No, Seriously… I’m A Writer


Well fiends, I think it is long past time for another installment of Rune Morgan Horror’s “The Written Horror.” It seems that, lately, the site has seen several additions to the archives while other sections have only received sparse attention at best. There is a very good reason for this kiddies. That reason is that I am serious about my writing, very serious. So, after too long away from this topic, let’s discuss the importance of being serious about your writing.

Since the very first crazy sonofabitch who tried to make a living from being a writer succeeded, there have been those out there hoping to do exactly the same. I know because I am one such crazy sonofabitch. But if this were an easy task, every crazy sonofabitch to ever pick up a pen would have a title on the shelf of your local Barnes & Noble. Luckily this is not the case. Reaching success as a writer takes a special kind of crazy though.

The world of writing is filled with people on all levels of talent. Some writers will start churning out Shakespearean gold the very first time the write a story or poem. Others will produce something that may have fallen out of Shakespeare’s ass after too much wine while sick with the flu. Most people will produce something between the two. But this takes a back seat to how serious you are about your writing.

If you are the kind of person who says, “I want to be a writer some day,” this article will be of particular interest to you. Why? Because too many people dabble in writing. If you are using this I want or I hope or some over variation of this phrase then, chances are, you are dabbling. Here, you have two different options: 1) stop reading this post, close your word processor, and give up your hopes… or 2) stop saying I want or I hope and start saying I am a writer. Once you go from dabbling in writing to becoming a serious writer, your talent can be looked at, not as some innate thing you are born with but, as a skill you can continuously hone and improve.

What is the difference between dabbling in writing and being a serious writer? I wish I could tell you it were as simple as simply saying the words. That is only the first step. Now, I am not James Patterson or Stephen King, but I can tell you what I have observed and experienced from my own time spent dabbling and then transitioning to serious.

1) Write
Seems obvious, right? Well, what I mean by write is write every day. When Stephen King is interviewed and asked how he reached his level of success, he always includes in the reply that he writes eight hours a day for seven days a week. People who dabble in writing always have something happening in their lives that prevent them from writing every day. They work a day job, they have children, they have friends who want to hang out… the list is endless. Well, I’m telling you to find time between all that. So you may have to cut out watching your favorite show or maybe you’ll have to tell your friends you’ll hang out on your days off from your day job… the time is there.

2) Read
Again, this seems obvious. But when I say read I mean read everything. Genre writers should definitely read their chosen genre religiously. However, you should be reading absolutely everything. Novels, short fiction, poetry, nonfiction, current events, ingredient labels, everything. You may be writing a horror novel that has a romance subplot to it (no, you say… does a character you’re writing about have a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse… that’s what I thought). Having read some romance, you will be able to make that relationship all the more believable. Writing about a deranged killer? Having read some books on criminal psychology may give you some insights on how a character will act or trigger their violence.

3) Write
This one again? No, it’s not deja vu. If you are going to write and try to sell your writing you need to rewrite your work. Turn on your inner sociopath and forget everything you loved about it and get ready to chop it to gory little bits and piece it back together like Frankenstein’s monster. If you are unable to do this on your own (it’s okay, not everyone has this kind of visceral butchery in them), find some friend who is inclined to do it for you. Once it’s done, do it again… and again, until you are satisfied that what you are beholding is the best bits and pieces from the best bodies the cemetery has to offer.

4) Get Feedback
During the rewriting process you should start letting people give you feedback on your work. I’d say start this after the second or third draft. But don’t hand it to anyone who is not going to give you an honest opinion. The whole point is to find out how you can improve the piece and your overall writing. Honest feedback telling you what is working and what isn’t is what will help you, not how special mommy thinks you are.

5) Never Give Up
Oh, you got a rejection letter? Well boo-effin’-hoo. Your first independently published book not selling? Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and then get over it. Harsh, yes… but true. Rejection is a part of this business. Hardly anyone reaches grand success on their first try. But we’re not helping anything by whining about it. Rather than complain, resubmit you rejected piece to another publication, work a rewrite on it, or start your next piece. Success if hard to come by, but impossible to come by if you give up.

6) Not A Job
The worst thing you can do is to consider your writing a job. For the serious writer, writing is not a job, it’s a career. It takes time and determination to move yourself up the ladder and make something of yourself. You are going to be on the bottom rungs for a while unless you know some people. Most of us don’t so we toil and labor to make a name for ourselves. Treat it like a career: act professionally (within what professional means for your chosen brand of writing), network, and build yourself a reputation.



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