(Sorry. This is not actually a Grosse Point Blank review. Although, clearly, that movie’s awesome.)
Here’s the thing: I can actually legitimately say I’m a professional writer. I certainly don’t have many sales — very, very few, in fact — but nevertheless, I do have them, and I’m working on selling more. Writing is not something I just decided to do on the spur of the moment — it’s, well, a lifelong dream, really. Getting into Clarion West last year was a huge deal for me, and I’m incredibly grateful for getting the opportunity to go.
So, I have to post this — even though it’s been online for years now — because I swear this exact same scenario just happened to me the other day.
Okay, it wasn’t the exact same. For starters, I’m not a bear. Also, I’m not confrontational by nature, so when a guy who — as far as I could tell — has never shown the slightest interest in writing a book before had suddenly decided that he was just going to easily write two without any training or education at all, well, I kept my mouth shut. But I certainly thought a lot of these things. Especially at the spelling section. Oh, the spelling section.
When I talk to people in the writing community, I don’t feel so stupid saying, “Hey, I’m a writer.” But when I talk to people outside of the writing community, like, almost anyone I work with, I feel dumb about it because, to those people, I know a writer really means someone who sells novels, not just the occasional short story or flash fiction. And I get it because, for a long time, that’s what it meant to me too, and I do want to get to novels someday, honest.
But I am professional writer. Fledgling, to be sure, but a writer all the same, and there is something more than a little irksome about hearing people say, “Oh, how hard could it be, writing a book? I could do that. Anybody could do that.” And I’m like, Well thanks, buddy, for shitting on all my lifelong aspirations. Nice to know how little work you think this is — how about I take apart YOUR career now and blithely inform you that anyone can easily do it?
The takeaway, I suppose, is just to ignore such people and have confidence in myself. Oh, self-confidence. Will you never not be my cursed enemy? (Double negatives are the best. Shakespeare used double negatives. I’m totally bringing them back.) I should wake up every morning, look at myself in the mirror, and say, “You are an articulate, intelligent, professional author.” You know, if I was the kind of person who believed in mantras, or who managed more than inarticulate vowel sounds for the first half hour after consciousness.
Maybe my mantra — like much of my writing — should be laced with gratuitous profanity. I can easily get behind profanity at ass o’clock in the morning. Something like, “You are a fucking awesome writer, yo,” or “I will be the best motherfucking speculative writer since Shakespeare and Macbeth, bitches!” (Don’t ask my Shakespeare kick today. I can’t explain these things.)
Anyone have any profanity-laced mantras of their own? I’d love to hear them.