WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

Writing is one of the least-valued and under-appreciated occupations a person can get into. Seriously. Go check out Monster.com's listings for "writers." Check out how many goofballs are convinced you'll be willing to crank out six articles a day for "exposure." If you've ever had the privilege of working as a writer in a company or agency, you know it's pretty much a non-stop barrage of Could you please justify your existence again? and I'm not sure how to allocate you on a spreadsheet, exactly.

How do you get around this indignity? Simple: you become one of the greats. And I'm going to show you how with free, easy to understand lessons right here because I'm probably the nicest guy on the planet.

Step 1: Cultivate a Personality

Quick: name a famous author. You said Ernest Hemingway, right? No? Oh. Well, uh, I kind of had this Hemingway example locked and loaded, and it really only works if you guessed "Hemingway," so…

Oh! You did say Ernest Hemingway! Great! Now: do you think anyone would give two craps about Ernest Hemingway if he wasn't the WWI version of Hunter S. Thompson? All the most famous authors have one thing in common: crippling issues with addiction, depression, and/or sexual deviance. These are what we in the business call eccentricities, and every author has 'em. You'll need to develop your own if you ever want any hope of literary success.

Hemingway drank. And shot sharks with machine guns. And got into fights. And survived African plane crashes. He's really kind of your gold standard, but there's plenty of inspiration to draw from: Lord Byron kept a pet bear. Philip K. Dick was schizophrenic, which isn't so much an adopted eccentricity so much as one imposed on him by nature, but still. Truman Capote ticked off pretty much everyone he knew by mocking them in his works. Virginia Woolf filled her pockets with rocks and walked into a river.

The point is you're going to have to do something pretty original to stand out in the world of authors.

But have no fear! When in doubt, drink. Mutter under your breath. Enjoy the occasional surprise outburst with firearms (aiming only at targets or other non-living things, of course). Go to parties and belligerently howl about the status quo or mankind's folly or the betrayals of kinship or something.

Everyone should have one crippling personality defect in time for next week's lesson on the easy stuff: Manuscripts.



Quality Posts


RWoodward


quality posts: 58 Private Messages RWoodward

The one thing that most people who dream of being a famous writer fail to do is write.

Of those who do write, a substantial number never bother learning how to write.

Of those who learn to write, a substantial number fail to write anything marketable, using the excuse, "I must follow my muse" to justify writing things that no one else cares about.

Of those who write salable work, a substantial number never learn how to market their writing effectively.

Of those who sell their work, a substantial number never make any real money.

Of those who make a living writing, a substantial number never achieve any real notoriety.

"Famous writer" is almost an oxymoron.

AuthorGuy9


quality posts: 1 Private Messages AuthorGuy9

Hi, I'm a famous author. 22 years in the business as a pro, 13 novels, 6 NY Times bestsellers, published in 20+ countries. Yes, you need to learn to write, and NOT indulge your personality "defects". Yes, there were a ton of alcoholic writers, most of whom self-destructed. The last part, kind of important. Also, the easier part.

When I was coming up, my contemporaries often told me, "You just need to go to the beach, smoke some weed, and think, man." Those people are not writing professionally now. Others said, "You have to publish it yourself, you can't let obtrusive editors put their grubby hands on you stuff." Those people are not writing for a living, either.

Everyone is romanced by the stories of eccentricity of the writer, the self-destruction, and I indulged some of those notions in my 20s -- walked to the edge, then crawled back away from it and started finishing books and selling them.

Indulging the romance of "being a writer" can be great fun until it's not, but it doesn't get the work done, and while you may be smart enough to write well under diminished capacity, I'm not. Never was. I mean, at the time, I thought I was writing brilliantly, then I'd sober up and read the crap I'd written the night before.

I think it's healthier and more productive, perhaps, to PLAY at being the eccentric, pretending, staring out over the moors with your jaws clenched, contemplating grand romantic gestures, then go inside, sit down by yourself, and start putting down words and sentences. PLAY at being eccentric, WORK at being a writer. You want to READ Hunter Thompson and Charles Bukowski, you don't want to BE Hunter and Buk. That will make you very unhappy and very dead.

