Monday, July 29, 2013

Writing Advice I’m Not Going to Take

When you’re a writer, people everywhere just fall all over themselves to give you advice (like, “Have you considered another career?” Ha ha ha). Not all of this advice is bad. Some of it is fucking great. But alas, some of it is terrible. Such as:

You must write every day.

You heard ‘em. That’s every single day – seven days a week, 365 days a year. Is it your birthday? Is it a major holiday in your religion, or a day when your religion proscribes any kind of work? Are you sick, hung over, tired, busy, comatose or in labor? Have your hands been recently amputated? Stop making excuses. Real writers write every day, no matter what.

Write in public.

Oh sure, that might be fine for you, Mr. Male Privilege. I’m not sure how writing in public is supposed to help, because I’m a woman, and when a woman writes, reads, grades papers, or engages in any kind of activity that is clearly requiring all of her concentration in public, she might as well be wearing a big Styrofoam hat that says “Hit on Me!” because that is what every other man who sees her will do.

You should only read culturally significant works of literature.

Because god forbid, if you picked up a Stephen King novel, you might learn to write books that people will actually read.

Exercise your other creative muscles – learn to paint, draw or play an instrument!

Excuse me, O Giver of Shitty Advice, did you notice how long it took me to learn to write? We’re talking years here. Add to that all the high-brow reading I’m supposed to be doing to learn how to write in a manner that I can be truly pretentious about, and the fact that I work on paid writing assignments 40-plus hours a week in addition to doing “my own” writing, and that I have a social life – how am I supposed to find time to master the guitar? Fuck off.

Don’t air your dirty laundry because you might hurt someone.

Spoken like someone who spends a lot of time hurting others and doesn’t want it to come back on him in any way. I’ll write about whatever I want to write about and if anyone doesn’t like it, then they shouldn’t have been an asshole.

But, be honest! Don’t worry about what other people think!

Wait, what?