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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fortune Cookie Wisdom XIII

That's a pretty nice prescriptivism you've got there. Be a shame if someone linguistically drifted all over it.  

Writers give different advice to different people. The young hopeful who is desperate to emulate their success often gets a less-fluffy kind of advice than the perfectly content hobbyist.

A lot of writers put their writing on the back burner when their life becomes difficult. I'm not here to judge that decision, but what I can tell you is the more difficulty you write through, the more you can turn around and use difficult times as fuel.

It turns out disdain for self-promotion and treating money like it taints art is a pretty good way to be unknown and unpaid....but that's about it.

Write a lot. Read a lot. Don't give up. That'll get you pretty far when you realize everything else is variations on a theme and frosting.

So much of writing is in revision. Revision is the beating heart of good writing. Writing that first draft is hard, but rewriting and revision is where a work transforms from a malformed idea roughly in the shape of a story into something worthy of fiction. And nowhere is writer's block more common than in those who don't respect the process, think they have to get it right on the first try, and sit frozen trying to find the perfect words.

Forget the idea of "you better have a good reason" when it comes to defying conventions or advice. Every writer thinks their reason is the best reason since the dawn of reasons. Instead consider the concept of "earn it." Learn why that advice exists and how to work around it.

There are a lot of people in this world who, when they give up on something, will then tell you that you can't do it. And they absolutely intend that sentiment to break you. That will be their goal: to beat the will to write right out of you. Not accidentally. Not tough-love-gone-wild. Not because advice is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Just because they see you loving something that they don't have a relationship with anymore.  
Just so you know: watching you fight descriptive grammar is kind of like watching Road Runner cartoons. Prescriptivism will be playing Wile E Coyote

There's this old Simpsons where Homer wants steak and completely doesn't listen to Marge tell him that money's too tight for steak. (For some reason, I can only find the clip in a bad quality video.) I can't fathom why, but I always think of this when starting writers go out searching for some advice that isn't "write every day" like somewhere out there exists some magic advice that will circumvent treating their career aspirations with career-caliber effort. ("That guy said we had to write every day. Let's ask the NEXT writer on the panel....   Steak?")

Can't get enough? Need MOAR FORTUNE COOKIE WISDOM?

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