"We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people."
It's like when a bunch of soccer moms decide to take a pottery class together: "Let's all be creative! So fun!"
Never mind that not everyone actually has the talent to be a writer.
They know so little about what writing actually is, they think it's just the act of putting a bunch of words on paper. They think if you type lots and lots of words, you're a writer.
That's why you constantly see them brag on Facebook about their word count: "I wrote 4,000 words today!" or "My book is already 60,000 words long!"
Seriously, they write stuff like that. And they think that makes them a writer!
Most wannabe writers are to the book industry what cows are to the meat industry.
Nobody gives a shit about your word count. It's not about how many words you wrote. It's about how good those words are.
"You know that I write slowly. This is mainly because I am never satisfied, until I have said as much as possible in a few words. And writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length."
-Carl Friedrich Gauss
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
Self-publishing a shitty book doesn't make you an author any more than singing in the shower makes you a rockstar or squeezing your pimple makes you a dermatologist.
These soccer moms aren't writers just because they type a lot of words. That just means they like to write. As a hobby. It's neither a calling nor a profession for them. To them it's just a fun thing to do, like tie-dying a T-shirt.
A while ago, I asked wannabe writers on Facebook:
"What makes you interesting?"
A bunch of them replied with things along the lines of: "Nothing." or "I don't think I'm interesting." or "I dunno."
Well, then make something up, before you bore us to death. What kind of a writer admits that they are boring and that they can't think of a single thing that's interesting about them?!
Here's a pro tip, free of charge: If you have absolutely nothing interesting to say, don't be a writer. Nobody cares about anything you write, if even you don't find yourself interesting.
Have you traveled the globe? Have you been places, done things and experienced the world? Have you lived a colorful, unique life? If not, you have nothing of value to contribute to humanity. Everything you write is not based on real world experience but recycled second hand information.
"Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts."
You can't be a writer if you haven't done shit and experienced nothing interesting. They say write what you know. If you know nothing about life, you can't be a good writer. Good writing is based on who you are as a person. Every good book is a part of who you are. Every good writer reveals his true self in his books. If there is nothing interesting to reveal, go be an accountant or something. You have no business being a writer.
"The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees."
Just retelling Fifty Shades or some other story in your own words, after you read it in someone else's book, or saw it on TV, is not writing.
Painters create art with colors. Writers create art with words.
But what is art? Some people falsely believe that anything anyone makes with their hands is art. Look at the picture my 5-year-old drew! It's art!
No, it's not art. It's the scribblings of a toddler. If that is art, then nothing is art.
Words not only have meaning, they also separate one thing from another. Imagine if we called every color green. Then how would you explain the difference between yellow and blue, if they're both called green?
The reason why yellow is called yellow and not blue, is because yellow and blue are two different colors.
And if the scribblings of a toddler are called "art" just like the Mona Lisa, then the word art becomes meaningless.
There is a difference between the Mona Lisa, and what you draw on a napkin when you're drunk.
The difference? Talent.
The difference between some random toddler scribbling some crappy drawing and Leonardo da Vinci is that Leonardo has talent. Someone with no talent is not the same as someone with talent.
If someone with talent creates something, it's art. When someone with no talent creates something, it's crap.
If you want to be a good writer, you need to be a talented artist. And artists are unique and stand out. Artists are the opposite of conformists. So by doing what everyone else is doing, you're proving your mediocrity, and your lack of artistic uniqueness. When you follow everyone else's example, you are by definition not an artist. You're a copycat.
That's why your crappy clone of Fifty Shades is not art. You're just imitating someone else... just like tens of thousands of other wannabe writers. You're part of a herd of unthinking, unoriginal followers, without that all-important spark of talent and uniqueness that would make your words art.
If you've decided to write a book because everyone else is writing a book, you're not a writer. You're a soccer mom or a Walmart cashier, who likes to write as a hobby.
The same thing happened a few years ago, when free blogging software became widely available. Suddenly everyone thought they were a blogger. Even if they had nothing interesting to say, and no one read their blog.
And before every numbnut thought they were bloggers, everyone thought they needed a website.
Remember the good old days? When the Internet was brand new, and people just aimlessly surfed around the web for hours with their 56k AOL connections, searching for funny pictures of cheeseburger-loving cats and free gimp porn. Finding good gimp porn wasn't easy in those cold days, before Google and Pornhub made our lives worth living.
Back then, every website served an actual purpose. You could buy socks on Sears.com, laugh at Funny.com, read the latest news on CNN.com, or puke all over Rotten.com. Those pioneering days actually deserved the name Information Age.
But then random civilians made their own shitty little Tripod pages, because they felt the need to tell the whole world about their grandma's secret cookie recipe (The secret ingredient is butter. Shhh!) or post awkward photos of their last family reunion. (Check out uncle Billy's new glass eye! It almost looks real!)
Those personal pages that served no actual purpose were called vanity sites back then. Professional web designers mocked these cookie-recipe and family-album vanity sites, because they were of no interest to anyone other than the poster's immediate friends and family.
So why post this crap for the whole world to see? Professional web developers were sure these vanity sites were just a fluke, a temporary nuisance, and sooner or later they would disappear.
