On my advice hunt, I’ve come across some pretty harsh advice and criticism about writers, writing, and what it takes to be a writer.
None of which I would label as bad or good, just direct.
I came across a guy tweeting (follow AFW @AdviseWriters) about those who call themselves “aspiring writers”, and how ridiculuous it is to make such a statement. I had never considered this thought, so I wanted to know what other people thought about the subject.
This is what I found.
“25 Things I Want To Say To So-Called ‘Aspiring’ Writers” – By Chuck Wendig
This guy is blunt, and I like it. However, he’s also very serious about the craft. His passion shows through in a unique way (he mentions finding your own style in #7 “FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WRITE, THEN DO THAT”- he’s obviously speaking from experience).
He starts off like this:
“1. No More Aspiring, Dingbats
Here are the two states in which you may exist: person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing. It’s as ludicrous as saying, ‘I aspire to pick up that piece of paper that fell on the floor.’ Either pick it up or don’t. I don’t want to hear about how your diaper’s full. Take it off or stop talking about it.”
I just got slapped in the face with truth.
See what I mean by blunt? He’s also serious at times (though most of it is bitterly coated in humor). In #17 “MEET THE UNIVERSE IN THE MIDDLE”, he talks about understanding that you have to work and write to be a good writer. Wendig says, “…there exist components of any career (but writing in particular) that are well beyond your grasp. You cannot control everything. Some of it is just left to fate. But, you still have to put in the work.”
I certainly took a punch (#23) from Wendig’s “dubious nuggets of wisdom”.
Thanks for the advice, Chuck.
Another blog post I came across was titled “On Being An ‘Aspiring Writer’” – By J.C. Hutchins
This post is more centered on why you shouldn’t call yourself an aspiring writer.
Hutchins has a similar witty tone with statements like “In my more literal view, the phrase [aspiring writer] means, ‘I am not writing, but am talking and dreaming about writing.’ Which might as well be, ‘I am masturbating.'”
Hutchins states, “If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Own that fact. Be proud of it. Your pen is moving (or your fingers are typing), and that’s a thousand times cooler and more committed than the douchebags who endlessly drone on about the books, poems, plays and movies they’ll never write.”
“You’re either writing, or you aren’t.”, said Hutchins, “But if you’re writing, don’t dare label yourself as an ‘aspiring writer.’ To do so undervalues what you’re doing to you and others…”
Hutchins makes a point, and argues validly.
I especially like the last point of the post, “You don’t need permission to write … and you mustn’t make money to call yourself a writer. Writers write. That’s it. Those who don’t, merely aspire.”
Thanks for your unconventional inspiration for a writer to take pride in the fact that he/she writes, J.C..
In my personal life, I’ve surrounded myself with people who are all very affirming and supportive of my life and choices. It seems like I can do no wrong (boooring). So, when I read advice like this it’s a reality check, and a bit of a refreshing slap in the face.
I enjoy it.
It’s challenging and motivating.
I hope you enjoyed being beat down with truth as much as I did.