Saturday, May 13, 2023

What's Worse: No Book Reviews or No Book?

What's worse than getting bad book reviews? For one, getting no reviews because you never finished your book. The poet Jim Harrison reportedly said:

 “The idea of getting bad reviews is not nearly as bad as getting no reviews, frankly.” 

And once your book is published, like a number of writers, you may want to avoid reading the bad reviews

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Are Writers Narcissistic?

Source: Krizan and Herlache, 2017

Previously, we posted some quotes from famous writers concerning the connection between being a writer and belong alone. For example, James Baldwin wrote in the essay “The Creative Process” (1962): "The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone."

And, per The Paris Review's "The Art of Fiction No. 151, Martin Amis said, "The first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when he is alone."

Interestingly, the poet Mary Karr made a connection between being a writer, being alone, and being narcissistic. Karr opined: 

All writers are narcissistic. That’s not the same as being a narcissist, as being a sociopath. But no one can sit in a room by themselves for twelve hours a day thinking about what they’re thinking and not be a little more self-focused than the normal person.

Karr may be onto something, because it's fair to say that, in general, (prolific) writers are narcissistic (i.e., more self-focused) than non-writers.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

ChatGPT: How to become a bestselling author?

 I asked ChatGPT: "How to become a bestselling author?" And here's the response:

Becoming a bestselling author is not an easy feat, but here are some steps you can take to increase your chances:

  1. Write a high-quality book: The first step to becoming a bestselling author is to write a book that people will want to read. Make sure it is well-written, engaging, and offers something unique.
  2. Build an author platform: Start building an author platform by creating a website, blog, and social media accounts. This will help you connect with potential readers and build a fan base.
  3. Engage with your readers: Once you have a following, engage with your readers by responding to comments and messages. This will help you build a community and create a loyal fan base.
  4. Network with other authors: Attend writing conferences and workshops to network with other authors. You may learn valuable tips and strategies for marketing your book.
  5. Market your book: Develop a marketing plan for your book that includes book reviews, book signings, and promotional events. You may also want to consider paid advertising.
  6. Seek traditional publishing or self-publish: Choose whether to seek a traditional publishing deal or self-publish. If you choose to self-publish, you will need to learn how to format and publish your book on platforms such as Amazon.
  7. Keep writing: Finally, keep writing! The more books you publish, the more chances you have of becoming a bestselling author.

Remember, becoming a bestselling author takes time, effort, and dedication. Keep working hard, and don't give up on your dreams.

In summary, per ChatGPT, to become a bestselling author a writer should:

1. Write a good book

2. Make an author social media account to attract potential readers 

3. Engage readers (e.g., reply to comments)

4. Network with fellow authors (e.g., follow on social media, leave comments and/or DM)

5. Market your book(s)

6. Get published or self-publish

7. Write a lot 

#notbadadvice 

Monday, March 20, 2023

"I'm a Writer [for Validation]!"

Unsolicited, a guy shared with me in Central Park, "I'm a writer!" When I asked him what he had written, he replied, "Nothing yet."

Relatedly, K. M. Weiland advised, "Write every day that you can. [...] Don’t look for validation. Trust yourself," which shows that there may be a negative correlation between seeking validation and writing (prolifically). 

In other words, as the amount of validation one seeks increases, does that correlate to a decrease in page counts?

Regardless of the strength of the correlation, one should avoid writing to be validated. Instead, as we previously posted, one may want to write for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Write to inspire by spreading (positive ideas)

2. Write to avoid ennui and depression

3. Write to increase tenacity slash self-control 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Write Fiction From Non-Fiction


How many times have you said or heard, "You just can't make this stuff up."? Per Urban Dictionary, the idiom is: an expression said in response to an an unbelievable fact or piece of news. 

But it's also, literally, true. A novelist just can't make make stuff up, because, as Rachel Khong related: "All fiction is born out of some alchemy of observation, imagination, and personal experience."

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A Secret of Short-Story Writing


O. Henry, the famous short story writer, had a secret for writing short stories, which can apply to writing - in general. O. Henry's secret was writing to entertain William Sydney Porter. O. Henry reportedly shared:
I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. [...] If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.
And Harlan Ellison, the New Wave writer, agreed with O. Henry in that one should write stories that are self-entertaining, because if you can't write a story that amuses yourself, you may never wow the public. Ellison reportedly advised:
Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: write to please [i.e., engage] yourself.

Monday, January 23, 2023

3 Must-Haves of Every Writer

There are, at least, three (3) must-haves of every writer:

Per James Baldwin a writer must cultivate the state of being alone


The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone. - JAMES BALDWIN


Per Joyce Carol Oates a writer must be able to concentrate for long periods of time


First requirement of the writer is the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. Second, more urgent requirement, the wish to do so. - @JoyceCarolOates


And Malcolm Gladwell opined that a writer must have have more than an engaging story but that a writer needs to have a strong desire to tell the story


When you write a book, you need to have more than an interesting story. You need to have a desire to tell the story. You need to be personally invested in some way. - Malcolm Gladwell 


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Difference Between a Writer & “I Wish I was a Writer”

Based on anecdotal evidence, most people don't believe that they have the inherit ability to write a book. How many times have I heard someone say, "I could never write a book!"? 

And of the few who attempt to write a book, based on anecdotal evidence, most never finish writing their books, which, per award winning science fiction author Octavia Butler, is what, obviously, makes the difference between a writer and “I wish I was a writer.”

Octavia Butler: "I tell the students that there comes a time when you want to either burn it or flush it. But if you keep going, you know, that’s what makes you a writer instead of an “I wish I was a writer."

So, when the inevitable imposter syndrome sets in, try not to drag your doc to the trash but keep writing until your confidence inevitably returns (إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللَّٰهُ). 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Literary Muse from Unfortunate Event

Moshik Nadav Typography

One swell way to deal with a difficult moment in life is to assume that there's an underling (positive) reason (i.e., حكمة) behind the occasion. And as a writer, you may be able to use that difficult moment as a muse for your writing. So instead of belaboring the unfortunate event, like humorist Art Buchwald, ask yourself: "How can I use this stuff to my literary advantage?"

"I’m working when I’m fighting with my wife. I constantly ask myself - how can I use this stuff to my literary advantage." - Art Buchwald

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Writing is Like a Sport


Just last week, I was exhorting a student to practice his intellectual pursuits with the same intensity that legendary athletes, like Jordan and Tiger, practiced their sports.

And it appears that Rick Riordan, the New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson series, agrees with my methodology. Riordan advised writers:
Writing is like a sport, it's like athletics. If you don't practice, you don't get any better.