So much can get in the way, but for every successful writer I have witnessed one constant: A trail of countless words. Be a critic, be an editor, find your specialty, but don’t stop for a moment. Get a few words in a day, or every other day, once a week.
How often, why and for what do not matter. Contributing to that BAFTA award winning script? Hunting down an Oscar? A Pulitzer? An Emmy? There’s but one word for it: Polish. Most of what we write just doesn’t hold water, but somewhere amongst the mess is a selection of text someone will want to sell to the world.
All that preamble; I quit Twitter and deactivated my account on Scribophile because there aren’t enough hours in the day to prop every would-be up while I’m honing my own skills. I encourage sincere writers to stay away from the latter, and I’ll explain why in a moment.
Twitter is annoying, worse, a distraction. Between offers for followers and promoters promising exposure, tens of minutes subtract from the hours I need to complete my stories. It is a better use of my time to receive rejection notices from publishers. Funny huh? Not really.
Many of you serious writers have likely learned this already: That no one is going to lay out a path for you, you have to earn your own credits, fall on your own face, scrape up your knees and carry bandages. Pull those little stones out of the cuts by yourself. Yes, there are guideposts with noble knights along the way, so when have such an encounter, talk nicely and say ‘thank you’ when you move on.
Symbolically significant is that WordPress’ Notification center has not worked properly for me in two or three years. I don’t count on it, and neither should you. If anything I am grateful for the occasional individual who finds interest in my creativity. To you all I am always grateful.
A sense of your own activity is valuable, and some services offer that, but when we’re feeding the system of noise by discussing those goings on we’re greasing the wheels of marketing and lining someone else pocket. Don’t you want to be the one earning that profit? Shards yes!
Scribophile people are lovely people, and I’ve not a single negative thing to say about them. They managed to point out all of the editorial mistakes I’ve learned to catch with my own hard-won process, and inject enough of their own style that the work ceased to be mine. Don’t let other writers do that: Accept technical, but never let someone else decide how you should express yourself. Writing by popular vote gives us works like 50 Shades of Grey.
By the way, I haven’t read it and I don’t give two shakes of a rats tail about the thing. It is the latest example of exploitative fiction on the market for every kid who thinks they invented sex and the rest of them who are hoping BDSM erotica will go mainstream. I’ll tell you right now there are far better stories about sex-oriented relationships than the one I just mentioned, and yes, I have read a few.
You might say, sure, that’s fine, because look – that’s a movie deal. That’s your call, and looking around, no one’s going to stop you from writing badly. You just have to live with the long empty days gone by when you can’t maintain those distractions. When your body can’t keep up with the demands and those men have moved on looking for something younger. It’s not fair, but we get what we ask for.
It wears down the fabric of society, breaks down the reasons why we care. Fewer smiles on the street, less help for those who need it. Little things, you know, like manners. So important we should haul the word on a flag above our national colors because they keep us thinking of others with civility and kindness. Sure it’s forced sometimes, but the alternative is war. Outright death.
So for you lot who have a hope for society, who have just a little glimmer of truth and good in you, who don’t mind some real, honest writing about tough topics (not this GamerGate nonsense, Sarkeesian, get off your little cloud you twit – would you catch a bullet for a woman being shot at? Ask yourself that), welcome aboard. The Grimm brothers knew what it took to catch the imagination of children, because that’s when we learn what is right.
I’ll be me for the right reasons. Who’ll you be?
P.S. If you got the hint I’m forging my own path and taking on a few new scars out in the wild, good for you. It’s encouraging to me to think you’re awake enough to notice.