How to be a writer? I’ve written before about how ridiculous it is to aspire to be a ‘writer’ – it really makes no sense, either professionally or as a hobby. You might think reading is fun, sure, especially cool stuff like comic books or pro-wrestling gossip websites, but trying to actually become a good writer would be like saying you want to practice having insomnia because you like being awake. It’s just torture and no normal person should put themselves through it!
Luckily, it seems that there are tons of terrible writers out there, many of which seem to make a good living from their writing and give us all something to read in our spare time. And just to be clear, these are great people whom I envy but they’re more like the dudes working the Genius Bar at an Apple Store than a Steve Jobs. At least they know their place, whereas guys like me keep on thinking they’re going to write something so profound one day that it will shake the creative pillars of society until it all comes tumbling down.
But this can never be accomplished if you’re a loser. And a loser is someone who sits around calling themselves a writer but does nothing because actually writing something would mean that it’s going to most likely suck and therefore prove that they are not a writer.
What I like to do with this blog is give unprecedented access to my personal failures, so today I’m going to expose the specific factors that make me such a loser writer.
# 1 – Don’t write enough words
It makes no sense to actually like the act of writing. If you hate writing then you’ll be a much better writer because that means you won’t just write down any crap and think it’s good.
Now what just happened is that I spent the last 10 minutes starring at the above two sentences. I absolutely hate them. I figure at least I could have written what I meant there in one sentence because it’s not really saying very clearly what I was thinking. What I would do in normal circumstances is probably spend another 20-30 minutes trying to re-write completely inconsequential sentences like that, for a lame-ass blog like this, and then 3 or 4 days later I’m still going to end up with an article that I think is shit anyways. And somehow I just wrote more words here explaining why I don’t write enough words than the actual sentences that were supposed to explain that.
# 2 – Get confused by the rules
Part of the reason it may take me so damn long to write one sentence is because of all the stupid rules! Everything from the basics of spelling and punctuation, to sentence structure and grammar, let alone the organisation of paragraphs, essays, chapters.
For example, the word ‘that’. I get utterly confused about when and how I should be using that word in a sentence, like there, was that right? Or that?
And how about that first sentence from #1 that I hated so much, “It makes no sense to like the act of writing.” Can you start a sentence like that with ‘It’? It just feels wrong. And there, I did that again. Oh, and now ‘that’ too!
# 3. Take too many breaks
I cannot treat writing, or anything really, in any kind of professional manner. I need at least a 50:50 work-to-break ratio on all things. This inner pull for taking a break kicks in no matter what kind of a roll I’m on.
For example, if I write for 30 minutes and I’m thinking that I’ve got something going, which alone defies all logic, but let’s just say for a brief moment I actually think I’m doing okay, well, then something in me just forces myself to stop and play some Angry Birds, watch a wrestling match, or at least have a coffee.
This can also happen on a bigger level if I have a particularly strong run of writing like I had last summer. I spent a good 2 months on a very regimented writing streak; however, for the 2 months that followed I’ve done absolutely nothing, thus completely levelling off and maintaining my 50:50 break-taking ratio.
And now literally I spent about the last 6 minutes writing the above section and then randomly just went and watched these two youtube videos:
4. Be too opinionated
I have no idea how to be unbiased. In fact, I find it very difficult to NOT write every opinion as if it is either the BEST or WORST thing EVER!
There is no middle ground apparently, something either totally sucks shit to me or is so fucking unbelievably awesome.
This means that (there it is again) I can’t let anything go because it’s either too terrible or just too damn good. If I think it’s really bad then I obsess over fixing it, and if I think it’s too good then I get upset about everything else around it not being as good.
The burn is that I can’t figure out if this article needs to be published now or tossed out, which makes no sense because its (or is it it’s) something I’ve now read and re-read about a dozen times, correcting or revising nothing, and that’s good time that could have been spent at least writing something new if only I could have let it go, so therefore #1 is now conflicting with #4 making me want to do a #3… and this is how you write like a loser!
Well, you know what – as the voice of my generation has recently taught us all – I think it’s time to shake it off!
So starting this week, I’m going to attempt to correct each of these problems with a series of surgical writerly tasks. So, if you’re like me you can join in, or just tune in and see if I can learn how to NOT write like a loser!