Writer Rant: Writing Advice

Writer Rant: Writing Advice

“They're fancy talkers about themselves, writers. If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.” --Lillian Hellman “Know when to tune out, if you listen to too much advice you may wind up making other peoples mistakes.”  --Ann Landers “I always advise people never to give advice.” --P.G. Wodehouse * * * I have a lot of pet peeves. Probably more than a reasonable amount. It's a rare thing when I can watch TV, leave the house, or hop on the Internet without bitching, mocking, making fun of or simply pointing out something that I find annoying or idiotic. (Unless you're reading this blog for the very first time, you already know this.) Often, what I have to do is, I have to stop paying attention to whatever it is that bugs the shit out of me. I must ignore it completely. This isn't always possible. Try ignoring the human race. It's tough. Betcha...
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Stay Away From the Weird Writer Woman

Stay Away From the Weird Writer Woman

If you have a little girl, don't let her grow up to be a writer. You'll only regret it. Here's what could happen: you could end up with a weirdo. A weirdo who sits alone in her room, scribbling in notebooks. A weirdo who you wish would try a little harder to be "normal". But instead, you've got this strange little shit, sitting in her room, organizing these stacks of notebooks as if they actually meant something. When her birthday rolls around, or Christmas, you hope that she'll ask for one of those cute little fluffy whatever-the-hell those things are called because that's what your friend's daughter wants and they're the same age, so... you hope. But, no. Your little freak asks for a typewriter. Never mind that she doesn't even know how to type. Whatever. You'll buy her the damn thing and try not to stare at the awkward, hand-flying, key-banging style that she's developing as she's teaching herself to type. Then you'll...
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Mr. O’Donnell & the Yellow Paper

Mr. O’Donnell & the Yellow Paper

"What is a teacher? I'll tell you: it isn't someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows." -Paulo Coelho "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." -Albert Einstein * I sat perfectly still in my seat at the back of the classroom, listening carefully as our teacher, Mr. O'Donnell, gave us our assignment: write a one-page essay explaining what you would do with only one day left to live. There, at my desk in the far back corner, next to the little sink & the pencil sharpener, in front of the poster of Prince & the Revolution, I tried to contain my giddiness.  Sure, I had written boring essays for school before.  I had written some stories, too... but no one had ever seen any of those. "That's not all," Mr. O'Donnell said from the front of...
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I’m Calling Bullshit on Your “Writer’s Block”

I’m Calling Bullshit on Your “Writer’s Block”

"Writer's block? I've heard of this. This is when a writer cannot write, yes?  Then that person isn't a writer anymore.  I'm sorry, but the job is getting up in the fucking morning and writing for a living."   — Warren Ellis "There's no such thing as writer's block.  That was invented by people in California who couldn't write."  — Terry Pratchett * Here's the thing about writer's block: it's bullshit.  If someone says to me, "I have writer's block," then what I hear is: "I'm not writing". So many people believe that writer's block is real. Some even believe that it's a disease.  A disease. Sorry, you don't have a disease. Cancer is a disease. Scurvy is a disease. Your blank page is not a symptom of a medical condition. You do not have a disease. You have laziness. You have fear or insecurity. Perhaps you're out of ideas. Or, maybe you just can't write. Maybe, deep down, you don't really want to...
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When Editors Attack or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love My Writing

When Editors Attack or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love My Writing

"Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia." -Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction "As a writer, you can't allow yourself the luxury of being discouraged and giving up when you are rejected, either by agents or publishers. You absolutely must plow forward." -Augusten Burroughs . Everything that I'm about to tell you is completely true, except for the parts that aren't, but there aren't any of those, so let's just get to it. Many writers, as you may or may not know, tend to suffer from a puzzling paradox of a fragile ego combined with a righteous arrogance.  We constantly battle fear & self doubt, yet we still manage to believe in ourselves & our words to the very end.  Day to day, depending on the weather, intensity of hangover, or how we feel about other people that day, we may feel rather insecure...
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…& the Stack of Written Pages Grows Higher

"I write for myself and strangers. The strangers, dear Readers, are an afterthought."  - Gertrude Stein "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."  - Cyril Connolly "A man really writes for an audience of about ten persons. Of course if others like it, that is clear gain. But if those ten are satisfied, he is content."  - Alfred North Whitehead ... A little more than 10 years ago, I signed up for the class.  "Freelance Writing" was the name of the course.  I was about 23 years old & was working in a factory.  I registered for the course because of the buzzing in my ear that constantly nagged me, reminding me that I had never set out to work in a noisy, stinking factory. Well...the buzzing could have been from the machinery in the factory, but either way, the message was the same. I signed up for the class, I paid the...
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