a jolly jumble of things: pretty whimsy and gothic landscapes. K-Pop and YA books. Menswear. Superheroes. You'll just have to see for yourself.
As Tchaikovsky put it, “A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.” Or, per Isabel Allende, “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”
More on the role of showing up in creative work here.
Also see Godin on vulnerability and how to dance with the fear of failure.
I’m occasionally baffled when young writers ask me for advice, and I give it, and then I see comments that say that none of my advice applies because I’m a best-selling author. As if I had spent my whole life as a best-selling author, and had never been anything else…
4kidztv said: I am an aspiring author who's been published in some small-scale stuff. I think it's about time I moved my way up into larger publications, but I have an issue: The forced politeness between authors, especially on the Internet. They refuse to criticize one another, even when it could help them! I'm building myself up to hopefully one day be a part of that community, but I take issue with this. Kurt Vonnegut, my hero, said good authors were rude. Is etiquette > integrity in your community?
I’m not sure I understand the question. I’ve never felt forced into politeness. Are you thinking of my post last night, when I wouldn’t name the book I didn’t care for? Because I do that out of a knowledge that taste in books is subjective. I fall in love with novels very rarely, making my lack of enthusiastic recommendation quite meaningless.
This is the part of your question I’m struggling with, though: how could criticizing another author help me?
Integrity is integrity, at least in my community, which is the community-of-authors-who-write-books-with-magic-in-them-whenever-not-in-an-over-powered-vehicle-or-frolicking-with-their-herds-of-miniature-silky-fainting-goats-or-playing-the-Irish-pipes.
It’s a pretty rarified community. Mileage may vary in other authorial communities.
Authors don’t (often) publicly criticize each other because we’ve all seen what happens when authors do criticize each other. It just becomes this Thing that lands everyone in Dramaville, population: gross. While entertaining to the public and click-bait for The Guardian, I’m not sure that helps anyone improve their craft.
Criticism isn’t the same as critique. And authors do critique each other, usually just not publicly. We critique prior to publication, in small trusted groups, late at night, surrounded by snacks and red pens and post-its (Or…you know, Word’s Review tools, on account of the digital age). You may not see it in public, but it is happening. And unlike criticism, critique is actually helpful.
I keep getting asked if you need a degree to be a writer. No, you need an EDUCATION, and a degree is just one example of that.
(And you must keep self-educating. This does not mean always going back for a new degree, though some go down that path…)
While I get the point behind this re novelists, and totally agree, I actually take a issue with the idea that poets can become good by only writing when inspired. The best poets I’ve talked to (and I’ve met quite a few awesome poets, including a couple U.S. Poet Laureates, through my day job) write pretty much the same way novelists do: working even when inspiration feels far off, revising and revising and revising, putting down words even when they don’t feel inspired, because at least then you’ll have something to work with.
*minor nitpick of the morning*
Yeah, but “fairly decent” differs from “professional literary figure”, too.
I often am just that type of poet, because writing other stuff takes up my time. I’d like to be more dedicated, and when I do disciplined poem-a-day stuff it works wonders, but I think my usual level is exactly what he’s talking about…
Not to argue, just to say I totally feel what he’s trying to say there. And I wish to escape it XD
i don’t understand why people don’t instantly respond to “what would your dream superpower be” with the ability to manipulate probability.
think about it. what’s the chance someone will drop 1mil in front of me? 0%? let’s make that 100%. what’s the probability i’ll wake up tomorrow and be X gender? 100%. what’s the probability my bathtub is filled with mac and cheese? 100%.
as a casino employee I can confirm this would be terrifying as fuck
I wrote a character with this ability once and it was SO MUCH FUN.
(His coworkers still hadn’t learned not to bet against him, even though he warned them it was a bad idea…)
I’m trying to remember the story I’ve read that had that element, but anyway, yes.
There are certain “lucky” people already who know how to game probabilities, they’d be terrifying with this sort of power.