Writing is work. Being a writer is a job. If you want to be successful as a writer, you have to accept that. Writing is not whim and whimsy. It is not a time killer. And it is not something you do to retire.
Being a reporter for so many years has given me certain advantages, one of them being my compulsion for telling you the reality of your situation. Yes, you can be a writer. And yes, particularly today, in the age of self-publishing, you can be a published, selling writer.
But its still a lot of work. It's actually more work than ever. You can't just be a writer anymore. Now you have to be a networker, a marketer, a social media junkie, a freelancer, and who the hell knows what else. Competition is stiff and it's going to stay that way.
So I do not come bearing platitudes, nor do I come bearing portents of doom. I come forth to bring you these ten commandments of writing. They will not make you a top writer, a best-seller, a crashing success. They can keep you in the game, but it's up to you to stand out.
I. All stories are about people. Thou shalt not forget that.
II. Thou shalt develop a thick skin, because . . .
III. Though shalt be criticized and rejected repeatedly.
IV. Thou shalt rewrite.
V. Thou shalt listen to editors and hire them to help thee.
VI. Thou shalt find thine own voice, thine own genre, and thine own way.
VII. Thou shalt screw fear.
VIII. Thou shalt not tell (a.k.a., thou shalt show).
IX. Thou shalt be patient.
X. Thou shalt keep writing, no matter what.
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