I am a writer. As such, I’m expected to be slightly nerdy and do all of the things writers do. Granted, the specifics of those things change over time. Writers are no longer expected to be alcoholics (most of those died) nor are they expected to chain smoke (likewise). It is still acceptable, though no longer required to be a tortured soul. I’m quite happy, in fact.
Still, there are unspoken rules we writers–especially those who write specific genres of fiction–are expected to conform to. I’ve listed some here that I typically ignore. A mistake many new writers make is believing that 1) just because someone’s successful that means they can write, 2) doing what someone successful does will make you successful, and 3) people with a brain in their head actually give a damn about your conforming to stereotypes.
Here’s a sad reality check. Social scientists have begun to look at all of the factors that lead to success–measured by financial success–and have come to the conclusion that it comes down largely to luck. Yep, be in the right place, know the right people, have the right thing at the precise time people want it. That’s what it comes down to. You’ll be successful, or not, based on skill, yes, but you’ll need help from the cosmos to hit the big time. So, in the interim, focus on being yourself. Everyone else is taken.
Dirty Writer’s Secrets
- I write Sci Fi, but I have never liked Star Wars. I waited a year to see the 1st movie and never even bothered to watch the second trilogy. I think this final trilogy is a formulaic yawn.
- I would rather be naked than do cosplay. Didn’t like wearing Halloween costumes as a kid either.
- I thinking LARPing is for sad, lonely people without an imagination of their own. I’d rather create a world than live in someone else’s.
- I don’t know if my stories are like video games, because I’ve never liked video games either.
- Writers are supposed to love reading fiction. I’d rather write it than read it. I read about the world I live in. I write about worlds that exist only to me.
- I rarely get inspired by books. I get more inspiration from music and movies.
- When there are no good words available that describe what I mean, I invent them. I’m not sure anyone’s ever noticed.
- I have read fewer than 10 fantasy fiction books in my life. Three of those, I wrote.
- The authors I’ve read the most are Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Neither of them is a good writer. As your knowledge of writing changes, so will your taste in books.
- I think William Faulkner was a brilliant writer, but the racist bullshit he wrote about keeps me from reading more than about a chapter of his books.
- When I get to the n-word in a book, I close it. Fuck your literary license.
- I decided that I was a good writer when other writers’ work stopped impressing me.
- Only when other writing stopped impressing me was I educated enough to understand what the writers were doing.
- I read fiction only as education; i.e., I read as a writer, not a reader. I don’t even know if I like the books I find the most helpful. I’m too busy being in school.
- I wrote my last book in 30 days, inspired by the work of Toni Morrison and William Faulkner. It is my best work ever. I still don’t know if I liked Morrison’s book. I hated Faulkner’s.
- I believe the secret of writing a successful mystery is in pretending it’s complicated while secretly making it solvable so that readers/viewers feel smart in the end.
- Despite how I sound in this list, I am anything but arrogant. Rather, I’ve learned that being in awe simply means you haven’t analyzed a thing well enough to understand it.