How To Get Nowhere Writing

1. Start novels, never finish them. Write and workshop the first few chapters and then give up, and then start another. Lather, rinse, repeat. The great thing about this is, no one can actually give deep feedback on a fragment. So you’ll shield yourself from deep critiques; you can also disregard a lot of bad things said, figuring, hey, these points will be addressed later on. Only, you know, you never actually do that. 

2. Rewrite the beginning of the novel endlessly. OK, so, you take all the feedback to heart, and now you’re going to make people read your novel correctly. Have the same people look at the draft over and over again. They’ll be able to tell you when you have it right.

2. Submit short fiction to magazines you never ever read. Hey you’re a reader. You have even read a few dozen short stories by a few authors you like in single author collections and in school. So you know more or less what a short story is. So why bother reading the magazines you submit to? They exist to validate your efforts with sales or to galvanize you with rejection slips. They’re not really for reading.

3. Disregard all negative feedback. When people tell you things you don’t want to hear about your writing, figure out what books they like to read that you don’t like, and figure, well, this person has no taste; they liked Twilght or Fifty Shades of Gray or Finnegan’s Wake for God’s sake. you’re not trying to do that.

4. Embrace deeply all negative feedback. The flip side of above. Focus on the most dismissive comments made by work shoppers. Believe mutually contradictory critiques of a story simultaneously.

5. Write as little as possible. A few short stories a year are sufficient to maintain your Writing Identity. So don’t write more than that. 

6. Submitting counts as writing. Have some stories out at places that take a year or two to reply? Well, you’re a writer as long as you have stuff out. Just wait. Those things will sell. Then, you can write some more.

7. Fixate on a tiny number of venues and markets; write in only one genre. Success comes to those that narrow the chances of success to as few avenues as possible, Nobody said, ever.

8. Do not network or communicate in any way with other writers. As we know, most accomplishments occur in pure vacuums. Don’t realistically assess how much work a successful writer you wish to emulate put into their career. Writing will probably get much easier after the thing you have out sells.

9. Immerse yourself in writing peer-group stuff to the point where it eats all your writing time. If a little networking is good, non-stop networking and socializing with a group of writing peers is better. Collect dizzying amounts of mutually contradictory information on every story.

10. Delay, delay, delay. Remember, there’s no rush. Sure, at a 1000 words a week it will take you over a year to write your first novel, but, you know, since first novels so frequently do so well, and sell so quickly, there’s no reason to try to speed that process along.

11. Social media writing counts as writing–you’re building your platform! For this to help you get Nowhere, don’t use metrics on your social media; just assume that lots of people read your stuff. They probably are. After all, you’ve published that one story a few years ago.

12. Never submit your fiction for publication. The great thing about this is, if you never get a professional opinion on your work, you can safely ignore all the peer criticism you’re getting. What do they know? They’re you’re peers. If you submit your work, and get rejected, and the piece is rejected over and over and over again, well… maybe that opinion  your ten workshoppers/beta readers had about the thing was correct. It was confusing. The protagonist was unlikable and erratic. The world made no sense.

So, number 11 has me thinking, time to go and actually write. Good luck to you all.

Posted in Making a Writing Life

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