None of those writers you cited would be famous for their flaws alone, they are famous for their writing, and it's extraordinary that they were able to write well in spite of their flaws. You are not that good. At least I'm not. Your mileage may vary.

dsmmrm


quality posts: 7 Private Messages dsmmrm
AuthorGuy9 wrote:Hi, I'm a famous author. 22 years in the business as a pro, 13 novels, 6 NY Times bestsellers, published in 20+ countries. and so forth...



I am surprised that with all your purported writing experience you lack the ability to identify satire.
We'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you may be new to Woot as nothing they write is to be taken seriously but really dude, do you think ANYONE really believes that all it takes to be a writer is a sociopathic tendency of some sort?
We don't need to use emoticons on entire articles these days just to show sarcasm, do we?

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
AuthorGuy9 wrote:Hi, I'm a famous author. 22 years in the business as a pro, 13 novels, 6 NY Times bestsellers, published in 20+ countries. Yes, you need to learn to write, and NOT indulge your personality "defects". Yes, there were a ton of alcoholic writers, most of whom self-destructed. The last part, kind of important. Also, the easier part.

When I was coming up, my contemporaries often told me, "You just need to go to the beach, smoke some weed, and think, man." Those people are not writing professionally now. Others said, "You have to publish it yourself, you can't let obtrusive editors put their grubby hands on you stuff." Those people are not writing for a living, either.

Everyone is romanced by the stories of eccentricity of the writer, the self-destruction, and I indulged some of those notions in my 20s -- walked to the edge, then crawled back away from it and started finishing books and selling them.

Indulging the romance of "being a writer" can be great fun until it's not, but it doesn't get the work done, and while you may be smart enough to write well under diminished capacity, I'm not. Never was. I mean, at the time, I thought I was writing brilliantly, then I'd sober up and read the crap I'd written the night before.

I think it's healthier and more productive, perhaps, to PLAY at being the eccentric, pretending, staring out over the moors with your jaws clenched, contemplating grand romantic gestures, then go inside, sit down by yourself, and start putting down words and sentences. PLAY at being eccentric, WORK at being a writer. You want to READ Hunter Thompson and Charles Bukowski, you don't want to BE Hunter and Buk. That will make you very unhappy and very dead.

None of those writers you cited would be famous for their flaws alone, they are famous for their writing, and it's extraordinary that they were able to write well in spite of their flaws. You are not that good. At least I'm not. Your mileage may vary.



Can you get some stuff to a publisher for me?

Moueska


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska

I get the feeling that I will love these posts.

They certainly can't make my writing any worse. I'm not published, not polished, not even pretentious.

Oh well. I guess I'll never make it. XD

Moueska


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska
dsmmrm wrote:I am surprised that with all your purported writing experience you lack the ability to identify satire.
We'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you may be new to Woot as nothing they write is to be taken seriously but really dude, do you think ANYONE really believes that all it takes to be a writer is a sociopathic tendency of some sort?
We don't need to use emoticons on entire articles these days just to show sarcasm, do we?



DUDE. DON'T KNOCK THE MAN WITH ACTUAL LITERARY ADVICE.

Srsly.

AuthorGuy9


quality posts: 1 Private Messages AuthorGuy9
dsmmrm wrote:I am surprised that with all your purported writing experience you lack the ability to identify satire.
We'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you may be new to Woot as nothing they write is to be taken seriously but really dude, do you think ANYONE really believes that all it takes to be a writer is a sociopathic tendency of some sort?
We don't need to use emoticons on entire articles these days just to show sarcasm, do we?



I'll defer to your expertise at satire. Carry on.

Moueska


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska
AuthorGuy9 wrote:I'll defer to your expertise at satire. Carry on.



It's time-honored tradition around here to put actual information up after a satire post anyway.

Ignore the troll. Continue the information.

wren1974


quality posts: 0 Private Messages wren1974

Yes i do!!!!It would be awesome!!!!

shushine999


quality posts: 15 Private Messages shushine999

Well, I don't want to BRAG or anything, but I have been recognized for my writing. I DO have 5 "quality posts". (Smiles smugly, shoots cuffs, brushes where lapels would be)

goldenthorn


quality posts: 38 Private Messages goldenthorn

Volunteer Moderator

dsmmrm wrote:do you think ANYONE really believes that all it takes to be a writer is a sociopathic tendency of some sort?