Writing Groups and Terrible Advice

I’m not paying to have this edited but it will likely end up some of everywhere by tomorrow. My rants normally do. You may share wherever you want as long as you credit the author. That’s me (Edward Lorn or E.).To all those who choose to nitpick the errors and ignore the message, do me a favor take a lengthy fuck at a burning futon. Eloquent, aren’t I?

Writing is a lonely job and no one can tell you how to do it. I’m all for community unless it is detrimental to creative growth, and my experience with writing groups has been this:

A bunch of people sitting around talking about writing and getting advice from people who aren’t actually making money from their craft. Call me elitist, call me an asshole, but this is my experience. Let your friends lie to you. I’m an asshole, an asshole that’s not going to lie to you. Fuck your feelings. Making you feel good about yourself is not my job, nor is it anyone else’s. I do not want to be surrounded by a bunch of dumbfuck writers who value popularity and popular opinion over talent and craft. This isn’t fucking high school.

Writing groups kill me. They figuratively stall my fucking heart. I’m not a very popular guy in the author community because I don’t play well with others. I’m foul-mouthed and opinionated, two things that offends creative types. In other words, I have no problem telling Rainbow Bright her fucking rainbow looks awfully goddamn dull today. Sure I have friends who are authors, but they’re their own people who blaze their own trail. Some of these ladies and gentlemen (snicker) might be members of writing groups themselves, but nobody’s perfect.

Mostly, writing groups are circle jerks. There might be a handful in the world that actually promote the craft of writing, but the greater majority sit around and stroke each others egos. “Oh, that’s not garbage! Your idea for a comedy-thriller-with-an-all-Giraffe-cast erotic poem will surely sell billions!” Talk is cheap, and writing groups are a dime a dozen. There’s a reason for that. I want to meet the successful author who became successful because of their writing group, and I want to know if they are still part of that writing group, and are they successful because they listened to any of their writing group’s advice. Or did they just write and edit and submit and publish and go through the motions. I honestly want to know. I’m not a proud motherfucker. I can admit when I’m wrong.

(Fantasy authors who play D&D and plot their epic novels with friends while LARPing are the only exception I can think of. Those guys are cool. Far cooler than I.)

Most of the badly-behaved-author activity you see is overflow from writing groups. Members get this idea in their head that they are Tom Cruise’s gift to to the literary world because they have a bunch of other hacks (I’m a self-proclaimed hack myself) telling them their shit smells like roses soaked in vanilla water.

Writing groups are terrific at offering advice like “What Not to Write!” This pisses me off. Sweet baby Tom Cruise under a mobile of squirting cocks, this lights a fire under me and boils my colon. If I listened to a quarter of the advice from these writing groups on what not to write, I wouldn’t write anything at all. Don’t offend anyone. Don’t write about genders and races of which you do not belong. Don’t write serials. Don’t write short stories. Don’t write novels. Don’t write outside your comfort zone. Don’t write outside of your readers’ comfort zone (as if you could know what that is…). Don’t write in the morning. Don’t write at night. Don’t offend anyone. Don’t eat twenty-minutes before writing or an hour afterward. Don’t write about animals or from an animal’s POV. Don’t write about kids. Only write YA because that shit is HAWT! right now. Don’t write about teenagers. Don’t eat bacon while writing. Don’t have sex the night before a writing session. Don’t NOT have sex the night before a writing session. Don’t write at all. Did I mention don’t goddamn motherfucking offend anyone, jackhole!?

To the lovely people who pollute (whoops, I meant populate) these writing groups: Kindly eat all of my ass. To all the aspiring writers out there: Write whatever you want. Will you be successful? Fuck if I know. Will you piss people off? Yes. A million times YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES… okay I’m tired of typing YES. But you will piss off people trying to please them, too. And guess what? What you write probably won’t be any good, either. It will be derivative. It will be boring. It will likely be a mess. Moreover, every time you have to stop writing because you’re worried about offending someone, you stop being you and start being them.

Mimicry is the failure of self, and censorship is for dictators with bad haircuts. Choose your own path. Write what makes you happy, and stop listening to Joe Blow from Kokomo who’s only sold that one short story to his mother-in-law’s publishing house, the one that only accepted it because it was Little Joey’s tenth birthday and no one could afford cake and presents. If you have fun with your writing, that fun will carryover to the reader. Or it won’t. Either way, at least you can say you had fun.

You’re still here? You want advice that works, you say? Well… Here’s some shit from people who actually pay their rent with words and have been doing so for over twenty years. That’s experience, pumpkin, and experience is worth more than speculation ten times out of ten.

Neil Gaiman said: “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.

Isaac Asimov said: “Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his typewriter or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter.”

And if you’re still feeling empty inside, read Stephen King’s On Writing. I know no better book on the craft, but that’s only my opinion.

*hugs and high fives*


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