Early on, as I learned about the many amazing ways people do not make a living with their writing, I discovered that writing about making a living with writing seems to pay. Maybe. I’m not willing to buy the books to find out.
I certainly wasn’t interested in churning out a lot of material that hinted that the next greatest hint about making big profits with your writing was coming right up after this GIF.
Generally, the stuff I’ve read about writing written by writers is only as good as the writers. Who am I to judge? Do you see an MFA around here anywhere? No? Good. If you did I would have stolen it from someone down the hall. Even if I had the MFA, I wouldn’t be comfortable judging writers any longer. I just like what I like. I read who I read.
Learning about craft is a great idea, don’t get me wrong. My impeccable grammar has been, at times, peccable after all. Anybody can get better at whatever they are doing, unless it’s time to do something entirely different.
While I worked on my first novel, I was sponging up great books, listening to podcast about typical struggles and flinging caution to the wind nearly every day. I studied and revised and I learned how to listen to other people talk shit about my work.
That may be the real value of an MFA. I don’t really know. Yet.
Anyway. Whenever I think about The Perfect Novel, I remember reading John Irving, who was writing about writing, describing a character who had worked on her novel for ten years. She nibbled away at it, revising and perfecting and creating chapters and paragraphs that could bring any reader to tears. She never finished her book. She could not commit.
I didn’t want to be that novelist, and that’s why I set a deadline. No one was holding me to it. It was just for me, from me. Circumstances got incredibly difficult. I had wildly unexpected complications. My workload doubled, so my writeload doubled to stay on schedule.
In the end, there are still a few people who would like to talk shit about my work, but there have been many, many more people who have been incredibly kind and encouraging. It’s a first novel, after all, and not perfect. Given a decade, it might have been perfect, but I might have been dead.
So, my little writers, my one piece of advice: write now.
Bonus!! Much better writing about writing and other things: https://link.medium.com/fZPNyaIOI1
Feel free to add a question below in the comments!!