Sunday, January 9, 2011

So You Want to be a Writer? Part 1

             I don’t know what it is about being a writer, but when I tell people I’ve written a novel (a few, actually), it’s like everyone’s suddenly a writer, too. They used to want to be a writer. They’ve written a few short stories that were well received by completely biased family members. They always thought they could be a writer because their English teacher gave them an A one time and told them their essay was great (It was great—for an 8th grade paper. For a Pulitzer Prize winning piece, your report on your grandma's house smelling like cookies is probably garbage). They can piece together a sentence, and since computers come with spell check nowadays, they've become qualified to write the next great American novel.
            The icing on the cake? Because I have a literary agent, was previously accepted by Random House, and am on the verge of getting published, I always get this little gem of wisdom, aka slap in the face.
            “Wow. Since you did it, maybe I can do it too.”
            Translation: Writing a novel is simply about completing one. Once you finish it, you will magically get published and it will magically be put into every bookstore in America.
            First off, let me just say that writing isn’t magic. Magnets are magic. How the fuck do those things work anyway?
            Secondly, I got to where I am from years and years of writing. I got there by being open to constructive criticism, and by being humble enough to make the positive changes that have helped my writing get to where it is now... instead of being pigheaded and thinking my writing has always been the best, and that I was just born spewing golden sentences. Most of what I spew is of the brown variety, but it’s funny or well composed enough to pass as acceptable.
            Did I mention I’ve been doing this for years?
            While all the other children played outside, I wrote stories. While all my high school classmates went out to play football or baseball, I stayed in to write. While my college classmates went out and drunk themselves retarded… I stayed in and drunk myself retarded, and wrote (still counts, bitches). While others had wild, passionate sex... well, you’ve gotta take a break from writing some time (right fiancé?).
            But people seem to think writing is easy. When you tell anyone you wrote a book, the automatic response is always ‘So when is it getting published?’
            Is that even practical? I mean, is there any other profession where this could possibly be applicable?
            Me: “I just wrote a song.”
            You: “Cool! When’s your album coming out?”
            Me: “I just shot a video of myself and put it on Youtube.”
            You: “Cool! When’s it hitting theaters?”
            Me: “I just drew a picture.”
            You: “Cool! When can I see it displayed at the museum of fine art?”
            Didn’t think so.
            So in closing, I’m not trying to come across as some cocky douche canoe (I love this term now), preaching about how my writing is amazing and that no one else’s can compare to it. I’m just saying that just because you know how to use a steak knife, it doesn't mean you're qualified to perform neurosurgery.

Till next time,

Mood: Unappreciated
Beer: 90 Shilling
Shower: Still working, and not something I would try to fix myself


  1. Lol, same thing with Stand Up Comedy. Everyone thinks they're fucking hilarious. But it's completely different when you have to preform for an audience.
    I hate when I work out material to the point it seems natural and some douche bag says "Hey I could do this". No you can't! It looks so easy because I polished it over years to look this way!

  2. Cool post :) I have issues with writing from time to time :) Someone is just good for it and someone is not =]

  3. So true.. I used to post my poems on this website that shall remain nameless. Oh what the hell, WRITERS CAFE.. I swear for christ every person that read my poems left glowing, flowers up my behind reviews. Give me a break, they were crap and we both knew it.
    So I left ( oh yeah caused an uproar like I was some superstar) and went to play in the trenches with the big-boys of the urban beat scene. Now they tell ya the truth.. But I learned and am still learning and am a longggggggggggggggggggggggggg way from being where I want to be.(Damn, see what you caused)

    So my fellow writer, in conclusion, how long you been writing?


  4. "I’m just saying that just because you know how to use a steak knife, it doesn't mean you're qualified to perform neurosurgery."

    Good writing but I don't know if it's pretentious enough. Maybe neurosurgery with one arm behind your back while hanging upside down.

  5. i intend on writing a book one day, but i promise i won't be a dick about it!

  6. Glad that my proffesion doesn't get that. Everyone just thinks we sit around and play games all day though :/

  7. Tango - I didn't know you were a stand up comic. That's awesome. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone tell another person who just said something only mildly funny 'you should do standup'... I'd still kill myself.

    Lynne - I used to be a member of Writers Cafe also. Jesus. "I'll blow smoke up your ass, so you can come to my page and blow smoke up MY ass." So glad I left that place.

    I've been writing since 16, when I penned my first fantasy novel that really wasn't any good but served as a good stepping stone to improving my writing. You listening, Christopher Paolini?

