Listen up, writers. Here's a side of Jenny that Penslayer girl you may or may not know.
I have an extremely short temper.
That's right. I have a short temper and no patience. My friends Mirriam and Katie, they are much more long-suffering, but they are not fools. They know. I know. We mean business.
- It's when people talk about writing but never do it.
- It's when people read far below their intelligence.
- It's when people never read outside a single genre.
- It's when people have a million stories going at one time.
- It's when people keep getting distracted by new ideas.
- It's when people participate in too many tags, blog parties, etc.
- It's when progress is consistently NONEXISTENT.
Yeah. We see it. Here in the one-block neighbourhood of blogging writers, we see the tags, the blog parties, the year-after-year languish of your stories, we see your Goodreads lists, we see the innumerable times you use the term "plot bunnies" to excuse your lack of commitment and perseverance, we see when you use the embarrassing terms "writerly" and "bookish." We see it and it pains us.
Take writing seriously.
You can love it. You can be ecstatic about it. You can be giddy and gleeful and full of passion. I WANT YOU TO BE THOSE THINGS. But I absolutely, fundamentally demand, if you are going to be a writer, to TAKE. WRITING. SERIOUSLY. Throw all that romantic trash of sitting on rainy days in a coffee shop, people-watching, the erroneous belief that the world will never understand you - throw it all out the window. Those are the hallmarks of a poseur. You know what a writer does?
In a way, it's both a good thing and a bad thing that it is so easy for anyone to sit down at a computer and vomit ideas into a document. It's a good thing because people (like myself) start there and hone and build and improve. It's a bad thing because anyone can do it and think that somehow that makes them a writer, and that makes them mysterious and romantic and entitled. No, it does not. All it means is that you are a human with an imagination. The rest is work. I can tell when people are posing, and I assure you, I have no time for it. If you're going to do this, if you're going to be a writer, don't waste our time. Write.
Well, gee, Jenny. This is not a very happy post, is it.
No, not really. But that's because, while I fully appreciate authors opening up and being kind and encouraging (because, wow, that means so much to us as we aspire to greatness!), I also believe that you need to see the iron beneath the velvet gloves sometimes, just to be reminded that the iron is there. Stop posing. Stop dillydallying. Take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask, "Do I really care that much about writing? Is it the thing that drives me?"
If the answer is yes, then DO IT. Buckle up and buckle down. Love it. Let it empower you. Be passionate about it. But respect it. Respect those of us who know better than to dabble. Writing is a demanding art - just like all the others - so come to it with the respect it deserves!
You've got this.