Monday, June 22, 2009

Two Dozen Essentials for Aspiring Writers

Found on the web:

1. All publishers are thieves, con-artists, and power-freaks until proven otherwise.
2. It’s illegal to shoot a publisher’s lawyer, one of the many inequities of our legal system.
3. Professional critics are parasites.
4. Amateur critics are pests on the same level as cockroaches or those gnats who buzz around at your favorite fishing spot.
5. Readers don’t care about your tortured inner life, if any.
6. Similarly, do not write about the experience of writing, unless you’re like me and have nothing else to do just now.
7. Story ideas are a dime a dozen. An acquaintance who is wild to share a great idea, if you will only do the writing, is someone who doesn’t have a clue how writing works.
8. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and many other literary geniuses were alcoholics. This does not mean you can become a literary genius simply by staying drunk.
9. Same for dope. There was only one Hunter Thompson and he killed himself.
10. Unless proven otherwise, academic literary types are either communists or status-crazed dilettantes.
11. Literature professors have one thing in common with semi-literate knuckle-draggers: they don’t think anyone can, or should, make money at writing.
12. “Little” magazines are simply a way to pretend you’re rich enough to write without getting paid for it.
13. Ditto, only worse, for your local “arts and culture” gimme paper.
14. Hanging out with the local arts and culture crowd will turn your brain to tofu, your blood to ethanol, and your writing to gibberish.
15. Being published really will impress girls, but not so much as borrowing a baby and wheeling it around the mall.
16. Don’t date other writers unless you’re gay.
17. Don’t marry another writer unless you’re stupid.
18. Don’t drop the names of famous writers you supposedly know. Most of the people you’re talking to have never heard of them and the rest think you’re lying (which you probably are).
19. Most female writers will assume that any man they meet is either married or a stalker/serial killer. They are often right.
20. Many people will assume that male writers are gay, even if they write blood and guts shoot-em-ups.
21. And just why shouldn’t sex and violence be marketable? It’s not like they never happen in real life (unless you’re a local art/cult droid).
22. Don’t boast about your publications unless you have copies with you.
23. Writing science fiction does not mean that I go to Star Trek cons or can’t find a girlfriend.
24. It’s a job. If you want to get paid, you have to work at it.

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