The other night, Snowman and I had friends over. And while we were having the inevitable Serious Adult Discussions—the differences between robots and mechs, the inadvisability of storing smallpox in your freezer, the likelihood that I have an NSA file somewhere based on my internet searches— the subject of writing advice came up. I, of course, run this blog; my friend Kat, writer and movie critic* from over here, also gets asked by others for her thoughts on writing. I will now recreate our conversation in the name of giving you the most serious, high quality advice I can.
*Fires up the wayback machine*
Me: I think some people want a magic bullet—especially for shit like building an audience and getting published—but it’s really about time and patience. And, you know, not giving off an actual physical stink of desperation.
Kat: And diversifying. Try new stuff.
Me: Yeah, definitely that. It’s way too fucking easy to just get into a rut and only do the stuff you’ve done before.
Kat: You should get your fingers in as many pies as you can. And then make more pies.
Me: And then graft more fingers, until you’re a monstrous pie-finger construct, devouring all in your path, with freeway on-ramps for arms and a heart as black as coal!***
Rest of the Room: (dead silence and mildly worried staring.)
Whether or not you go the finger-pie construct route****, the advice holds: diversify. Break out of your tried-and-true and venture forth into the unknown. Novel writer? Try short stories. Try blogs. Try poetry. Try smearing the powdered dreams of your enemies on the walls of your cell.
And get out of your solitary little writer-cave. Go on social media. Become a commenter on other writing blogs. Join a writing group. Or, my personal favourite, start conversations with other writers on Twitter. I’ve had some great conversations with writers on every step of the road from Just Staring Down The Barrel Of That First Manuscript to Author Of A Goddamn New York Times Best Seller through Twitter. People are more approachable than you think. You know, so long as you’re not a complete douchecanoe about it.
This shift to new venues and new modes of communication does two things. 1) It makes you more versatile and broadens your horizons, not a bad thing at all in a writer. And 2) it gives you that many more possibilities for making money/getting published/getting noticed. More stuff on deck means more stuff to submit, which means better chances of one of those pieces finding a forever home, or at least an Until-The-Rights-Expire home.
And if you can make yourself into a Lovecraftian horror along the way? Hell, who’s not up for that?
*Also baker/librarian/weaponized disease enthusiast. I decided that if she had a Jaeger a la Pacific Rim, it would be Viral Cupcake.**
**Mine would be Caffeine Deathwish.
***With apologies to Futurama.
****Though why wouldn’t you? It sounds awesome.