Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Of Aspiring Authors and Good Advice

I'm an advice whore, I admit it. I like to collect advice, let it sink in, write it down in a fancy journal and ferret it away for later inspiration when things look dark and bleak. I especially like writing advice, because if ever there was a career path that throws people into the abyss and asks they make their own way out again, this is it. What works for one person doesn't work for another. What works for one book may not work for another, even when penned by the same author. Writing is a creative process and while it can (and should, by those hoping to make it a career) become a professional enterprise, it can't be managed in the same way a shipping company, or a widget factory, or a fast food restaurant is. Just doesn't work that way. There are no SOPs, no industry standard for "do A then B and then C and the Times Bestseller List is yours, mwahahaha!" Some practices work for some people some of the time. That's the closest to a definitive statement of success we writers have. That and "KEEP WRITING" of course.

So, in trying to figure out my own writer's journey (not to be confused with the hero's journey...the writer's journey has far more empty calories and coffee stained mugs littering its footpaths), I do turn to the advice of others who've gone this way before. A lot of the advice out there is pretty sentiment that's pretty much meaningless, but every now and then I stumble across something that really resonates with me. In fact, the latter happened just this morning.

While tooling around on Chuck Wendig's blog, I came across his post "25 Things I Want to Say to So-Called "Aspiring Writers." I adore Chuck, I adore his blog, and I love his no-nonsense take on just about everything writing related. What really stuck out to me, from this list of 25, was number 6 - Yes, It Always Feels This Way.

"You will always have days when you feel like an amateur. When it feels like everybody else is better than you. You will have this nagging suspicion that someone will eventually find you out, call you on your bullshit, realize you’re the literary equivalent of a vagrant painting on the side of a wall with a piece of calcified poop. You will have days when the blank page is like being lost in a blizzard. You will sometimes hate what you wrote today, or yesterday, or ten years ago. Bad days are part of the package. You just have to shut them out, swaddle your head in tinfoil, and keep writing anyway."

Now that is some great advice.

Check out the rest of Chuck Wendig's "25 Things I Want to Say to So-Called "Aspiring Writers" here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Of Hijinks Ensue and the Adele Awards

I'm a long time follower of geek webcomic Hijinks Ensue and Joel Watson. A post from early last week, following the Grammy's (or, as we call it in my house, the Adele Awards), was especially funny...and pretty much perfectly articulates my thoughts on popular music:

"[Joel] tuned in [to the Grammy's] right as front Foo Dave Grohl was making an impassioned acceptance speech about how important it is to learn to play a real instrument and really sing into a microphone and not worry about over producing and striving for phony perfection and… he was played off stage by LMFAO. That pretty much distills exactly how I feel about the current state of popular music."

True story. Joel also continued with a few observations about Chris Brown and the sick, sad state of popular entertainment when a known woman-batterer is not only not punished for his actions, but instead given one of music's highest awards. Because, you know, his is the type of example we should be furthering. Sure. Yeah.

To check out Joel's Grammy rundown, go here. And if you aren't already following Hijinks Ensue, I suggest you start.