Let's start this off by saying that I'm not a professional writer. My most successful piece of work consists of an erotic Lord of the Rings fanfiction where Frodo and Bilbo get it on. On the other hand, I can say I've been writing long enough to learn a few lessons that people never really talk about.
So I'm here to crush your dreams and in the process bore you to death with some of the things I've learned about writing. Buckle up, because if you don't, chances are you'll flee the room before it's over.
5 All The Advice SucksEdit
Since I'm already plunging head first into the valley of shit no one cares about, how about I start by talking about advice no one has probably ever read? Why? Because I'm a genius like that.
Now let's start by saying that not all writing advice is bad. Especially for beginners like me, soaking up advice from the pros is the best thing a newbie can really do. But after you surf enough websites and get deeper and deeper into the words, they all kind of start to sound the same. If it's fantasy, they say not to rip off Tolkien. If it's suspense, they say to start with action. And so on and so forth. They all have a different way of saying it, but the message is basically the same.
The best example I like to use is Writer's Digest. When I first began writing, they were the first place I turned to when it came to advice. They were so huge, so they had to give great advice, right? Maybe at first. But everyday I would receive an email from them about some new article on how to make your writing better or something like that. After making sure I got rid of all those alerts from that porn site I signed up to I would always go and take a visit. (To Writer's Digest, not the porn site. Well, most of the time.) And after enough time doing that, all the advice started to sound the same. Even when I went to other websites, they said the same thing. Do this. Don't do that. After enough time I found the words uttered by my baby cousin were more shocking.
As I said before, not all advice is bad, but there is only so much you can really see before it all blends together. Perhaps I'm just not looking in the right places. But for now, there's nothing left to say that I really haven't heard. Writing is like raising a child; you can listen to all the advice you want, but the only way you'll really get anywhere is by trial and error, and hoping that by the end that what you made that won't be shunned by society. Then again, I've never raised a kid, so maybe it's not the best example.
4 Only the Stupid Get AttentionEdit
Once again, let's go back a step. While genius often does fall under the radar, it isn't always overlooked. Tolkien is worshiped as one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time, and he rightfully deserves it. And if you pick up a book published in the nineteenth century, chances are it's going to be very well written with an intriguing plot. But those days are quickly fading. Constant entertainment had made it to where only the few and far really read these days, and even the ones that do usually do it over the internet or are still in middle school.
The internet had made it to where anyone can publish their writings, and while I'm not complaining, there's no doubt that this has allowed many idiots (like me!) to post their junk. But there are still plenty of wonders out there, people who are genuinely good and work hard to get noticed, but sadly, most of them are overlooked. Here's why.
My cruel cruel jealousy aside, I've boiled it down to two reasons why the good writers are overlooked. For a start, people are stupid. Most of the people that do any real reading on the internet are usually still in elementary, and because of that their tiny peanut brains can only process so much. So while 'Catherine sauntered across the Persian carpet, batting her eyelashes and swinging her hips for maximum affect' is much better than 'Catherine walked away and gave the boys a sexy look', chances are more people will flock to the second one, just because it's easier to read and they don't have to guess that Catherine's probably a whore.
The second reason that good writers are overlooked is because people love dragging others down. Which one do think is more likely to get comments: a well thought out, casually delivered report about the presidential elections or Glenn Beck ranting about how Obama is a Nazi?
People love drama, but more importantly, they love feeling superior. And if that means telling a sixth grader she writes like shit, so be it. Even though people are slamming her work, she (or Glenn Beck) are still getting more attention than the person who took the time to be courteous. The lesson: being an idiot pays more than being intelligent.
3 Originality isn't All That AppreciatedEdit
So let's say you're a Lord of the Rings fan (Or whatever geeky fandom you're into). You love the series so much and have this great idea for a fan fiction. You plan it out, spend valuable World of War Craft time writing and revising it, and then finally you're done. You read it over and it looks like something even Tolkien would be proud of. You post it and wait for the praise to come rolling in. But nothing. You check it out, and are outraged to find not only is no one reading it, but the story where Frodo bones Bilbo has gotten extremely popular despite looking like it was written by monkey with down syndrome.
