Fri 31 Mar 2006
A few posts ago I bestowed some of my writing advice upon you without your specifically asking for it (except Mike, he asked for it). Therefore, I have compiled a list of advice that other people give me about my own writing. My genre of choice is poetry, and the stark incontrovertible reality of the poetry world is that almost no one in it reaches a wide audience and absolutely no one makes any money off of it. The best you can hope for is an occasional pat on the back and, eventually, with the gradual accumulation of publication credits and prizes, an office with a window at a liberal arts school.
All of this is preamble to say that there are well-meaning people out there who wish me more success than I wish for myself. They persevere in trying out different ideas on me to get me to turn from the Path of Doom. They also try to help me identify what I might be doing wrong. Or they enjoy a letter I’ve written or a story I’ve told and hope for more of the same. My general reaction to such tips is to feel grateful for the motive behind them and then giggle while I compile them into a list. I might get tired of poetry some day, but that day is far off. Without further ado, the list:
- Write children’s books now, while you still remember what it’s like to be a child.
- Write policy journalism, such as for the Atlantic Monthly.
- Write a screenplay and option it for some quick money.
- Write humor like Erma Bombeck.
- Rejection slips are a sign that it is time to change direction.
- You should be a travel writer.
- All the best writing comes easily.
- You have the science of writing down, now work on the art.
- Poetry may be a high art form but no one reads it.
- You should use your gifts for the Kingdom of God.
- I’ll say one thing– you’re honest.
- Narrow your focus.
- Try to pick subjects that are accessible to a wide audience.
- Market yourself.