While the text is flying fast and furious on Comics for Film, Games, and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld (a mouthful, I know — hence why I just call it ComicStoryworld) and other writing projects (like Whiz!Bam!Pow! and assorted writing gigs), and I’m getting accustomed to new (awesome) changes in my life, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned over the years as a writer. In no particular order…
There’s nothing worse than disingenuous writing. Writing, as Anne Lamott says, is all about truth. The world is full of wanna-be hacks who emulate their favorites and aim to be the “next (insert name of famous (or esoteric) author here).” Screw that. Be the first you.
Ass to Chair.
A cliché, but true. The only way to write is not to dream or talk about writing on Twitter or social media. It’s to write. And the more you write – without pretense of getting better, but just to write – the better you’ll become. And shit will get done.
You want to be a writer? Short circuit that need for short-term rewards that has been ingrained in you since childhood. There’s no cookie for writing a word or a gold star for finishing a piece of crap. You’ll be lucky to get anything out of it. You have to do it because you want to do it. The act of doing is its own reward.
Don’t Read or Watch Something Because It’s “Important.”
I wasted countless hours watching and listening to crap that I couldn’t care less about because I thought I should see or watch it or read it because it was a classic. If it doesn’t instill some form of passion, don’t waste your time. You’re not in high school. The only person who can make you watch something is you. Just watch it because you want to. No other reason needed.
Ignore Those That Shit on Your Parade.
There are those in the world that will shit on anything you do or any dream you have. The only reason they shit so much is because they suffer from a diarrhea cocktail of jealousy, bitterness, and their own lack of initiative to do anything. Ignore them and let them shit someplace else.
You Can’t Please Everyone.
So stop fucking trying. No one knows what they want until they have it in their hands. The point of being creative is to give the world something new, not something everyone wants. It’s our job to give people what they don’t know they want.
Ship When It’s Ready, Not Because Seth Godin’s Purple Box Poking Cow Says To Ship.
Great, just what we need. A whole lot of crap all over the place because of an urge to get something done and find something to blab about on Twitter as proselytized by another “guru.” Sure, go ahead and fail, and fail a lot. You might fail regardless if you ship before it’s ready or if you ship when your masterpiece is complete. Trust yourself as a creative, trust your abilities, and trust your instinct to know when something’s ready to rock and when you think people want something to be ready to rock. The world is filled with shipped crap. Make your stuff good.
But… Know When It’s Time to Ship.
There’s a difference between shipping when you cave to the pressure of others, or when you ship to ship and not shipping something out of fear. If you’re making something, you have to get it to an audience. Again, trust yourself to know the difference.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others.
They’re not you. Move on.
Follow Your Bliss.
This is the big one. Life is about following your bliss (as Joseph Campbell said). And when you do that, where once there were walls there will be open doors. Never let anyone tell you differently.
OK, enough motivation. I’m off to put my ass in a chair.