Cheesy marketing banner aside…
For a while I have been talking to Dr. Meg about starting to collect names and email addresses so we can notify folks of cool things we’re doing, free and discounted books, writing tips, reviews, etc. We even thought we’d use the list to promote some of your books (if you write.)
Starting today you can sign up to receive email updates. It’s simple, it’s free and it’s only mildly annoying.
You can join the list by clicking here (or not, I’m not the boss of you.)
What will you receive:
- A courier will come to your door and present you with $100,000.00*
- You will get my thoughts about the pieces I write. Why I wrote them, what inspired me.
- Free and discounted book promotions.
- A trained, dancing monkey.*
- The opportunity to promote your own book – free.
- Since I own a publishing business I will give tips on how to self-publish and market your own work.
- Original fiction and non-fiction I don’t post to the blog.
- Advance copies of stories for your feedback and input.
- Anything else I think you might find interesting.
All that for the low-low-price of FREE. You can’t beat it.
Click here and join the list. It’s only mildly painful.
(*These offers are only available in Sri Lanka. Please allow 28 years for delivery.)
You should write some real crap today. Something stinky. Something embarrassing for you. Something you will blush when you realize someone actually read it.
I am writing some now.
Yesterday I pulled out about 200 articles I’ve written in the non-fiction space to revise, edit and publish again. Most were written in the early 2000s. I had to open a window to let out the stench.
I don’t know I am a better writer now – most of these were written in the heat of deadlines. Typically five a week, written in haste on a Friday to meet a 5pm. I might be no better now, though I am better at seeing the crap.
And they were read by thousands of people, every week.
Better yet, they paid me well.
But they still stink like a disused barn.
Occasionally I would get an email “don’t you know how to write?” Well, not really. When I tell people I make my living writing they usually say, “wow, you must be a great writer.” I always reply the same: I am a mediocre writer, I just write enough people are willing to pay me for it.
In writing crap you build a foundation. Waiting until your writing is perfect means you will likely never finish or you will withhold your best ideas until you have the perfect expression, the perfect grammar, the perfect words. And no one will ever hear them or care.
In writing crap you get noticed. Develop a following. In truth the key to getting paid to write is not in being the best or even having good ideas – Solomon said there was nothing new under the sun – it is developing a following. And writing for an audience is always more motivating.
Writing crap hones your craft. I published some terrible poetry on this blog today. Truly bad. But it’s mine and it’s better than my first attempt. I am still a mediocre writer – your blog posts daily remind me of that truth – but I am probably just slightly better than I was 15 years ago.
Writing crap also thickens your skin. When enough people read your crap, some will respond. Some will hate it, and tell you so. Some will tell you – wanting to be “helpful” – how it could be so much better with this word or that. A few might even say they love it. The bad reviews always sting more than the loving words of praise. And they are often more genuine.
But here’s the funny thing: A bad review, a critical remark never killed anyone. Sticks, stones make you able to pursue writing with more confidence, not less, once you realize you didn’t die.
So I write crap and you should too.
In the comments below, feel free to post either your best crap writing or your worst. I’d love to see it.
Holding my nose, Kevin.
I write commentary and critique easily. My mental butt groove for writing non-fiction is well worn and comfortable.
Advertisements and sales copy come harder and with less joy, but I can write them without ending up sore from the effort.
But fiction is hard.
I have written precisely one line and it sucks. Truly. It reminds me of the scene from “Secret Window” (yes, I know it was a Stephen King first, but I haven’t read it.) Jack Sparrow is sitting at his laptop looking at a paragraph he has just written. (Yes, I know he isn’t Jack Sparrow in THIS movie, but you know who I mean, that guy from 21 Jump Street. I wish you would stop correcting me and let me tell you this story. Sheesh!)
He is talking to his dog about the quality of the writing he has just, well, written. “You know what we do with bad writing?” he then highlights and deletes the paragraph. “No more bad writing.”
I think about that often when I try to write fiction. No more bad writing. Being ruthless. Thinking through it enough to make it good without over thinking it to death.
I also realized I write better for an audience. I don’t write for myself. I sometimes (often) write to make money, but when I write here–whether it is fiction or non–I write so you will love me. That’s at the bottom of it all. And I believe you will love me if I write something that makes you happy–or a good kind of unhappy.
This is different than my professional writing. Today I need to write a television commercial. It’s for a product you will never buy or even hear about, but it still needs a commercial. Then I have an advertorial to write. About real estate. I feel like Ricky Roma pitching “Racho Something-or-Other.”
But I am beginning to want to want to write fiction. I don’t want to write it yet–I still get too discouraged when I see the quality of the other fiction being written at WordPress–but I want to want to write it. You make me want to be a better man writer.
Enough rambling. My crappy writing awaits. I must now go and delete my opening line and come up with a better one.