Are you a writer? Do you have the same energy that you did when you caught the writing “bug?” When children crossed the street to avoid the windmill of your elbow-patched arms and screams of Beat poetry? When you stayed up for three whole days on trucker pills and Mountain Dew to finish your Battlestar Galactica steampunk fan-fic? For me that was last week.
If you want to write longer, with more intensity, and most importantly––with more volume––you need to follow my three rules. There’s no cream or purple pill. What? Don’t bring up distribution chains and Paypal, mate. The only chain I know is in the backyard and it keeps the dog from eating the neighbors. It’s a constant struggle.
Rules for Writing Harder
That’s right. Your writing is so bad the editor of the family newsletter would spit on it, throw it in the rubbish, and burn the house down. And she gave birth to you, friend. You grab any pen and the ink comes out purple. The only success you might achieve is if you ask out that girl at the Office Depot Copy Center, the brunette in the tight pants. I say “might” because you’ll probably screw up the date by wearing an ironic hipster t-shirt and telling Lola about your work-in-progress novel where vampires from the future travel back to the Old West. You’ll end up covered in flop sweat and she’ll reject your friend request. Did I say Lola? We’ve been out twice. Because I’m published. So give up.
You made it this far. Congratulations. If you have hands, pat yourself on the back. Did you see all those fakers that left after Rule One? They gave up before the game’s even started. You’ve spent years grinding out adverbs and adjectives––your verbs are so sharp they’d cut the white from a politician’s teeth. You slap characters around with the kind of mind-numbing metaphors that would make Chuck Palahniuk leap off his coffee-stained toilet and through a plate-glass window.
But it’s not enough, is it? You’re still not published. The family has stopped paying attention to your quarterly ebook series about Victorian spider babies. Your sales are only a dribble in the spittoon of Hugh Howey’s numbers. You’ll never be able to leave the collection business (toll booth). You don’t even know why you’re writing about Victorian spider babies anymore. Why would anyone do that? How can you even tell it’s a baby? Take up knitting and sell scarves down at the market. It’s time to take that Chromebook back to the library and give up.
There’s only a few of us left now. The others didn’t want it, didn’t seethe with enough rage at the grinding literary machine like you, didn’t burn with the insane fire to imprison themselves fourteen hours a day like you, editing and re-editing, writing and re-writing, just to please people you will never meet.
You heard me. I know you’ve had success. You’ve moved on from genre fiction to literary novels about your childhood spent beneath a Mercury Grand Marquis on the banks of the Ohio, your only friend a stick named Pickle. But it’s not what you thought it would be. You married that Office Depot brunette and had four lovely children. Well, lovely when they’re in public. You’ve spent so much time on your writing that your wife doesn’t understand you and your kids don’t laugh at your jokes. They always seem to have fun together, but strangely, not when you’re at home. But it’s not too late to fix this. Stop writing. What did it ever get you but heartache? You can have your family back now. Just give up.
4. The End
It’s just me and you kid. Well, I say kid, but you could probably be my dad (or mum, not judging). That’s right––I planned it this way. The rest of them gave up just like I said they would. Now it’s just you and me and a telephone, waiting for the agents to ring us, waiting for the offers to roll in. Hum de dum. Did you see the match last night? The thing about Arsenal is––no, that’s not a revolver. It’s one of those joke telephones shaped like a revolver. Did you hear that? It’s the revolver phone. Go ahead and hold it up to your ear. Pull the trigger just like that.