Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dance like nobody is watching, because no one’s watching.

There’s a lot of advice out there on the inter-webs about how to go about becoming a successful writer. Much of this is just common sense. (A writer should write.) Umm, okay. Much of this advice is eye-rolling nonsense. One of the things that make my eyes spin uncontrollably is when these “writing teachers” tell would-be writers to always consider their audience before writing a novel.

Here’s the thing. If you aren’t already a successful author you don’t have an audience. No one is watching you. You have the opportunity to cut loose. You can dance (flail around, twerk it, whatever) like no one is watching, because no one is, not yet anyway. Gasp! You can dare to bring something into the world that YOU want to exist. You can create a world from scratch. You don’t have to paint by the numbers and move around tired, olde troupe characters like elves and dwarves or even dragons.

Unless you really want to. Then by all means go for it. They can even team up and go on a quest. Don’t forget to pick up the chosen one. (I hear he’s working on a farm with his mysterious uncle).

The point I’m trying to make person-who-wants-to-be-a-writer is to write what you want to write because at this point no one cares. If this is your first, second, or even third novel it’s probably all practice anyway (I’m aware of counter examples).

So, don’t let anyone tell you what to write or even in what style. No one really knows what people want to read or what’s going to take off and become a mega-hit, but I’m going to guess the next big thing won’t be a cookie cutter novel. Don’t be in a hurry to follow tradition. Throw off the yoke of the past and make your own way, because no one is any less lost than you.