posted by meowser
No one in the Fatosphere makes me think, “That’s exactly what I would have said — only SO MUCH FUNNIER!” as frequently as you do. Tell us how you do it, woman.
Oh, um, ah…ahem…(feeling a bit like Anne Elk here)…DO WHAT?
See, that’s one of the keys to being Meowser. Don’t have a frickin’ clue in the world you’ve ever done or said anything worth paying attention to ever. And when someone feeds you something clever you uttered once, completely forget you ever said it, until you look it up and see that bon mot under your handle and then go, “Oh, wow, I really did say that…yeah, that one wasn’t bad, huh?”
It “helped” (haha) to have had a family that versed me so well in the art and science of Sit Down, Shaddup, and Stay Out Of The Way that I could have earned a Ph.D. credit in it from the University Without Walls. Helped me develop a whole secret inner world that nobody could possibly know about or I’d-a been on the streets. Not that I want this to happen to you, because then shit happens to you like playing around with sharp objects and wondering hopefully if your second-story window is big enough to fall out of and die from by the time you’re 12. But make you madly creative, ohfuckyes. (Problem is, it also makes you dread any kind of rejection like it’s a firing squad, which makes it very hard to get anyplace in the world. So no one will ever know how wildly creative you are for a very, very long time, if ever.)
It also helps if you grow up not being able to talk, and sure that every facial expression you have lights up a neon sign in the mind of whoever you’re talking to that you must be a knife-packing serial killer. That way, you kind of have to write, because otherwise how will anyone ever know you’re really a very nice person who hates all weaponry? Even now, I only half-joke that one of the reasons I write is “because I can’t talk.” Writing and speaking are two entirely different skill sets, I insist.
OK, that’s not what this meme is about, necessarily. It’s about giving people Three Requirements for Powerful Writing As You Know It. Obtaining my, um, unique background probably isn’t an option for most of you, alas. But here’s what I can offer.
1) Write what you long to read (or watch, or listen to). Then, if you want your work to reach a broader audience, imagine one or two other specific people for whom you are reshaping your material as a gift to them. You can make it more than two if you really want to, but don’t over-intimidate yourself by imagining halftime at the Ti-Dy Bowl in front of 50,000 of your closest trolls. Not when you’re first starting out. But you always have the option of keeping it for yourself exactly the way you first wrote it, if that’s what matters to you. (If that approach is good enough for J.D. Salinger, it’s good enough for you.)
2) Spill it out first, then go back and edit. If you try and do both at the same time, it’s like trying to simultaneously cook and eat. You’ll wind up eating a lot of half-cooked pasta and never getting to enjoy the stuff fully cooked with sauce on it.
3) Be willing to SUCK whenever you first spill it. With computers and whatnot, it’s easier than ever to go back and fix things. Be willing to keep sucking, too, for however long it takes. This is of crucial importance, because writers tend to measure themselves against other writers with decades of experience and fully polished and edited manuscripts, not realizing that those writers, too, wrote reams and reams and reams of utter crap and probably still do, and that what makes those writers’ reputations is a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of their total output, and probably heavily polished with outside help, too. I once heard a Nashville music publisher who had published some of the legendary songwriters in the business opine that every writer he ever had who was any good had written literally 500 bad songs before ever writing a good one. Yes. Five hundred. Which doesn’t ever happen if you keep rewriting the same damn song over and over and over again for years and never do anything else.
That’s three. But I’ll give you one as a bonus, and as with the above, I’m telling me this as much as I’m telling you. When imagining your ideal audience, don’t ever, ever have Dan Savage in it. You will get the worst writer’s block ever.
Tag yourselves. All of you rock and rule, whether you know it yet or not.