Thursday, February 09, 2012

Thursday Thirteen

Today I thought I'd list 13 things way to go about NOT being a successful writer. (I am writing this with a bad headache so I hope it makes sense.)

1. Don't write. This is easy enough, isn't it? Just leave the keyboard, pen, and pencil alone. Of course, you can still be a writer even if you don't write, but this is a good start if your goal is to not be a writer.

2. Kill the dream. And the daydreams. Don't do anything to feed that creative spark. That includes ditching all of the arts and crafts - put away the scrapbook and the crotchet. I suggest hours upon hours of reality TV. That'll kill creativity.

3. Don't read. Reading takes up a lot of time, anyway. Who wants to get ideas from other people's work? Because we all know everything we ever need to know, right? Let's not challenge ourselves by looking at other points of view, exploring fiction genres we might not have any affinity for, or reading biographies when all we want is a good fantasy. Don't ever stretch that intellect.

4. Read books about writing - and then don't remember anything you read. Or if you remember it, don't put it into practice. I mean, really, do we NEED capital letters at the beginning of sentences? Proper punctuation? Spelled out words? LOL! WCDYLI? (what century do you live in?)

5. If you do write, be sure to use extraneous phrases, cliches, and unoriginal wording. I mean, like, you know, who wants to read anything that they haven't already seen before?

6. Don't learn. It takes a little knowledge to be a writer - even with fiction there can be research involved. And you need a plot structure or characterization or something - and that requires a little thinking. If your thinker is atrophied, then it won't work well.

7. When you write something, write of things about which you you know nothing. If you live in the country, write about city life, and vice versa. If you have never been to Europe, be sure to set your character (who is completely different from you) down in the heart of some European metropolis. Who cares if there isn't a Plum Avenue in whatever town you choose?

8. Put a lot of porn and profanity in your pages. Never mind that most people don't like to read that - some do! Those folks might be pleased, even if there is no story line or plot. Being modern and footloose is all that matters.

9. Be sure you have imbibed of alcohol or some illegal substance when you sit down to do your best work. We all know how well that works, right?

10. Use big words, even if you don't know what they mean. And never mind if they are spelled properly (see #4).

11. Fake it. If you pretend you are a writer, someone might actually mistake you for one, even if you have absolutely nothing to indicate you write.

12. Don't listen to your editor. Even if that editor is another writer. Because remember, you know best, and know everything. So what can an editor possibly do for your work?

13. Give up. See #1. If you stop, and don't write, you'll never be a good writer. It takes practice and lots of work. It does not happen overnight.


Obviously, these should not be taken to heart at all. If anything, do the opposite! I was feeling, um, sarcastic and frustrated, I think. Writing is tough.

But never, ever give up the dream.


P.S. I consider anyone who wants to be a writer, deep down, a writer, even if they don't practice the craft. It is as much a state of mind as anything. The dream can be a great driving one, but terribly difficult to act upon. If this describes you, I hope you'll pick up a pen and paper, and see what comes out. Journals (or blogs) are good ways to start.



Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 228th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

16 comments:

  1. The opposite of these would be good tips. #9 - Edgar Allan Poe in my mind.

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    1. I forgot about him. I think many male writers have this problem.

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  2. Grin. I think you've pretty much covered what not to do, but I guess you could be like me and be blogging. Happy TT!

    http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2012/02/celebration-of-love-and-loversthirteen.html

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  3. This is funny in a double negative jeopardy sort of way! Reverse psychology?

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    1. Maybe! Trying to convince myself I'm doing it right, perhaps.

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  4. I had to laugh about the reality show bit. I've been watching quite a few recently in the name of research

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    1. Research? Hmm. I can't imagine what kind of research that entails! Hope you're watching something fun, anyway.

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  5. Haha...you may have been feeling sarcastic, Anita, but these made me laugh. Sorry about your headache. I guess, if you were writing about How to BE A Writer, you could say, "Write even when your head hurts."
    :-)

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    1. True, that! Write even when you don't feel like. I have certainly done that in my time! I'm glad these made you smile!

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  6. This is great. I'm an advertising writer by trade and know how easy it is to find something -- anything -- to distract me from the job at hand when I got nuthin'.

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  7. #8 is so true. It's true about movies and TV as well.


    Have a great Thursday!
    http://harrietandfriends.com/2012/02/74-would-rather-go-bald-than-have-what/

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  8. This makes a wonderful recipe for disaster. ;)

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  9. Actually, if you are a writer but spend a lot of your time blogging, that's also a good way not to finish anything you've started.

    Nice to meet you.

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