Been wracking my brain for a blog post idea. Gotta keep current. I don’t know if this stuff actually helps my career or not, but I seem to get a reasonable amount of good feedback. So let’s keep to it.
I’ve decided to be inspirational today because I love it when I hear that something I’ve written has given an aspiring writer hope. If I can do that, then I figure that this isn’t a waste of time because, as I’ve pointed out before, I was an aspiring writer not so long ago.
What’s my inspirational message today?
You can be a professional writer.
I say this without hesitation, without even knowing anything about you. I say this not even knowing if you want to be a professional writer. I say this assuming that many of you reading this are, in point of fact, very, very bad writers. Most importantly, I say that because it’s true.
Anybody can be a professional writer. It’s one of the great things about the job. It’s why so many people want to do it. Think about it. How many aspiring football players do you meet? Plumbers? Astronauts? Hairstylists? Go go dancers? That’s because these jobs take talent. You have to be able to catch a ball to be a pro football player. You have to not throw up in your spacesuit to be an astronaut. Cutting hair may not be rocket science, but I’ll admit that I can’t figure it out. Although in my defense, I haven’t actually tried.
Still, the thing about writing, even in comparison to so many other jobs in this world (including other artistic-type professions) is that talent is probably the least important part of the job. There. I said it. And I don’t deny it.
Time for an aside. I’m not implying that there aren’t many talented and wonderful writers out there. Plenty of them. And I’m not suggesting that bad writers get rewarded more consistently than good writers. I’m just saying that writing is a pretty simple job. All you really need to do is understand how a sentence works, and you’ve accomplished 90 percent of the job. The other 10 percent can be a killer. I’ll admit this. But it isn’t really necessary to be a talented writer to be a professional writer.
I know this because I read a lot of really, really bad books. Popular books by popular writers. No, I’m not going to name names so don’t bother asking. I also read a lot of good books. And there is, as far as I’m concerned, little correlation between success and talent in any way, good or bad.
Of course, there are untalented folks in all fields of human endeavor. I’m sure you can find a lazy astronaut, an unattractive soap opera star, a clumsy ballerina if you look hard enough. But these are the exceptions, not the rule.
Writing fiction is probably the most subjective art form there is. It may be the most abstract job there is. (Okay, there’s ghost hunting, which involves pretending to see spirits in absurdly trivial events, but I’d rather not open that door again.) For every fan who likes my books, there are probably dozens who don’t. Maybe they don’t like the swearing in some of them. Maybe they think my books are too short. Maybe they prefer books about pirates. There are a million reasons to like or dislike anything I (or anyone else) writes.
So my inspirational words to all aspiring writers who might be reading this is that anybody can become a professional novelologist. They might not make a fortune. They might not set the publishing world on fire. But, with hard work, determination, and a whole hell of a lot of luck, any aspiring writer (who knows how a sentence work) can one day sell their novel.
So keep writing. Keep submitting. Do endeavor to improve your writing. It might help. It can’t hurt. But always remember that you can do it.
Of course, none of this pep talk actually applies to me. As we all know, I am a tremendously talented, charismatic individual destined for greatness. My success was dictated by The Mighty Robot King himself (with a little backup from The Jade Panda Emperor thrown in for good measure). But every rule has its exception.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,