5 Things For “Aspiring”* Writers To Fucking Stop, and 1 To Start

See this guy? He’s thinking big.

1. Stop with the fucking timidity. Who’s had the following conversation?
Random Person: So, what do you do for work/fun?
    You: I…kind of…um….write. Maybe. Sort of.
    Random Person: Really? What are you writing about?
    You: *throws a drink in their face and hides*
I have.  And it has to stop.
Don’t admit you’re a writer. Be proud of it. Take all those insecurities and throttle them with your bare hands before stuffing their nearly-lifeless corpses under the floorboards and setting the floor on fire. They’re dragging you back like the Sad Demons of Despair.
Be bold. Be brave. The universe hates a coward.

2. Stop bitching about the job. No one wants to hear your rant about the gatekeepers, or that awful book that sold a billon copies, or why traditional publishing is dead just before you get to it. Yes, there are disappointments lying in wait out there for all writers. Yes, you will be rejected, criticized, told you suck, and otherwise verbally spat upon.** That’s the deal.
We are all going through it. And while complaining might feel like it’s helping, it’s not. You’re just dragging yourself down. Focus on solutions instead. They’ll get you a lot further.***

3. Stop looking for Bertholt’s Magnificent Spell of Writing. The Snowflake, the Index Card, The Reverse Outline, The Muse Fondler****…these sound more like sex positions than writing styles. And, like sex positions, there’s nothing wrong with trying it, if both you and the manuscript are willing. But there is no magic solution. What worked for That Smug Best-Selling Author may not work for you. And it certainly won’t work in the same way. This is because you are individuals instead of writer robots.
So, try the new stuff, with the ink and the chicken feathers and the strategically placed cleaning supplies. But do it because it’s fun and it’s something you want to try, not because you think it will solve everything.

4. Stop with the coffee. Ha! Trick! You should never stop with the coffee! Onwards to heart-exploding heights!

5. Stop making excuses. No more, “I want to write but I don’t have time.” If these are the words that tumble from your mouth at the first mention of writing, then you don’t want to be a writer. You want to have written. Nothing wrong with that, but stop fooling yourself.
Or, if you protest at my unfair statements, prove me wrong. Commit. Put a ring on it.

Which brings us to:

1. Start writing. Today.

*It gets sarcastic quotes for a reason. Either write or don’t. Do or do not; there is no try.
**Hopefully just verbally, though. If someone spits on you for real, then feel free to complain. Though you’d probably be better served by jamming a boot up their ass.
***This should be a rule for all social interactions, not just writers. No complaining unless you are going to offer a solution. If you don’t have one, then don’t get pissed off when someone else offers one.
****All right, I made this one up. But now I want to make my own writing method and call it this.

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22 thoughts on “5 Things For “Aspiring”* Writers To Fucking Stop, and 1 To Start

  1. Ever read The War of Art by Steven Pressman? You should. He covers all the points and then some. It was an eye opening read for me. I love to write, am proud to write, and when asked by my mother why I don’t have a job yet, I respond, “But I do. I’m a writer.” My biggest hurdle is time management. I am working on preparing my kids for the long summer of mommy working while they are home and not be unattended to now, LOL. I shouldn’t say time is my problem. Concentration and being easily distracted (Facebook anyone?) and having 4 dramatic children who will just die if I don’t attend to their wants immediately is my problem. Also called resistance by Steven Pressman. My life is full of it. 😉

  2. Haha I needed to read this today, especially #3. I’m so looking for that magic system to quadruple my efficiency and The Muse Fondler sounds exactly right, when is it coming out? 😉 A little add on to that point should probably be : You don’t need 1000 writing books. Imagine how much writing you could’ve gotten done (and learnt from) in the time you read all the writing how-to crap that’s out there.
    Now. Where’s that outlining book I was in the middle of reading, I should probably get back to it…

  3. For a brief moment (before I saw you were kidding) I thought, “Number Four, give up coffee? Not a chance in h***”. 😉
    But seriously, great post! Each one is something all writers should adhere to. I must admit I’ve been guilty of number two, but it’s usually when people say, “That bestselling erotic fiction book was crap so all erotic fiction must be crap.” But I guess I shouldn’t complain about that either and just write. 🙂

  4. I need to stop being timid for sure. I know I can do it but I think I need to stop trying to convince everyone else of it and just ‘do’. Thanks for the kick up the backside I needed!xx

  5. My favorite conversation ever with a nosy stranger at a cocktail party:

    THEM: “So, what do you do for a living?”
    ME: “I’ve been having a lot of luck lately with water, food, and oxygen.”
    “No, I mean, what do you do for work?”
    “I delegate as much of it as I can.”
    (Getting impatient now) “Do you have a career?”
    “Yes.”
    “What is it?”
    “I’m an artist, a speaker, a meditation instructor, a spiritualist, and a writer.”
    “Oh, really? What do you write?”
    “Mostly words, some numbers.”
    “Have you been published?”
    “Yes.”
    “What is the name of your book?”
    “I let people discover my work on their own. If they are lined up with it, they’ll find it. That way, they can enjoy the piece without any preconceptions or judgments they may have formed by meeting me first at, say, a cocktail party.”
    (Pursing lips and turning away to another person) “So, what do YOU do for a living?”

    My back up plan for total assholes is to tell them I’m a police psychic.

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