Deborah Jackson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Kill your Writing Career

1. Write like someone else. Be inspired by Hemingway or Dickens and adopt their style. You’ll produce some amazing work and everyone will hate it in this day and age. In fact, the better you write, the more people will hate it, anyway. Guaranteed.

2. Listen to the critics. They’re critics for a reason. If they could actually sit down and write a book, do you think they’d be writing lousy reviews? Often their reviews are related to their last meal: if it was burritos and beer . . .

3. Change your novel every time somebody tells you to, especially editors and agents. If you pass your first chapter to enough “experts” at conferences, eventually you’ll find they contradict each other. These experts are guided by their own preferences—some of which has to do with good writing, the remainder related to genre, style, and the last episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

4. Write to the latest trend. If you have a fabulous idea for a vampire, no wait, fairy, no, just a minute, angel . . . Just don’t!

5. Don’t experiment. Keep to the code. The Writer’s Code, not the Pirate’s Code, ’cause if you kept to the Pirate’s Code, you’d realize that it’s simply guidelines. So if you’ve written a “different” book and your critique group or editor tells you to adhere to formula, what do you do? You listen, because you don’t want to grow or challenge yourself or your readers. You just want to be an average writer anyway. Not an artist.

6. Ignore social media, because you heard of a study that said it makes absolutely no difference to a writer’s career. Bah! Hide in a hole because people are only interested in your books and don’t want to get to know the real you. It’s not like you spill the most intimate parts of yourself into those books every day, right?

7. Stop reading or taking workshops. I know, I know. You’ve read everything, you can’t possibly learn anything new, you should be teaching. Well, then, teach, because you can learn from teaching, and when you stop learning and trying to improve, the work shrivels up before you do.

8. Never write about something you’re not an authority on. God forbid you take on a challenge.

9. Don’t pay attention to your readers or fans. Only Lady GaGa does that, and she’s crazy (like a fox). Never follow anyone back on Twitter, because you’re amazing and everything you have to say is golden and everything everyone else says is dull and superfluous: Followers 20,000 Following 3

10. Reject those speaking engagements, because public speaking is hard. After all, you’re an introvert, your talent dwells within your mind but can never flow past your lips. Let’s face it, you have the speaking ability of Frankenstein. You can only speak decently when there’s something you’re passionate about, and that can’t be writing, can it?

11. Never follow the latest news in the industry, reject change because it doesn’t exist. The publishing industry will stay the same forever and you don’t have to adapt. You don’t care how cute those Angry Birds are, you will not buy an iPad, or any other snazzy gadget from the future (doddering old fool).

12. Never write a blog because you hate writing short informative pieces or silly lists.

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