You’re Doing it All Wrong

There are so many ways to be an unsuccessful writer these days. Of course, there are compensations, because there plenty of ways to be a successful writer. But, let’s face it, you’re probably doing it all wrong. And so am I.

We need to write faster, for one thing. Much faster. So we should be grateful that one writer graciously offered up her method on a popular forum. It’s very simple, really. Just write 23,000 words a day — every day. Arguments about quality neither relevant nor wanted. Just pick up those fingers and get the words out there.

Then there’s genre. If you’ve been writing chick lit, you’re worse than passe. The latest “in” thing is farm lit. As far as I can tell from the description, farm lit is actually chick lit moved to the country, but who cares? A good set of cliches will always be capable of new variations.

Which should remind us that your choice of genre is what’s most important. Just pick the one that’s most popular at the moment. The only caution here is to jump on the bandwagon when it’s on the upswing. Keep an eye on the bestseller lists and big-guns reviewers and you won’t go wrong.

You can always find controversies about writing, arguments that  shake the literary world from time to time, but have no apparent lasting effect on the real world. To be perfectly honest, they usually have no effect at all on the real world. The latest is apparently whether it’s okay for women to write likeable female characters. The consensus used to be that it’s a betrayal of “our” gender for a woman to write unlikable female characters. Frankly, I’m not sure I even understand the problem, but for a look at both sides of another teapot tempest, try I Like Likable Characters, a Slate article.

One final bit of advice. If you’re a female writer, you’re probably doing it all wrong, no matter what you do. Unless you can show proof of a big, fat bank account. Money excuses everything, even being female.


4 thoughts on “You’re Doing it All Wrong

  1. Thank you. After intensive work on my Fear Journal over the last few days, I realize that, no matter WHAT I do, I will be wrong.

    That’s actually quite freeing. I have work to do – paralysis by physical and mental disabilities is bad enough, but paralysis by fear just has to be blown up to absurd size (until it explodes), and the pieces buried.

    Fear is a zombie. It always comes back.

    So you have to actively keep killing it.

    Book 2 is a doozy. It is even harder to write than Book 1. Tough. Writing is what I do when I can, and I need to do all my little helps – naps, no carbs, sleep, getting the heck away from the computer at night – and keep doing them until I finish. Then we tackle Book 3.

    Unlike you, I can only do one at a time, so I have no choice: it’s forward or stuck, but I’m not going backward. Nope. No way.

    1. Sorry to be slow getting back here.

      There are times when I have to stick to one project, and right now is one of them. I have to be feeling pretty good to flit back and forth. When I’m in a physically down period, it’s all I can do to handle one project. I’m glad to have several projects I can alternate, but it’s probably for the best, when something forces me to focus my energy. So I’m not always as far away from you as you think.

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