Archive for April 5, 2012

  1. Try to write something bad. And I don’t want you to half-ass this. You have to attempt to intentionally create something so terrible that anyone reading it won’t know whether to laugh or puke. Make it so bad it’s funny. Use your whole arsenal of bad storytelling techniques– clichés, poor characterization, dialogue so bad that it sounds like poorly-dubbed anime. Make it terrible, and when you read it back over, then smile inwardly and understand how much better you’re doing.
  2. Alternately, find a published writer whose books are just awful. Buy a copy and read the whole book through. Try not to gag. When you finish, tell yourself that, not only could you do better than this writer (who is actually published!), but you’re doing better than her right now.
  3. Don’t concern yourself with being “the next X”. You can try all you want to be the next Hemingway, or Tolkien, or Agatha Christie, or Stephen King. No matter what you do, you can’t out-Hemingway Hemingway. Hemingway is already the writer who’s best at being Hemingway. Concentrate on being the writer who’s best at being you.
  4. When you write a crappy story, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, know that you can learn from the experience. At the very least, you’ll learn to never write that story again.
  5. Don’t aspire for greatness. Greatness is accidental. It’s out of your control. Instead, aspire to be the best writer that you can be at the moment, and aspire to constantly improve.
  6. Don’t compare yourself unfavorably to other writers– not even those in your peer group. Jealousy is a cancer that eats away at the heart. It will hurt you and those around you.
  7. If you get rejected– which will happen, by the way– then make sure not to beat yourself up about it. Shrug, and send your story somewhere new.
  8. It’s not a race. It’s not a competition. If someone else writes faster than you, or writes better than you, don’t worry about it. There will be people who enjoy your writing no matter what. Even if that person is your girlfriend. Even if that person is your grandma. Even if that person has no reason to like what you write. Don’t concentrate on being better than other writers– concentrate on being better than yourself.
  9. If you write something awesome, don’t keep it locked away. Share it with others. Share it with the world.
  10. Above all, enjoy yourself. After all, if you’re not enjoying yourself, then why the fuck are you still writing?
~ Ian
P.S. I’m still working on “Cassandra”, by the way. While I’m working on it, I’m probably going to be sharing things about writing and storytelling, because that’s just where my head is right now. Bear with me– my usual deranged nonsense will be back in force once I finish this story.