“Write like everyone you know is dead…”
Joe Lansdale said that in the post that he allowed me to copy here last night. And I wanted to point out that one simple things he says. Here is what he said on the topic in total:
“Write like everyone you know is dead. To hell with everyone else’s opinion when you write. Write for yourself. I don’t have a perfect reader in mind. That works for some, but it makes me write for them which means I might not be writing for me. I have no idea what anyone else will like. I only know what I like, so I write for me. It’s a wonderfully selfish moment. When I’m done, and the book or story is out there, then I hope a lot of folks like it. But face it, you can’t be universally admired, so don’t try to be.”
I can’t begin to tell you how important that advice is. Newer writers look at me askance when I say I never care about reviews on my work, about trying to get people to read my books to give me reviews, that I never read reviews, and never ever want anyone to give me their opinion of my work.
Why? Because, as I have said often, your opinion of me or my work means nothing at all to me. I write for myself and not one other person, ever. I write to entertain myself, telling stories I want to read. So I write them.
Writing to market, working for reviews, writing for your local workshop, or worse yet, letting someone read a work-in-progress all fits under the same ugly poison umbrella. And it will, given time, kill your writing. You will become so consumed about chasing some false market or what others think, you will drive all the joy from your writing and then just stop.
Sadly, I have seen it so many times over the decades.
So if you don’t believe me or Kris about this, listen to Joe Lansdale and that one paragraph above. It just might save your writing career. Not kidding.