Tag Archives: advice

Sacré Maroon!

Street in the Altstadt, Heidelberg, Germany

I belong to a number of Facebook groups related to writing. In some of them, I see questions I haven’t asked in years, Questions so basic that DON’T THOSE PEOPLE KNOW ANYTHING? comes to mind. Then I remember myself. Sometimes I drop a bit of advice, and often when I do it is appreciated (given a like or two, at least.) Thing is, I’m still not a famous, self-sustaining writer. Hell, I’m almost seventy, and I’m still aspiring to that (keeps one young, I’m told.) Great, but that means, that, while I can give advice to raw beginners (Speak Engrish, Troop!?) I still need a lot of help myself. And I have learned a few things over time.

Number one: nobody knows how you should proceed in your career. People who tell you what to do should pay attention to their own lives, and let you figure out yours.

Two: that’s not to say that you can’t learn from others’ experiences. You can, but never try to be them. Or even like them. You are you, and that’s fantastic.

Three: you will not be an overnight success. If you are, you’ll spend the rest of your life being unsure of your actual talents. As opposed to if you work hard for years and finally break through, in which case you will spend the rest of your life being unsure of your actual talents. This is called “Imposter Syndrome.” Get used to it.

And number zero: Know the rules like a professional so you can break them like an artist. (Pablo Picasso) Rule zero because it is the most important.

There, now you know everything you need to know to be a famous, self-sustaining writer. You’re welcome.

Some Truth About Writing

Inside the, well what do you think it is? In Peach Springs, Arizona, on Route 66.
Inside the, well what do you think it is? In Peach Springs, Arizona, on Route 66.

Newer writers always have a lot of questions about writing, and the process of writing, and whether they really are writers, that sort of thing. Well, friends, you are in luck, because this week, I’m going to answer some of those burning questions so that you can rest easier knowing, well, knowing this stuff:

1. Am I Really A Writer?

Well, let’s think. Do you sit down at a blank screen or paper, and leave when there are things written on the screen or paper? If you do, then, yes, you are really a writer, whether you get paid or not, whether you feel compelled or not, even whether you enjoy it or not, you are a writer. Next question.

2. When Will I Know that I Have Succeeded as a Writer?

When you accomplish what you’ve set out to accomplish. If that’s publish a book, then when your book is published. If it’s make a living at writing, then when you can quit your day job. If it’s get rich like John Grisham, you could be in deep doo doo. Hey, gotta be realistic.

3. What Are the Rules of Writing?

There aren’t any.
Except that there are.
Your high-school English teacher mentioned a lot of them.
Even though they don’t matter.
My favorite quote about rules is from Pablo Picasso:

You must know the rules like a professional in order to break them like an artist.

4. Should I Publish My Own Work or Get an Agent and/or Publisher.

Yes. Definitely.

5. Isn’t Publishing My Own Stuff a Lot of Hard Work?

Of course it is. That’s why you get such stingy royalties out of the big publishers. If you decide to go to the expense yourself, of course, you get 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of your books. You choose.

6. Are there Any Good Books on How to Write?

Yes. Yes, there are.

7. Which Books Are Those?

The ones you learn valuable lessons from.

8. Are You Serious?

Yes I am. This is all the true state of the art of writing.

9. When Is Your Book on Writing Coming Out?

Sometime after I write it. I’ll get back to you.

10. Anything Else to Add?

Nope