- financial stability
It may be an appealing idea: renting a sleazy attic, survive on stale bread and nothing but apples, with the idea of freeing up all your time to write a towering master-piece. But it’s crap.
Get a job, make sure you don’t need to worry about money or food or the heating bill and then write. One hour of writing AFTER your working day is often much more productive than a day you intended to consist of writing and writing only.
- social stability
Get a faithful spouse you can count on. Raise a family. Having children changes your perspective on everything. It may even teach you writing ISN’T the most important thing in life at all. Knowing the true (small) value of writing, will greatly enhance your writing
- ditch writing courses and books
You can’t learn how to write a great novel. Write a story you want to tell, even if nobody is listening. Ask yourself that question: if was the last person on earth with a potential reading audience of zero, would I still be writing this story? If the answer is yes, then write it. Don’t go on a writer’s course. There are good writing courses, but the chance of finding one is so small, and the damage done in a bad writing course -not to mention the time that’s lost- is so big, it’s just not worth the risk. And you are enrolling in courses to get to know new people, then I certainly wouldn’t enroll in a writing course. I’d recommend volunteering in a mental institution.
- Read (but not the ‘how to write a novel’ kind of books)
Reading by itself doesn’t teach you to be a better writer. What it does do, is letting you discover what your favorite kind of stories are. You kind write something new and better, unless you start from your own personal reading taste. If you don’t like reading thrillers, don’t try to write a thriller. This may sound like the most obvious thing in the world, but there are many wanna-be writers who for some reason are trying to add a book to a genre they don’t like themselves.
- What kind of writer are you?
When we think about a writer, we think about writing books. Getting a book out there with your name on it seems to be the universally accepted ‘degree’ of a writer. But what if you should be writing plays, movie scripts, soap scripts or maybe commercials or brochures. There are many kinds of writing, so if writing a novel isn’t working out, don’t throw in the towel and try a different writing field.
- Why are you writing?
If you think it’s a good way to get laid: it’s not. It can get you laid, sure, but it’s not a better way to get laid than the display of any other ambition or passion. That’s what the girls are attracted to: not that you want to be a writer, but that you want something. Maybe writing will get you laid with certain types of girls, but not necessarily.
Money. This is an easy one: wake up! If money is the only reason, or the biggest reason, you are putting so much energy into writing, go and be a banker, a lawyer, a broker. Any kind of undertaking where input of energy most assuredly results in big money output. Writing is not one of those undertakings. In fact, it’s probably the profession where you get the lowest return on your invested energy.
Attention. If you want to score attention with writing, it’s an odd way to get it. A passive-agressive approach to attention-seeking at best. It’s a solitary profession, if you want to do it right. So even if you are good enough as a writer to get attention, chances are you are not going to get that much of it. In order to deserve attention you need to cut youtself off from attention for long periods of time and insulate yourself from lots of pleasureable distractions.
If you want attention, try stand-up comedy, playing in a band, go into politics, public-speaking, become a clown, an actor, stuntman, sportsman, teacher (where people get into trouble if they DON’T give you attention). Or get any kind of job (in a field that involves lots of dealing with people) and do it better than the next guy. Attention is sure to follow.
To escape stress. This is only possible if you can make a living with your writing. Seeing as you’ll face a lot of deadlines in order to make any money at all with writing, chances are you won’t be escaping stress.
To change the world for the better. Well, we all can dream can’t we?
The only good motivation to write, and the best one to attract readers, is to write because you want to, because you need it as much as a drowning man needs air and for no other reason. The paradox is that writers who write without intentionally writing in such a way as to attract readers, get more readers, than the writers who concoct to please and attract readers.
Try – I mean really try- not to write a single (fictional) sentence for a month. If you are unsuccesful in this attempt, chance are you are a writer.
Five even more unconventional tips to become a better writer
-dress in black
-get big rimmed black glasses, knock out a few teeth to give you an edge, get a nonchalant haircut
-run or pick up ny other endurance sport
-write every day; don’t wait around for inspiration, linking inspiration to the creative process is to cloud writing in a mythical haze, it’s crap, sit down and punch the keys, inspiration DOES work like an on and off switch. Lack of inspiration equals laziness or the inability to sit still and punch keys.
-don’t talk to people about what you’re writing, don’t even tell people you are writing. Their acknowledgements, their attention and encouragements will only strengthen your abililty to procastinate. If you shut up about it, the only way to get this kind of attention is to present something that is finished.