    1. I just stumbled on your blog randomly, and read your 50 shades of grey & twilight rants. Then I read this & you seem very self-absorbed, you see what people are really saying when they say they've written or intend to write something is thanks for your hard work it really inspired me. So why is it a slap in the face to you? Whenever musicians are interviewed they're always asked who their inspirations are so why should writing be any different? Granted 90% of people are not going to get published most will walk away & not follow through. Some will write something, and just simply not be good enough. However in an age where E-books make publishing easier than ever before in history, I can't help but feel bad about how much of a douche canoe you are being to your fans. Am I a writer? No, but I'd be pretty fucking honored if someone named me as an inspiration so maybe try not to be a dick to any of your fans who happen to be upstarts.

    2. Actually, I think you completely missed the point. It's not about people being inspired by writers, it's about them thinking that anyone can write a book. But not just anyone can. The same goes for musicians. Just because you hear a CD you like doesn't mean you can just sit down and write a full album by yourself, does it? And I'm not talking about fans. I never once said fans. I'm talking about random people I just meet. Two different conversations here, buddy.

      What you're picturing:
      Devoted fan: Wow, you inspire me. I'd love to write a book one day.
      Me: Fuck you, that's never going to happen. I hate you and I'm better than everyone.

      What I'm actually saying:
      Random dude at the supermarket: Oh, you wrote a book? I bet I could do that. I used to want to be a writer, just never did it.
      Me: It takes more than just sitting down and writing one, and not just anyone can do it.

      Know the difference. It can save you from looking like a real douche canoe in the future.

  8. Hey, I just stumbled upon your blog, it looks pretty cool! hahah i love your title for it.. i'll be sure to check back :3 I've actually been thinking about writing a book... hmm...

    anyways, here's my blog if anyone is interested

  9. I barely know the world you live in. I've been a copywriter for 15 years. No novels...yet. Good for you. Very impressed.

  10. Fucking novels, how do they work? I love to read, but I would make a shitty writer. Now editor...

  11. right on...decent post man i enjoyed the read

  12. ...or you can do what i do and just put lots of pretty pictures up and hope people don't notice my shit grammar

  13. Don't just you love all of those self proclaimed experts? Thanks for visting my blog :0)

  14. I would love to be a journalist on music one day :D

  15. I hear the same shit all the time, It's like you have some kind of pressure to be famous, people are always looking for validation for things you're doing.

  16. My brother has been writing for over a decade and apart from a few poems has not had anything published until he put his own money into getting a book publishe but that was no guaranteeo of it actually selling.

  17. whey, enjoyed the read dude, nice one

  18. I know very well that I'll probably never have the talent, the guts or the perseverence (See? I can't even SPELL that) to write a book. Tell me you're an author? I say 'Wow' and worship at your feet. Appropriate, yes?

  19. interesting read, keep it up :D

  20. enjoyable read, again very well written (unlike my trash)

  21. Excellent post, I know exactly what you mean. I have a friend that keeps telling me that she wants to start writing novels, even though she hasn't written anything of note since she had to for school. And of course

    "While my college classmates went out and drunk themselves retarded… I stayed in and drunk myself retarded, and wrote"

    You have no idea how much I can relate to you :P

  22. The thing that gets me is emo-chick folk whining like the crap NooG alluded to earlier. Some guy who wants to get into their pants tells them they sound good and Shazam! They're down in the subway with their acoustic guitar inflicting their miserable, wrist-cutting, dirges on the rest of us.

    Bad writing is mild by comparison.

  23. Now I still don't know how magnets work.

  24. I totally agree with what you say... some things are much more difficult and complicated then people think.

  25. I like to write and be creative in many other ways, but I'm also realistic about my abilities. :P

  26. This is now my favorite blog. Seriously. Although I may "borrow" your beer of the moment, at the end. I like that :) Consider it an homage!

    And I do not, in ANY way, consider myself a writer, just because I have a blog. :)

  27. Nice. I hate it when they, meaning anyone you ever tell you've written a book, ask the dreadful "when is it getting published?" question. Worse, after explaining the difficulties of said publishing, they look at you kind of pathetically and either A) try to be encouraging, B) change the subject completely, or worst of all, C) explain how you should self publish through the online site their aunt used to make her cookbook, because they did a really fabulous job on it.

  28. totally agree.
    i loved the cartoon on the bottom!