Sometimes writers are their own worst enemies and end up not being able to have nice things. Here’s nine reasons why.
- Stop believing in a capricious Muse who wanders in (rarely and usually nursing a hangover) and out of our headspace (often at a key point in the scene). We alternatively curse him/her/it when we cannot write and worship with the words flow with the viscosity and taste of honey. We are kidding ourselves when we say, “I couldn’t write today because my Muse was getting a mani-pedi and didn’t invite me.”
- Quit procrastinating (see Point #1). The way you postpone your productivity makes a glacier appear to move like quicksand. The solution is simple: put your bum in the seat and write. If it’s frozen, apply a blowtorch. If it’s a bit rusty, liberally spray WD-40 as if you were a teenager with a can of deodorant. Get it done even if it feels like someone has made a thousand paper cuts across your buttocks and washed it with lemon juice.
- We need to expand the ever-shrinking circle of social media. We flock to find other like-minded individuals to support us and so we haunt twitter and facebook and any other avenue of social media to commune with the hive mind and pimp our wares. Support for one another is important, but we end up feeding the circle creating narcissistic, preening believers of our own onanism, making us grow extra digits, and probably another head. Think of the Pit of the Almighty Sarlac in Return of The Jedi. The audience is out there and not within the writer’s circle.
- Don’t believe your ego has the tensile strength of an eggshell. If you can handle being popped out a sphincter with no harm done, you can handle a bit of criticism and rejection. And I’ve seen a raw egg thrown a fair distance only to bounce and not break. Go and play in the dirt like chickens. It builds character.
- Writers are not the most important and creative people in the world. We believe we hold the monopoly of ideas creation and generation (along with artists and musicians). Here’s a hint: look at the business world, corporate strategy, management, science and mathematics, childcare, education and health care. They have some very good ideas. Go and learn from other areas of life.
- Stop believing in a set of “rules for writing.” Rules are an arbitrary set of boundary markers. They are cultural, aesthetic and social constructs of ‘taste’ when it comes to writing. Prove that flowery description and adverbs have their place in literary fiction and genre fiction. Don’t let rules dictate the need to void our bladder because there’s an ad break coming up. Write to your purpose and function, not ideas of fashion and taste.
- The continual complaining, whinging, tweeting, nay-saying, flame wars and trolling about the publishing industry is like passing wind in an elevator. It’s funny to you but no one else. We are afraid of the changes because the publishing industry is in a state of flux, but when the dust settles, publishing will still be there. It will look different and there will still be avenues to publish, even if we have to invent it.
- We need to look to new models of developing and nurturing emerging writers. If we want to skim the surface of the gene pool and clean up the fiction universe, we need to encourage and mentor emerging writers, and be gracious enough to tell someone their work sucks. Not that we make clones of ourselves, but that we allow the new voices to be heard; that the power of words, language and story are taken up by the next generation.
- We believe our words are important and therefore require recompense. We do not have a right to make money from our art. It’s a privilege. Even if we don’t get paid, let’s use our words to reflect, question, entertain, amuse, horrify, and challenge, even in the one story. The power of story is greater than the medium that produces it. We will always have a voice.