*pulls up a podium*
*puts on unnecessary glasses (+1 Intelligence)*
Writing is hard.
Well, of course it is.
If it were easy, it wouldn’t be a commodity. It would be like cooking a frozen pizza. A helpful skill for those who are hungry, but not particularly impressive, per se.
And writing isn’t really hard. You clickety-clack on your keyboard and within a few moments, voila.
Ok, so maybe writing isn’t really like cooking. It’s more like sculpting.
But sculpting isn’t hard either. Shit, I’ve been sculpting brontosaurussesses (brontosauri?) since first grade. And just ask Bernini, it only takes 3 Things.
Whatever. Pizza or Play-doh, writing isn’t hard. Writing well is hard. More importantly, writing weller than all the other people that are also writing, or at least insomuch as you write well enough to stand out from the pack of all the other 500 people in your Twitter feed bemoaning how hard writing is. Plus the 5,000,000 people also writing that you don’t know about, and most of them are weller than you, because for you, writing well is hard.
Coda. Song is over, thought I’d something more to say…
Nope. Just quit. Why do this difficult, hard thing anyway? You’re wasting your time. Just close your manuscript and never open it again. Actually, delete the damn thing. Delete the entire folder. DEL! Done and gone and no more hard and you’ll feel all better.
And you can stop reading this, too. You’re done now. This was meant to be for writers, but now that I think about it, blogging is writing, so clearly blogging well is hard, and y’know what, fuck it– oh and reading hard things is hard, so fuck that too. Stop writing. Stop reading.
Go on. Go make a pizza or some nice hot cocoa and watch Labyrinth.
*adjusts tie unnecessarily (+1 Charisma)*
You’re still here? Still reading? Even after I’ve been so mean to you?
Of course you are.
You’re a writer. You don’t give up that easily.
Ok. Now that we’ve cleared the crisis, let’s move on, shall we?
*new note card*
Writing well is hard
What about those people who are just really, really, annoyingly, omg good at it? Guess what? Nobody is so talented as not to need to work hard. Find one author, just one, who published their first draft and changed the world with nary a typo. In the history of writing, it has never happened. Ever. Nor will it. And you’re no different, even if you are the next Bard. So stop expecting perfection and bitching about revisions. Revisions are writing, revisions are hard. Perfection is just a silly goal.
Some people get lucky, or just have great timing. Luck isn’t enough. You have no control over it anyway, might as well shout at the rising sun to hurry up. If you get lucky enough to meet that perfect agent/editor/publisher on a bright, sunny day, it’ll likely be the day you’re recovering from dental surgery and half your face is novocained to oblivion. G’head, give your elevator shpiel sans consonants.
Overcoming bad luck is simple; take more chances. Create opportunity. When you run out of doors, climb through windows. The oldest battle tactic in the book: victory by attrition. Not easy, note. But simple.
And really, what does it matter, whether you have no luck or middling talent? You have control over neither. Shout at the sun that winter is too cold for all the good it’ll do. Or your parents for not making you taller. You got what you got, and if it’s not enough, proceed to coda.
Otherwise, focus only on that which you can control.
It’s all about the hard work, baby.
Hard work triumphs hard luck.
Hard work beats talent.
(Unless talent works hard. Then hard workers work harder.)
The solution, always: hard work.
And I know how hard it is, I’m just like you. Growling at a sentence, wrestling the damn thing for an hour just to craft that perfect piece of prose. Writing blogs and stalking Twitter, hoping that agents don’t think I’m a brown-noser or sycophant or witless hack or creepy stalker. (And since I’m here and you’re an agent checking out my cute butt: if I reply or retweet you it’s because I genuinely dig what you said. Brown-nosing doesn’t generate a good story nor sales, I get it. And yes, I do work out…)
You’re still here. Waiting for that one thing? Or 3 Things Because Bernini? Maybe in check list form?
8 Things Every Bestseller Must Have
4 Tips to Writing a Master Plot
7 Query Killers
4 Steps to a Killer Query
12 Things Agents Wished You Knew
6 Magic Bullets for the Perfect Manuscript
A completed checklist does not a story make. There is no Magic Bullet. More accurately, if you’re writing a debut general fiction novel, there are 90-100,000 Magic Bullets.
You can moan if it numbs the pain, or rant if solidarity and Likes feed your inertia. We 499 other Tweeps can relate.
Writing well is hard. And if it isn’t, don’t expect the results to be good. If you want Bernini’s Prosepina, you’re gonna sweat and stress and scrape your knuckles and bleed. And if you aren’t willing to do that, all you can expect is a frozen pizza. Or a pudgy, nebulous, quadruped vaguely resembling a dinosaur.
There is no list.
There is no trick.
There is no luck.
There are no guarantees.
There Is Only 1 Way To Write a Book
Get back to work.
*cue uplifting brass and drums*
*puts on cape*
*orchestra kicks in*
*flies off stage and through the damn roof*
*sound of screeching brakes*
*fade to black*