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ProAm Tips #10

February 3, 2016

Outrunning the dragon.


The reason I keep writing in relative obscurity is because I can’t possibly stop. It’s anathema to my very being, my own self-image, that I NOT write. I knew the odds when I started, just as every young writer knows, and I believed I was different, just as every young writer does. In between panicking and thinking your work is shit, you are shit, and you have all the skill of a punch-drunk money hammering on a typewriter with the corpse of a dead chicken, like every young writer I knew I would be a star.

There’s some imagery for you. Trust me; I’m a writer.

The fact of the matter is, you aren’t shit. Trust me. You may not be great, sure, but you’re not shit. If you’re pushing words, you’re a writer. If you finish something, you’re a writer. If you write, you’re a writer. It’s simple. And there’s no such thing as a shit writer.

There’s shit STORYTELLERS, sure, but that’s not the same thing. Maybe your execution failed. Maybe your grammar isn’t up to snuff. Maybe punctuation is your kryptonite. I don’t know. I do know this: if you’ve ever written an entire thing, start to finish, you’re a good writer.  If you do it enough, maybe you can get to be a better storyteller. Maybe you’ll hone your craft. Learn how to show, not tell. Learn where to put that fucking semicolon. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be a better storyteller through grinding out the words.

The only way to be a bad writer is to not write.

If you write, you’re a writer. If you finish something, you’re a writer. If you tell a great story, you’re a great storyteller. Get it right. Don’t bash on yourself for the wrong reason. It is vital that you KNOW your weakness, not deflect. And once you write, you gotta get it out there. For years, I dreamed of being a published author.In these dreams, I was recognized for my skill. Not great, but Good Enough. My dreams were realistic, because I know I’m never gonna be Hemingway. I don’t even own a shotgun, and I hate Florida. Naah. I dreamed about being a worker bee, pushing out books that some people liked enough to buy, and support myself in the style to which I aspired- to never have to have a real job.

It’s a dream.

The one unrealistic problem I dodged for years was… I never let anyone SEE my work. Kinda hard to get discovered when you’re not out there for p