Monday, March 5, 2012

How To Be A Writer: Part 1

I bet you've been asking yourself, whenever you read my blog, "How is Meg so cool? What makes her so cool? Is it that she's... a writer?" Yes. The answer is yes. That is why I'm so cool, and also how you can be so cool too. It's not easy being a writer, though. It takes hard work and dedication. But fear not, world! For I am here to set things right. I am here to tell you how to be a writer. Are you ready for the ride of your life? Then buckle up and all aboard, kiddos, 'cause the Awesome Train is leaving the station. The Awesome Train. Let's begin in this, the first installment of: HOW TO BE A WRITER. By Meg Smitherman.

1. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Remember when I said being a writer was cool? It is. It is. And the reason it's cool is because miserable, self-hating, bitter, wan, depressed, and constantly-weeping people are cool. You may object to this claim, but pause for a moment and think. It's so true. Who do we worship as "so cool" that doesn't meet all of these requirements? Edgar Allen Poe. Dude was the most miserable, wan bastard in the world, and look how cool he is with his huge forehead! "Nevermore," guys! Who doesn't love that? No one. And what about Patrick Wolf when he made Wind in the Wires and especially The Bachelor? Guys, listen to any of the songs from these albums and feel the misery flow through you. It hurts so good. Who doesn't want to be that melancholy dude at the edge of the room with a cigarette in his mouth, his hair awry, eyes rimmed red and watering slightly due to weeping and lack of sleep? I know I do. And guess what. That guy is a writer. He inevitably is. Do you know how I know? Because writing is a soul-crushing, acutely painful and exhausting body of work that causes all who practice it to devolve into blubbering shadows of humanity that exist solely to tap their nicotine-stained fingers on keyboards and cry into their lattes. If you think you can be that man or woman, if you can be the writer, then welcome, my friend. Welcome to the fold. To the vortex. Now read on.

2. Shuffle off this mortal coil.
Because you'll be dead. Not really, unless you want to write as a ghost, which might be nice since you wouldn't have to take potty breaks. But I don't mean literally dead, I mean in spirit (as mentioned above), and more importantly, to the rest of the world. You must now come to terms with the fact that you will never get laid, have friends, or laugh again. You will never "go down the pub" with your mates and consume dozens of pints of Strongbow ever again. You will never again know the sweet, intimate touch of another. For the word is your lover now, the pen your quivering manhood (or very phallic womanhood). For once you begin writing your masterpiece, you will go mad if anything distracts you. You'll lock yourself in your dark room for hours, the glowing laptop your only source of light, of life-force, as you write trapped in a time-space paradox that you have created, a paradox in which you hold in your pee for twelve hours straight and forget to do things like eat, blink, and sometimes even take sips of your Coke Zero. The word is your slaver now, and its every whim must be obeyed. The thought of going outside, of interacting with humans on any level, will soon become as abhorrent to you as the thought of watching Tip Toes, making out with Paul Walker, or going tanning. (If you like to go tanning then you clearly cannot become a writer. Writers are pallid like subterranean vampires.) When not writing, you will desire nothing but to babble on for hours about your characters and the antics they get up to in your novel. (If you just want to write poetry or short stories, get out. We don't serve your kind here. Only the true novelist can be miserable enough to reach So Coolness.) If you do somehow manage to drag yourself out of your room and stumble, squinting, through the streets with a laptop clutched under your arm, make sure you lurch your way into a coffee shop with it. Once inside, you can order a never-ending stream of lattes while you hunch over your laptop and mutter to yourself, glasses askew, typing frantically. In fact it's best if you do this at least once a week, preferably in the wee hours of the morning when no normal human should be out, just so people know that you're working on a novel, never sleep, and are totally cool.

3. Don't write like Stephanie Meyer.
Or this guy. I've only read one of his books, and I couldn't even finish it, but just... no. Come on guys, let's have a little self-respect. I will have you assassinated.

4. Tweets or it didn't happen.
How will anyone know that you're slaving away writing a masterpiece if you don't tweet about it constantly? I know I mentioned late-night coffee shop write-ins, but as a writer you will inevitably be destitute, and will only be able to afford to buy lattes when your parents send you money out of pity or a sense of obligation to keep you alive. You will naturally have been terminated from any job you might have had due to your sudden decline into depression, misanthropy, and shame, so prepare yourself. When you're between the transfer of monthly parental funds, then, you will have to turn to twitter. Make sure your twitter name has nothing to do with your real name, but is instead a depressing or obscure phrase, or perhaps even lyrics from a favorite sad song. Then proceed to tweet in all lowercase letters about the progress of your novel. You can say things like, for example (and these are just made up; I didn't take them from my own personal twitter), "i don't think i'm actually capable of writing a novel that is in any way taking itself seriously." Do you feel the pain there? Really let it out here, guys; twitter was made for people to express every last feeling, thought, or action that takes place in their lives, so take advantage. Feel free to elongate vowels or consonants in order to create a sense of drama and inner turmoil. For example: "gross sobbiiiinnnngggg," or "waaaahhhhhh [writing] is haaaarrrrrd". You can put anything writing-related into those brackets, such as "words," "being a literary genius," "creating a masterpiece," etc, as long as you keep it grammatically sound. Some things can be in all caps, if they're full of enough angst and world-weariness, for example, "HARROW'D". These are all perfect examples of ways in which to show the world that you're working super hard on your novel, and you're in an ecstatic state of pain as a result. They'll be super jealous of how cool you are and wish they could be as cool as you.

There you have it folks, part one of HOW TO BE A WRITER. By Meg Smitherman. I hope you've learned a little something about how to be way cool and also how to structure and create a cogent, beautiful story full of realistic characterizations and a believable plot arc! Cheers!


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