Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some More On Writing

This piece got recommended to me via a few places. I'm going to be honest. Like the "you're not special" speech bouncing around the Internet (that I haven't listened to), I don't understand why this is news to people. Doing almost anything well is hard, and most anything worth doing is hard. Likewise, most skills are hard to monetize (especially hard ones you are not good at!)

I have not published any fiction. I've had a few nerd things published in a niche, minor website, At the time, it was solely out of boredom, and, my God, was that really 2004? I write articles for my job, and I write here and my page of fiction fiction a day. I have done non-fiction editing (but not writing) from before I had a regular job. So, I'm not exactly an inexperienced writer, but I'm also certainly not writing for Forbes. For proof? I wrote unexperienced before red squiggly told me I was wrong.

But, here's something that I want to toss out there. The Forbes article is good advice if your goal is to make a living as a writer. Because, like any technical skill, which writing is, those things are true. So, if your goal is to keep a roof and food on the table, I would advise you to find a primary means of making a living that you can do. That does not, however, mean you should stop writing.

Just because you are bad at something doesn't mean that you should not do it. Heck, just because you are bad at something also doesn't mean you can't make a good living off of it! Doesn't Bill Maher still get paid for comedy? One of the biggest hurdles I've always faced when writing a story, an article, an essay or what have you, is that actually putting words on a page is hard. This is something that has been sitting in my scrap heap of ideas for awhile now.

If words are not appearing on a page, you are not writing. You may be pre-writing, or plotting, or any number of things associated with writing. Flip back through the archives and you will see I am a huge fan of pre-writing. This is because the Forbes article is right: Writing is hard, and I am not good at it. I need time to pick and choose words and phrases and make them as good as I can, which is still average at best. So, don't piddle, twiddle and resolve: Write.

But, here's a dirty secret for writers everywhere: Empty pages cannot be edited. Empty pages do not get better. If your initial draft is 200 pages, and 100 of it is crap, you still have a good sized draft once you fix it. If your initial draft is zero pages, you are screwed. Being accurate is good, but you cannot fact check an empty page.

If you write poorly? At least you wrote something. Think of writing like reading; I forget who it was who said it when asked what should a person read: "Whatever she can get her hands on." Something is better than nothing. You'll make mistakes. You will write crap. Out of the 60 some actual content heavy posts here, maybe a handful are good enough to, after some editing and hard work, usable as anything else than light extemporania. You'll never get anywhere whining that something is hard; you have to do it anyway. So, go do it if you want to.



Yes. I did manage to fit in two 1776 references. You're welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Are you commenting? Thank you! Please be nice; I'm lazy and would hate to actually have to moderate things.