Sunday, December 6, 2009
Hey Writer, You Suck!
Well, it’s true. All writers suck at some point in their careers. Even your hero, that literary genius who composed sonnets in his crib and gave a stream-of-consciousness book report on Atlas Shrugged for his third grade book report; he sucked. If you don’t believe me and he’s still alive, sneak into his house one night, gently wake him up, and ask him.
While you’re waiting for the cops to pick you up, I think you’ll discover that compared to his current work, he’ll say that third grade book report sucked. Sucking isn’t the problem, it’s the degree of suck. All writers start with some degree of talent. Some have an ocean’s worth, some have a drop. But that talent has to developed, has to be worked.
A writer with a drop of talent, who writes, workshops, and continues to grow, will have fifty times the success of a literary genius who sits on his butt and waits for opportunities to show up at his door. It’s a combination of work, talent, and sheer stubbornness.
Don’t believe me?
I can prove it. Go to your local bookstore or library and look through the paperback novels. Now stay away from your favorite authors. Just randomly pull ten books off the shelf that you’ve never read or heard of. At least one of those books will be utter crap or at least as good as the crap you write.
You know what the difference is between you and this published author is?
And no it’s not blackmail photos of someone at Random House, it’s commitment. Most writers get rejected. Expect to be rejected. Think of yourself as girl with the neck boil and the lazy eye who wants a date to the prom. If you don’t have a guilty cousin doing you a favor, you’re going to have to ask more than one boy. You’ll get hurt, you’ll cry a bit.
But eventually you’ll figure out that a turtleneck sweater, a pair of tinted glasses, and a push-up bra gets you what you what you want. It’s the same with writing.
It won’t be easy.
You’ll have to work hard to improve your writing flaws, learn to enhance what’s already good and minimize what isn’t.
But it’s not impossible.
Will you get a five book deal and get to tell your current boss to suck it? Probably not. But can you get published? Probably yes.
But are you stubborn enough to keep at it?
Because that’s what it’ll take, sheer stupid stubbornness.
I can do that, can you?
Remember when you suck, Koontz, King, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Rowling, Whitman, Austen sucked too and you read their books, right? Right.
I know I will.