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Good Advice

Here's someone's list of 25 Things I Want To Say To So-Called "Aspiring" Writers. And if I were Morey Amsterdam, I'd say, "Tell them that if they're aspiring, they should use a good deodorant." So we're all lucky I'm not Morey Amsterdam and I'm especially fortunate.

I find little on it with which to quibble. I think writers often make too much of the "no one respects us" routine…and sometimes, the reason we're not respected is that we tell the world that we aren't. The rule about how you're going to starve for a while is not always true. I've never starved (isn't it obvious?) and in more than 43 years, never been without paying work. But I do think it's a good idea to understand that it could happen and it could even happen suddenly.

Also, this thing about "finish your shit" is not to be taken literally. If what you're writing is shit, don't waste your time finishing it. Throw it out and start something better. The main thing is to be prolific and finish something, preferably a lot of somethings. But you really shouldn't be reticent to give up on something if ain't working…and if it doesn't fly, put it to one side and write something else. I know guys who'll write a novel or a screenplay or something…and then their lives are all about selling that one thing and if no one buys it, they let that stop them from the next project and all others.

But I do believe in the author's main point, which is that talking isn't writing and hanging out with other writers isn't writing and even thinking about what you're going to write is at best a part of the writing process. And I especially agree that a person who writes is a writer and a person who doesn't write is not a writer…and that too many people don't get that.