RANT: TOUGH LOVE FOR WRITING
So here it is: a new rant. You want to be an author. All your life you’ve dreamed of writing that perfect book and putting it out there. You want millions of adoring fans, and a nice beach house somewhere warm and where they serve lots of drinks with those little umbrellas in them. (Join the club.) You’ve bought notebooks. You’ve stocked up on coffee (because all writers love coffee). You’ve told all your friends that THIS is the weekend that you are going to start writing that novel you’ve always wanted to write. You might have even bought a nice little hat, or a pipe to set on your desk because that seems mysterious and a nice writing prompt.
So you’re a writer now, right?
Are you writing? Probably not. A lot of times I feel people get trapped in these cliches. They feel they have to fit a specific criteria to be deemed a writer. If you’re not deep and mysterious, then obviously you’re not a true writer. If you don’t sit around a cafe with your laptop open and various writing books strewn all over to show people that you’re a writer, then you’re obviously doing something wrong, right?
Here it is folks. It’s very simple to be a writer. All you have to do is write.
What? No, really?
Write. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a special pen, or force yourself to write the first draft entirely on an old typewriter. It also doesn’t matter if you prefer water over coffee. There are no rules other than you need to write. I see so many people asking so many questions of authors that are pretty silly. It’s as if they think there’s a rulebook out there that they’re missing and all writers have tucked away somewhere in their desk. So here are some questions (and variations on those questions) that I would love to answer, in rant style of course.
I’m writing a book that I want to be original. Should I not read anything until I’m done writing it? Bad news for you buddy, there’s not a lot of originality left in the world. If you think there’s a possibility that you’re going to plagiarize something you’re reading, maybe you should hang up your pen.
What’s the best time of day to write? Um, any time that the computer is working? Find what time works for you and go for it. I write during the day but a lot of other people write at night.
I want to write a book from several different first person POVs. Can I do that? I don’t know, can you? O.o If you’re afraid of breaking rules, then you’re in the wrong profession. If you feel like the story needs telling through several first person POVs then do it. This is creativity. This is your creativity, don’t let others stop that with rules.
How many times should I rewrite my book? My writing group keeps finding issues with it. Okay, stop right there. Writing groups are great for support and bouncing ideas off one another, they are even great for beta reading advice. I think they are bad when it comes to rewrites. Why? Because every author has their own style, and it’s easy for us to give advice. If you feel the book is done, then it’s done. Beta readers are great, but you need to know when to listen to their advice, and when to toss it out.
Is it might or mite? Which word should I use? Not to sound harsh, but pick up a damn dictionary. They are words. You don’t need people to tell you how to use them. There was something created ages ago that is essential for all authors. A DICTIONARY. They are even free online. Trust me, it takes more time for you to ask that question on social media than it does to go to a website and look it up.
My character is having an issue with (insert problem) how should they handle it? Again, not to be harsh, but if you don’t know your character, how is a complete stranger going to know them?
How many books should be in my series? How many do you think should be in your series? How would I know that answer? How much material do you have?
Alright, I know this probably makes me sound like a complete jerk, but I kind of am. At some point legitimate questions go out the window, and you’re just wasting time. There’s one rule to be a writer: you have to write. If you’re writing, then you’re a writer.