While composing our latest masterpieces, we maestros of the written word might need a little sumpin-sumpin to keep us going. Here are some foolproof tips to keep your fingers on the keys and your eyes on the horizon:
Yes you are, Spivy! You work long hours for nonexistent pay! You’re the butt of all jokes in your non-writing social circle! You told Gramma about your budding “career,” and the old bat laughed so hard she nearly choked on her prunes!
You’re a writer. Own it. Feel it. Smile in the face of opposition, and then write your magnum opus ~ proving once and for all to every last one of your doubters that YOU’RE the king of the sandbox, baby, and all others should bow in awe before you!
Don’t listen to people; especially well meaning ones who only have your best interests in mind. What do those ass-clowns know anyway? The secret to success is do. Go after what you want. Go after it at full effing force! You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play…and the odds of becoming a writer have got to be better than that!
IMMA MAKE MONEY!
No, you’re not, but you can pretend you will.
I know what some writing gurus are gonna say: Don’t do it for the money, do it for the art! I say: is it really that hard to do it for both?
For sure, you’re not gonna get paid. Not right away. But you can take comfort in the rumor that some writers have maybe, possibly, gotten a bit of monetary compensation for the nonsense they’ve poked out of a keyboard ~ very handsome compensation, at that.
If you want to make a career out of something (ANYTHING!), it helps to picture yourself already at the finish line. Gives you the strength to slog through another bout of writer’s block, or punch out one…more…chapter. Imagine yourself as some lucky dog bathing in the greenbucks after writing the BEST GODDAMN STORY EVA! Then sit your ass down and write it.
Which brings me to…
IMMA MEET OPRAH WINFREY!
With fortune comes fame.
While imagining yourself competing with JK Rowling as the filthy-richest so-so to ever pen a word, you might as well play out a few imaginary interviews too. Sit down with Oprah. Speak to an auditorium of aspiring writers. Write the Forward to your republished story for its 25th anniversary, detailing what a journey it’s been and how shocked you are and how far you’ve come since being that hopeful little writer penning silly little tales so many moons ago.
This may sound like egotistical bool-sheet, and maybe it is egotistical bool-sheet. But, for me, it helped lay a few things straight. Like, what I wanted my novels to accomplish. And what exactly I wanted my stories to say. It’s another way of seeing yourself at the finish line. Have Oprah ask meaningful questions about your story, and give her meaningful answers back. Then, examine what you say. Paint a big picture with which to guide your creative process in the here-and-now. Figure out where it is you wanna go, so you can plan out how to get there.
IMMA GO THE DISTANCE!
And we will root for you in the same way spectators might root for their favorite mixed martial arts fighter: with a bit of wariness. As the fighter goes down, the spectators secretly thank the Lord that they’re not the ones getting punched in the face repeatedly. At least they have normal jobs doing normal things. As the fighter gets up on wobbly legs, the spectators think, There but for the grace of God go I.
Until the fighter stands up…
…and delivers the fatal blow that fells his opponent (and the rest of the world) in one glorious punch.
It may not be the cleanest job in the world, and it may not be the brightest, but it’s the job you chose to propel you to the stars. Remember this, fellow word pilgrim, and walk your path with pride.