The Absolute-Complete-Guide To Becoming The Next Great American Author (spoken boldly in a powerful informercial voice!!!)


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 1.If you are going to be a writer, have something to fucking say. Character development is nice, detail to scene description is beneficial, smart dialogue is helpful, appropriate punctation and grammar a plus, but having a story worth telling is the most important element of storytelling—Start and end your project with that in mind!

2. Not only have something to say, but devise a way to say it that is insightful, interesting and compelling.  Forget about beginning, middle and end.  Every line must be an integral piece of what contributes to the greater whole. If you’re all in, if you’re writing from a place of authenticity—then every page, every paragraph, every sentence and each word needs to be painfully distilled down to its purest means of expression.  Once written, it should sound as if it has always existed, like mosquitos, the moon and a thousand sad truths —

3.Write about what you know, and know about what you write.  All good writing is personal, confessional and honest.  Be authentic, be original, allow yourself to be shamelessly naked—-you must develop and know the sound of your own voice—-Go to those forbidden places that make you feel uncomfortable and exposed, it is there you will find the keys to the kingdom—this is where your true voice lives.

4. The most important person in your audience will aways be you.  If your writing becomes tawdry, trite or boring, then write it again, and again and again—-fill the God Damn Grand-Canyon with wadded up pieces of shitty writing—- never fall so deeply in love with your own writing that you can’t tell the piss from top shelf scotch (I have found that piss is saltier tasting).

5. Don’t leave anything left in the pen, say it all, say it with stark unabashed honestly, don’t hold back—write till your soul bleeds ink.

6. Don’t start with a story outline, format or a preconceived structured layout.  Don’t tell the story, let the story tell itself (Zen, baby!)—filling up note pads with secret random notes is a valuable practice—you never know where or when a good thought may bubble to the surface from the depths of your collective sub-consciousness—to know that you don’t know, is to know that you know—-Do you know???

7. Study many different styles of writing but copy none.  The world does not need another Hemingway, Daniel Steele, Fitzgerald or Steven King. Never forget this—learning to be a good writer is like learning to eat soup with chopsticks—-it’s a fatiguing exercise intended to teach patience.  A good writer stays hungry.

8. Find inspirational music to listen to while writing.  Music requires no words to reach or affect you.  Regardless of what you’re meaning to say, strive to replace your imbecilic words with music— if your prose fail to sing—-then do not commit them to a final draft.

9. Good writing doesn’t come to you, it comes through you—let go of your “self”, reject your ego, stop thinking about thinking, stop thinking about writing, and say what needs to be said.  Write down the words as you hear them, clean up the details at a later time.  Stay open, stay awake, keep your senses at a fevered pitch, listen to all the disembodied voices blathering in your crazy head, but remember that the quiet ones speak the greatest truths—Be still—if nothing happens, then go do your laundry or something productive—Sometimes you have to pull up your line and rebait the hook.

10. A good writer will leave the reader changed or altered after digesting the content of the story.  Once the reader sets the book down, they must feel something—-anything—– pissed, flabbergasted, happy, offended, a-gasped, longing, laughing, bamboozled, crying, embarrassed, tickled, horny, hurt, revealed, inspired, filthy, guilty, cocksure, shamed, holy, dumbfounded, excited, exposed, gritty, mortified, rambunctious—but most importantly, the reader should be unexplainably transported to a righteous place where they are allowed to catch a glimpse into their own soulfulness—–and believe me, that ain’t easy to do!

            Secret Bonus Tip

Tenacity is the secret to your success.  Tenacity will take you further than natural ability, motivation, good connections, good intentions, skill, education, talent, genetics or dumb luck.  Never, never, never, never—-ever give up on the hope of reaching your dreams—-Tenacity gives hope wings!!!

Scoring Your Writing Prowess

Points will be deducted from your “wanna be a writer score” If—–

you wear a beatnik beret, you blather on in esoteric multisyllabic non-sensible rants, sip soy lattes, cosmopolitans or smoke a pipe, chain smoke or have a Marijuana Medical Card, sport a goatee or soul patch, you speak in metaphors no one understands, you’re a vegan, you attend or teach Haiku workshops, you always have a bottled water and smart phone within reach, you have a degree in English, Journalism or Communications,  your favorite Beatle is Paul, you play golf, you have a cat named Zen.

Points will be added to your “wanna be a writer score” if—–

you’ve hoboed on a train, you have a receipt for chili beans, beef stew or anything containing spam, you either have no cell phone and if you do, it’s a pay as you go with a cracked face plate and numbers that stick, beer is at the top of your food group pyramid, your car stereo is worth more than you car, you dig jazz (add five points if you can play jazz), your favorite Beatle is John, you know how to shoot pool, you have a dog named Lucky.

The Phases Of Writing (An exercise in self destruction)

1. Fame makes great writers drunks and madmen

2. Fame makes good writers self conscious and reclusive

3. Fame makes okay (commercial) writers rich and predicable

4. Anonymity makes horrible writers drunks and madmen.

Be advised, being a drunk and a madman does not make you a great

writer—but sadly, it often comes with the territory, see rule #1 and #4.—

If you don’t find any of this shit helpful, then go live your life and write about what you hear, see and feel, then have a taco—-

Helpful Hints :

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.”  Jessamyn West

“Try to make the funny stuff sound sad and the sad stuff sound funny—” V Uriz


Feel free to substitute your word of choice in place of the word “funny”—depending on your mood—