the most intense, dedicated, rejection-filled writing you've ever done. Not ten years of sitting around, dreaming of being a writer but not writing. 

Grammar is like fashion. There are absolutely people who overdress and get pretentious about judging, but if you don't care at all, eventually you show up to a formal event in stained sweat pants, and people draw their own conclusions.

Creatives generally have to be even more careful about overdoing it than other people. It's not just an equation that you can keep adding to as long as you haven't reached 168 hours a week. There are intangibles in play. The first thing that exhaustion affects is our self-motivation. And also pretty high up on that list is creativity.

Toddlers don't even pause if they fall; they just get right back up. It isn't a thing. They don't doubt themselves. They don't wonder what they're doing or whether they should be walking at all. They don't feel bad or wonder whether learning to walk is worth it. Falling is just the cost of doing business. We could learn a lot about writing from toddlers.

Speaking of toddlers teaching artists. Everything in their world is new and exciting. And that's exactly the mentality an artist needs.

Cold hard reality time: you're never going to make it as a writer without lots of work. A decade, maybe two, of really hard work. The sucky part is that it is entirely possible to put in that decade or two and still not make it. So you better love the writing for its own sake.

A Time to Kill. The Tales of Peter Rabbit. Fifty Shades of Grey. Orbit. Still Alice. The Tryle Trilogy. The Martian. What do all these books have in common? They are wildly successful best sellers....that were originally self-published. Don't EVER give up.

If you're having a bad day or a bad week or even a bad month, you're not alone. Just keep sitting down and doing the work; the words will return.

With the exception of a few authors and works, most of the canon--certainly almost all of it in history or from other cultures has been crafted without the benefit of any MFA programs. People just read a lot and then wrote themselves.

The peaks and valleys of being an artist can sometimes suck, but the best thing you can remember is that it's normal. Every time you go into one of those crippling self doubt spirals, remember that you are a writer, an artist, a creator of worlds. Soon you will emerge from the ashes of your own self doubt, blazing in glory, arms akimbo, and vaporize everyone who doubt you with your explosive awesomeness.

We can't all be warriors. Others have other strengths, and fight in other ways. 

I need MORE fortune cookies!

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