This post was published on November 21, 2016. Still good advice if you are a writer.
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The inspiration for this list is thinking back on all my mistakes while trying to become a writer. Not that I made all of them, but maybe some. I hope you enjoy it.
Top Ten Things Not to Do If You Are a Writer
10 If you are a writer, do not kill a child or a pet in your story. If you do, at best, the fallout will blow over in two years or so. At worst, you will be cavorting with some strange characters in your new witness protection plan. (Don’t get cute with a pen name, either. They will find you)
9 If you are a writer, do not show friends and family portions of your work in process. If you do, at best, you’ll pick up some unwanted advice on plot direction. At worst, your family will now wonder how in the world you ever got the experience to write that sex scene. (Just how do you explain that one, Buford?)
8 If you are a writer, do not think you can take a vacation. If you do, at best, your characters will haunt your every moment until you get back to the manuscript. At worst, you’ll suddenly let your insecure inner self convince you to quit and become a McDonald’s employee. (At least the money will be better, huh, Clyde?)
7 If you are a writer, do not tell people at a cocktail party what you do. If you do, at best, they’ll smile and walk away. At worst, you will have to listen to a potential best-selling synopsis that takes over an hour to relate by someone thinking of writing a book. (Like it is the easiest thing to do, Ferd)
6 If you are a writer, do not think your life will end when the manuscript is done. If you do, at best, your story will take on epic proportions. At worst, you may get the heaviest book award from the New Apple Book Awards group. (You didn’t know that was a category? It was established primarily for you. No, your manuscript cannot be returned since the flatbed truck is unavailable.)
5 If you are a writer, do not let your characters take control of the story. If you do, at best, you’ll have a pack of amateurs running the show. At worst, your story will take on the appearance of a three-ring circus (You hadn’t intended to write about entertainment, did you, Ernest?)
4 If you are a writer, do not be in a hurry to get published. If you are, at best, you may have a plot hole that no one will notice. At worst, the grammar, plot, character, and continuity issues might gain you all the one-star reviews you can handle. (Quite a shock, huh?)
3 If you are a writer, do not think you need to do little else. If you do, at best, those few books sold will be gravy. At worst, your status as the great undiscovered but brilliant novelist will remain undisturbed. (Best to write your own eulogy as well.)
2 If you are a writer, do not plan to have your retirement income be solely based on your royalties. If you do, at best, you can cut expenses enough to survive. At worst, you are allergic to the kind of soup at the Salvation Army kitchen. (All your pals are really impressed that you are an author. Right, Bunkie?)
1 If you are a writer, do not argue with your reviewers. If you do, at best, the reviews will not improve. At worst, you may pick on the single reviewer who is classically trained in the martial arts and knows where you live. (Is that Tiny, the WWF champ tearing your front door off the hinges?)