“Know your why” – Insert Random Famous Author’s Name
You stare at the page, knowing to make money, you’ll have to write something. You begin by working backward. You ask yourself: what do people want to read? What will people want to click? What should my title say? How long should I make my story for SEO purposes?
But you can’t write. You’re stuck because you didn’t start with the right questions. Questions like: when do I enjoy writing the most? What things do I enjoy writing about? What do I get out of writing?
As a writer, this absolutely sucks
You pour your heart and soul onto the page, bleeding between the lines, giving all of your voice and your being and your effort–to get two views. Two fucking measly views!
Meanwhile, you write some 500-word trite piece about the first time you touched a cock, and it gets 50 fans and massive engagement. You sell yourself out to get some validation because validation feels so good. You research other writers to see what brings them attention. You change. You change–goddamit.
Writing began as a process to collect your thoughts, learn, and find peace, but it became a marketing ploy to attract a crowd at the expense of some cheap thrills.
A happy balance? Ha!
There’s a reason so many writers are depressed and suicidal–they’re conflicted. They want to write with passion, and then they are told that their words are meandering. They wrote in the passive voice, they were told. They aren’t using mnemonic devices and dropping references and quotes Shakespear or Jame Clear or Brad Pitt or Neil Gaiman.
But who gives a fuck? What does it matter if you go insane? Or worse yet, if you quit writing?
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break the rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” – Neil Gaiman.
Publication – HA! This is art!
“I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”
― Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Even today, publications would scorn Dickson’s “self-indulgent, confusing, and weird.” They would deny her access to the elite and flunk her out of college. And yes, a student tried that, giving a poem to her poetry teacher, who gave it an F. Well, f-you, poetry teacher. This is art.
How do you overcome this perverse, twisted fate?
Write your heart; write your truth. You are alone in a room, talking to yourself. The broodings of the pages you’ve read are coming back to haunt you. Your past lives, your past regressions are all there inside, waiting to come out. To explode. Use your imagination. Write, write, and write.
But what if nobody reads what I write? Nobody reads what you write anyhow. But if they did, they would see that you are talking to their soul. There is something nonsensical, yet magical, in the words that pour from your heart to theirs.
But I came here for useful advice
Fine, I am, after all the harlot peddling my wares. Come squeeze my tits as I fill you with my milk. Or do you prefer to lick from my listicle? Oh, I have those in spades. A quick Google search or two, copy and paste, and then a rewrite and–boom–instant pornographic gratification, greatly amiss and greatly missing from the true lovemaking of a writer and a reader bonding as one.
Fresh from Brian Tracy, who I hear love to swallow frogs, are “7 Tips to Stay Motivated When Writing a Book”
- Write every day
- Don’t edit as you write
- Get rid of distractions
- Take a break
- Use examples from others
- Talk it out
- Try creative writing prompts
You like listicles, don’t you? Are you saying size matters? How about “10 Tips for Daily Writing” by Writers Digest?
- Make a date with yourself
- Right brain, right time
- A clean, well-lit place
- Tell your family or friends
- Same time, same place
- Switch off all electronic communication
- Write naked
- Set a daily quota or word count
- Praise! Alleluia!
- Allow yourself to write badly
But the key, oh naked writer, is will you allow yourself to publish your writing that is so badly written?
We came for the boss fight of all boss fights
The grand poobah of listicles: “30 little ways to motivate yourself to write, RIGHT NOW” featured in the Writing Cooperative:
- Imagine yourself writing
- Remind yourself the reason why you’re writing
- Commit to a daily goal
- Let yourself write horribly
- Find a quiet, clean, well-lit place to write
- Switch up your environment to kickstart your creativity
- Look at your old comments
- Slash your to-do list in 1/2
- As a good friend to critique your topic
- Take breaks
- Listen to music that fits your writing
- Hang out with successful or self-driven people
Dear God! This list goes on and on and on and on. Are you getting any use out of this? Has anyone read this whole list? Will anyone remember it? Will anyone apply it?
Other things on the list: get comfortable, drink coffee, write to teach, write what is on your mind, read a story, reward yourself, read quotes, buy smiley stickers, write a note for the next day.
No wonder you’re exhausted
And I haven’t even exhausted my list of listicles:
- How to Get Motivated to Write: 18 Tips that Work
- How to Start Writing a Book: 7 Fast Steps to Progress TODAY
- How to Get Motivated to Write: 18 Tips That Work
- 9 Ways to Boost Your Writing Motivation [That Actually Work]
Don’t write for money or fame
Remember the reason you wrote in the first place. Oh, it was for money? Well, that’s just stupid. Yes, you will get a clap or two, maybe some dollars here and there, but…how about an analogy?
Have you ever tried to make a campfire? No? Have you watched Survivor? At the end, sometimes there is a build-a-fire challenge. If you go on a show to compete for a million dollars, know how to build a fire. If you put the kindling on with no sticks or wood above it, it will wither away into nothingness. Poof! Nothing. Bright flames, but nothing lasting.
Writing is like building a fire. Your first articles may get some money or shares or likes or comments, but they are all bright flames. Poof! You will be left with nothing unless the structure is above it:
- The love to write for writing’s sake
- The love to create
- The love to express and explore
What about the books? What about the rules?
All great. Read them, study them. But even the authors broke those rules (yes, I’m talking to you Stephen King the king of killing/not killing adverbs).
Read daily. God yes. Write daily. God yes. What more can you ask for from that. You can go and you can promote and prostitute yourself, but it will take its toll. I don’t know the equivalent of meth for writers, but I’m sure something will disease you and break you down.
Read for the fun of it. Write for the fun of it. Be for the fun of it. May you never stop.
It ain’t for nobody, kid; it’s for motherfucking you.