Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thoughts on Writing (36 - 40)

36. You're going to get ideas from wherever it is you get ideas. There's no magic well. There's no 'proper source.' They'll come when they come, and you can't force them to show up if you're not ready to have them. The 'what if...' moment is one of the most amazing things there is, and when it happens, you'll be the king of all creation, you'll be so fucking cool that nobody can stop you from conquering the planet...but you can't make it come. Just expose yourself to the world, and wait, and see what happens.

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37. Don't buy into your own hype. There will always be people ready to tell you that you're so awesome you should be elected President on the basis of sheer badass. There will always be people ready to tell you that you're brilliant, that your books are the best things ever written, that they can't imagine why you aren't winning every award in the industry. That's okay. Those are not bad people. They're good for your career, and frankly, they're probably telling the truth; everybody has the one author that can do (almost) no wrong, or the one book that's absolutely perfect as it is. Still, those six, or sixty, or six hundred people? Are just six, or sixty, or six hundred people. If you let yourself believe them, you're going to hurt yourself in ways that I can't even begin to describe.

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38. At the same time, don't sit around telling yourself how horrible you are, and don't let a few bad reviews shatter your sense of self. Look at the negative feedback as critically as you can, and if everyone is saying the same things, try to figure out whether that's something you can fix -- whether it's something you're willing to fix. I'm not going to stop writing horror just because there will always be people who hate horror. At the same time, if multiple horror reviewers are going 'zombies, you're doin' it wrong,' I should probably reassess. Don't buy the bad hype any more unreservedly than you buy the good.

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39. Jealousy is useful; it motivates you to work harder. Jealousy is toxic; the world is not innately fair. Acknowledge your jealousy, take a deep breath, and let it go. You're going to find yourself with a lot more room to work if you can do that, and you're going to be a much happier person.

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40. Talk to other writers about what works for them. Half the things on this list may be pure crap from your perspective; that's okay, because in order to decide that they were crap, you had to think about them. You have put thought into what kind of writer you want to be, and how you want to work. That's fantastic. Listen to everyone, and decide for yourself what you want to take to heart.

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