Monday, December 3, 2018

Advice for Aspiring Writers

I haven't written in a couple of months.  I didn't know if I'd ever write again.  (I still don't.)  I was just done.  I was bored of writing about myself on here.  Done assessing the risk that writing on certain topics could have on my personal life.  Done being rejected by every agent and publisher for my novel.  Done fronting the costs both financially and emotionally for self publishing a novel I believe in, but also believe will be a bit challenging and confrontational for some.  Done believing that the risk is worth the reward.  Because I've also come to terms with the fact that I'll never break even writing.  (If you only knew the costs of my first book.)  So, I decided to switch careers and got certified to be a Grief Recovery Specialist.  (Which of course is exactly when I realized that I wrote a whole novel about grief.  Because I'm slow like that.)

This is when I get an e-mail from a local high school inviting me to come in and talk about writing.  I immediately feel like a fraud and an imposter.  Even though I wrote the books by myself and worked my ass off to publish them by myself, creating my own publishing company to do it.  I'm just a self-published author after all.   And the last thing I have to share with anyone is anything inspiring about a having career in writing.  In fact, my best advice would be to do anything else.  The writing market is flooded and journalism as we know it is dead.

Then I started to think of what I would say to high school students (if I didn't have social anxiety and an inferiority complex) if I did go to speak about my experiences after eight years of writing a blog and publishing two books.  And it would go a little something like this...

So, you want to be a successful writer?  Start networking now.  Build your social media empire.  Connect and interact constantly with strangers on the internet.  Establish your brand.  It doesn't really matter what your brand is.  Only that you have one and that you promote it.  You can do that any way that feels authentic to you.  Too much information?  Nah...people love that.  They say they don't, but they really do.  Look around and you'll see that's true.  Everyone loves a good train wreck, so go ahead, what's stopping you?  Don't worry about spending all your time in front of a screen or that you don't have a social life.  No one likes you in real life anyway because you spend all your time promoting your brand and neglecting your friends.  Oh and don't forget to write now and again.  It doesn't matter what you write.  Don't worry about content; it can be total crap.  What's most important is that you're popular.  And popularity is what sells books.

Or maybe you want to be an unsuccessful writer.  No, it's not any less work to be an unsuccessful writing if you do it right.  But first, you'll need to have another source of income because you're not going to make enough money to support yourself, never mind a family.  You'd have a better chance of winning the lottery than supporting yourself soley off your writing.  In fact, you should probably go out and buy a lottery ticket right now.  After you do that, spend your time writing things you believe in.  Have a message.  Be unique and heartfelt.  Don't set out to write the next Twilight because that's already been done.  (Even though all the agents and publishers are looking to sign the next author that copies the formula of Twilight's success.)  Remember, to just be yourself on social media and in real life.  Interact selectively and authentically, so that you can make time to do the things you love that feed your soul and in turn, fuel your writing.  Sure, you might be unsuccessful, but you're much more likely to be happy.  And who knows?  You could win the lottery.

For me, I'll choose being happy every time.  I'm just not sure if there's going to be a next time for me.  Because I still haven't decided if I'm going to keep writing.  But, I do know that I'll always have work in the grief field, because there's more than enough of that to go around.  At least I know how to cope with my grief now.  And I can help you out too if you need it.


Chantel said...

Lmao at the "successful writer" paragraph...well said, my friend, well said indeed! I've thoroughly enjoyed your writing - but am also thrilled you found another journey alongside the written one. xo

Janine said...

THIS Is what I've been dying to write for ages but haven't had the time and didn't think anything would listen and I kinda just gave up and went into another career then come back into writing every now and then and get jaded because it's been 8 YEARS and self-publishing was soul destroying. As is the marketing. Talk about flogging a dead horse. Ugh. Social media. I love reading you but I admit life has taken it's toll and I avent been able to keep up with my fave online people because I've been drowning and starting the new career whilst also wondering do I keep writing.

I love everything you have written here even though it's so cynical because it's exactly how I feel right down to not being popular in person (although I'll admit I tired of meeting people in person in the end cause they wanted to use my brain or to get somewhere like I have... not).

I'm rambling now. Anyhow loved this post. And if I had any money I'd buy your book. But Im broke AF.

Ron said...

Apparently a lot of your readers identify with you. I'm not among those because I'm an extreme extrovert and generally pretty confident. Having said that, I really love your writing. Your Memoir is funny, irreverent and all around entertaining. It saddens me that you have met with a lack of success financially and that you might not write again. Selfishly I feel a personal loss.

On some level I feel like I know you which is hardly reasonable at all. But I find myself rooting for you and your family and I wish the best for you all. I'll continue to keep track of you on Twitter. Good luck with the future!

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