But the opposite happened. The whole Internet turned into a giant vanity site. Thanks to social media and web 2.0 (sites based entirely on user-created content), the Internet went from being the greatest collection of human knowledge the world had ever seen, to being the greatest garbage dump of vapid trivialities and pointless vanity the world has ever seen.
And the same thing is happening to books right now. Books used to be written by humanity's greatest thinkers, or at least our greatest entertainers. Now every halfwit can publish his verbal diarrhea. And millions of shitty, mediocre, uninspired, trite books are drowning out mankind's greatest literary accomplishments.
Nobody wants to read that crap. That's why your books aren't selling.
Things are so bad that wannabe authors literally have to beg and bribe others to read and review their book. Think about that for a minute. Instead of getting paid for writing a book, they have to pay others to read it!
And yet, almost everyone you meet along your self-publishing journey will encourage you to write. Keep writing! Keep writing!
Not because they honestly believe you're a good writer, or you're writing an interesting book, but because they profit off of you.
You're not the butcher, selling sausages. You're the cow, pre-sausage.
They're selling you all kinds of useless services that you supposedly need to make your book a success. By the time you finally find out they were just bullshitting you, it's already too late. They already got you to fork over a bunch of money. None of them will give you an honest opinion of your book or your talent as a writer, because they make money every time you self-publish another book, no matter how shitty it is.
They're like a sales clerk in a department store who tells the fat old lady that she looks great in that skimpy dress, even if she doesn't, simply to sell her the dress.
And the other wannabe writers keep encouraging you, because they want you to encourage them in return. Because we're all being creative! Yayy! Next week let's all go volunteer at the animal shelter and pretend we're professional animal trainers!
They'll offer to leave your book a glowing 5 star review, if you promise to do the same for their crappy book.
There are countless books out there with exactly 20 glowing 5 star reviews, because these wannabe writers think 20 reviews is a magic number. Trust me, it's not. Check the sales rank of those books and you'll notice that they're still not selling.
Anyone who has looked at a few self-published books knows by now not to trust those first 20 glowing 5 star reviews. Everyone knows that they're fake reviews from other wannabe writers who asked you to do the same for their book in return. That's why Amazon keeps deleting these fake reviews.
Among rookie wannabe writers, honest critique is actually considered bad form.
They act like you're a horrible person if you tell them that their book isn't all that great. And I agree that bad reviews can be heartbreaking. It can really hurt your feelings, on a deeply personal level. Especially if you're not making any money with your book, and all you get out of it is a sense of validation.
But the result of this fake positive feedback loop is that wannabe writers live in a bubble where they're never exposed to an honest opinion. Everyone keeps telling them they're doing a great job and their book is awesome and keep writing and blah blah blah. That's why most bad writers don't even know how bad they are, until they finally get crushed by the first real review from a random reader.
Everyone thinks they are above average, which is statistically impossible. There have to be below average writers. But nobody sees themselves that way. That means there are a whole lot of bad writers out there, who don't even know it.
Thanks to social media, reality TV, and YouTube vloggers, every boring twit now thinks he's interesting somehow and deserves his 15 minutes of fame: "If people like Kim Kardashian can be famous for absolutely nothing, then I can too!"
If the world wants to hear every idiotic word out of Kim Kardashian's mouth, surely the world needs every moronic status update I post on my Facebook page: "I pooped today! Yayy!"
You post boring pictures of your boring life, and some of your 5000 fake Facebook friends click like, so they'll get likes from you in return the next time they post something nobody cares about, like a picture of their dinner.
Pro tip: If you can't think of anything more interesting to post on social media than a picture of your cup of coffee, you are boring and you have nothing interesting to say.
I think future generations are going to look back at our time period and call this the Age of Narcissism.
Ten short years ago, nobody had ever heard of a selfie. But today every decent cell phone has not one but two cameras, so you can take idiotic duck face pictures. And don't forget the billion dollar selfie-stick industry. Capitalism has found a whole new way to turn our vanity into profit.
Sure, people have always been vain. Can you imagine what it was like when some guy invented the first mirror? Maidens probably spent all day and night just staring at their own reflection in the dim candle light of their drafty castle tower, back when the first mirrors were cutting edge technology.
And if you've ever been to an old-timey museum, you've seen those silly portrait paintings that vain noblemen of by-gone eras used to plaster all over the walls of their pompous mansions.
Today, thanks to social media, people can take pointless pictures and pollute the world with their dumb shit faster than ever before. Progress!
Everyone thinks they're entitled to their 15 minutes of fame. And it's that narcissism that makes people, who have no business writing a book, think they can write a book.
People who have absolutely nothing interesting or unique to say think writing a book will make them interesting. They think when they tell people "I'm a writer" it sounds cooler than if they say "I clean houses for a living."
But if you have nothing unique to say, your books are not going to be interesting. People are only going to read your books, if they find you and what you have to say interesting. That's pretty basic stuff.
Conformists are boring. Artists are interesting. That's the difference between a wannabe writer and a real writer.
>>> Common Misconceptions Among Wannabe Writers