You don’t write to get rich. You write because writing is a fundamental part of who you are. Your odds of becoming Stephen King or Sue Grafton are longer than your odds of winning a multi-state lottery.
The basic idea behind any form of art is to express emotions. You’ll notice I write a lot about time travel, science fiction, horror, and love. I write about love and romance because I have a sentimental streak. I write about horror because of panic attacks, and people are drawn to things that scare them (counterintuitive, but true). I write about science fiction because I grew up watching the original Star Trek, and it’s like comfort food for me. And I love time travel for some reason I can’t really explain. Maybe I have a lot of regrets and want to right some wrongs. Who the hell knows? Or maybe I’d just like swap one-liners with Groucho Marx. “After two days in the hospital I took a turn for the nurse.”
I also dish out writing advice. You know where I get that wisdom? Failure … sometimes epic. Or, as we say on Twitter, #dumpsterfire fiction. If you try to imitate bestsellers, your novel is going to be a disaster, a dumpster fire in kids’ lingo today. And you’ll feel like one, too, after spending all that time and effort to produce something no one wants to read. Believe me, I’ve been there.
Caveat: This does not mean you set your sights low. No. Aim to be the very best writer you can be. Every sentence you write should be exactly what you want to read. Anything less and you’re being dishonest.
But if you’re trying to become Dan Brown or Suzanne Collins, forget it. We already have a Brown and a Collins and a King and a Grafton. Mimicking them is not going make you rich and famous.
If you want to get rich you need to be flipping houses and bootlegging whiskey.
Writers are artists, and we get paid the same. Would you like fries with that?
Peace, from Keith
Copyright © 2013