Some words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call it before the next batch of guests – if any! 😉 Have a great Sunday! 😀
So my advice to you is ignore what society tells you that you must do, ignore what friends tell you that you should do. Do what you want. So when you get to my age, you might be having as much fun as I am.
Ain’t easy, but it is worth it.
But here is my point: you need to set goals that are realistic for you under the circumstances that you find yourself in. If writing a page a day is all that you can manage with a busy schedule, it will still get a novel draft done in a year. Setting goals that are difficult or impossible to reach will just stress you out, making it more difficult to write, and they’ll take a toll on the finished product.
Writing fifty pages of unusable prose in a day is no better than writing nothing at all.
You have to surrender to your mediocrity, and just write. Because it’s hard, really hard, to write even a crappy book. But it’s better to write a book that kind of sucks rather than no book at all, as you wait around to magically become Faulkner.
No one is going to write your book for you, and you can’t write anybody’s book but your own.
I’m not really a sports person, but there’s that saying, ‘Keep your eye on the ball.’ I would imagine it’s easier to hit something if you’re looking at it, right? Well, in writing you have to keep your eye on the ball too, but some people mistake what the ball is. The ball is not the New York Times Bestseller List; the ball is not even publication. Your writing is the ball. Focus on writing your very best – your writing, and nothing else. Because no matter how brilliant your work is, there will always be some people who are going to hate it and tell you it sucks, so focus on making your work important to you, and at least to some people, and that’s perfectly good enough.
You go up the mountain of your idol, but when you get to the top, you realize they’re already there, and that mountain is never going to belong to you. So, you go do your own thing and it’s more of a shit-pile than a mountain at first, but it’s yours. It’s your shit pile. And that’s not nothing.
You can’t run from who you are. Not your brain, not your inclinations, or your experience. So accept your shit – run toward it, use it.
And so, my fellow aspiring-literary-superstars, if Cheryl Strayed’s advice boils down to “surrender to your own mediocrity” and Saunders’ advice is “go with your natural mode,” then my advice will be this: if you write, be brave enough to call yourself a writer, out loud and not just in some dark corner of your brain. It reaffirms what you’re here to do, what you love, what you’re working for, and what you should be doing instead of watching all those cat videos on YouTube (I just had to force myself to deactivate my Wi-Fi in order to finish this conclusion, I feel your collective pain). Because if Genius George Saunders says I’m a writer, then you sure the fuck are too, and I want us all to achieve greatness together.