So you wonder to yourself, or rather I wonder while you get off to Frodo doing naughty things to Bilbo, why does this piece of crap get to be popular while my well thought out masterpiece is ignored? Well, for a start, unless it's a porn, chances are your fanfiction won't get you anywhere. Hell, unless there's a least one sex scene, chances are even your book won't take off. Just look at the sales mark on Fifty Shades of Grey.
Bad porn aside, there is another reason people don't flock to see your amazing writing. Just like how mom won't go with your idea to try and breed the dog with the cat, people prefer the familiar. While the monstrosity your dog and cat produce may earn the noble prize, chances are people will still prefer the same old none deformed dog. Before I go too far into the logistics of cross breeding, let's take a look at most of the recent movies published. About half are superhero movies, while the other half are vampire movies. The plots are incredibly similar to one another and most of the attraction comes from hoping the lead actress gets naked. Studios don't make these things if they don't think they will sell. And sure enough, they do.
Especially in the case of fanfiction, one idea will be used over and over again, usually all written by the same deformed monkey. But people will read it, so they'll keep making it. You can write all the masterpieces you want, but unless it fits in with the current fad, chances are people won't look at it or will only appreciate it after you're dead.
2 It Never Really Pays OffEdit
Okay, so your Lord of the Rings fanfiction didn't work out, but that's no reason to give up, right? I mean, even if you only get appreciation after death, you still got to go for it. Maybe. I say maybe because writing to a diverging road. Who knows, maybe you will write the next American masterpiece, or maybe, just maybe, you won't. I'm here to tell you that chances are, you won't.
If you are a writer, you probably already know how slim the chances are that you'll get published, let alone be successful. Despite what grandpa told you, it's not always about hard work and determination, if fact, most of the time it's just about getting lucky. It doesn't help that most people today don't read and when they do it's usually some weird dwarf porn. Seriously, it says a lot about our society when the three best selling books in the country are about some jack ass billionaire defiling a college grad who obviously brought daddy one too many beers.
It's not your fault. The problem isn't even that you're a bad writer, it's just the fact that everyone is also a writer and has the same goals you do. And chances are that you're not much better than them. Even if your idea seems wonderful chances are someone somewhere had the same idea and wrote it better than you. When so many people want the same thing, chances are that your not going to be one of the lucky few who make it.
Now, I'm not saying that you have no potential. You might even be the next Stephen King. I'm just saying that chances are your not going to accomplish everything you set out for, including laying Johnny Depp. Even if you do manage to get published most books never sell over a thousand copies. The alternative route isn't much better, since pretty much everyone has a blog or youtube account, so you probably won't wind up famous that way.
And since I've already depressed you past the point of return, I'd also like to add that you're ugly.
1 Maybe You Will Get Lucky
Since I imagine that the people reading this want to burn me at the stake (hi mom!) so I'm going to try and save some image here. Now, I've already ranted on about how low the chances are of you being successful are, but what I haven't said yet is that things aren't totally helpless. Because, occasionally, people do get lucky.
Pick up the biography of any famous author. There is probably a whole section dedicated just to their struggles and how often they got rejected and such. Most of them were told that they were horrible and would never get anywhere. Then, BOOM! Their work goes mainstream, and they're millionaires. And unbelievable as it may seem, it could happen to you. If you work hard enough and keep chasing the dream, who knows, maybe it really will pay off.
Now, don't get your hopes up too soon. If you've actually managed to get this far in the article chances are you have a lot of patience, so as long as you don't take my advice you should really try and go for it. As long as you're willing to sacrifice your life and enjoyment for something that probably won't happen. And just think, if shit like Twilight can get published and be a bestseller, maybe can your semi homosexual porn can also be successful. Or maybe not.