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Mar 5 / King Kaufman

Advice for aspiring writers, Step 1: Stop aspiring

I really like this blog post that B/R NFL writer Michael Schottey passed along by writer and game designer Chuck Wendig.

Headlined “25 things I want to say to so-called “aspiring” writers,” the post is a bracing splash of cold water to the face of any, well, aspiring writers. And it all starts with that very phrase:


Here are the two states in which you may exist: person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing. It’s as ludicrous as saying, “I aspire to pick up that piece of paper that fell on the floor.” Either pick it up or don’t. I don’t want to hear about how your diaper’s full. Take it off or stop talking about it.

Some of my other favorites include “Reading does not make you a writer,” “Overnight success probably isn’t” and “Talking about writing is not the same as writing.” And since we just finished National Grammar Day, it’s a good time to note this pair of observations:


… in order to know when they must be broken.

… in order to know why they matter.

What advice would you give to “so-called ‘aspiring’ writers”? Mine is Make every word count.

Your turn, in the comments.

  • Scott Carasik

    My biggest advice is put the ink to the paper. Just write. Every day. write something. You don’t have to publish, but put some thought into it. Outline or frame out your next article. Do something a bit different.

  • Michael Dunlap

    My advice would be to be as flexible as possible. It’s easier to stay fresh when you’re doing many different things and challenging yourself.

  • k m

    concentrate on your own game, don’t obsess over the competition because there aren’t a finite number of reads out there for online writers. the more you write, the more you notice you’ll improve.

  • Writerman

    Don’t stress about the format…at first. Just sit down and write. Don’t think about word counts either. That can come later too. Just get your thoughts down. Get the ideas on paper. Then go back and clean it up.

  • Chris Stephens

    Write about what you’re passionate about. That’s how many of us got in the game in the first place. Also, the best piece of advice I ever received was “periods are a good thing.”

  • Jonathan Snowden

    While discourse with the readers is important, I’d be careful about how much value to place on negative comments. I don’t think it’s a good metric for success or failure.

  • Kay Jennings

    Quit doing laundry. Quit futzing about the kitchen. Just go sit down at your computer and write a sentence.
    Oh, I forgot. You don’t do laundry. Right.

  • Michael Schottey

    Be you! (And by that, I mean two separate, distinct and important points).

    First—Don’t think for a second that who you are on Twitter and Facebook isn’t your “professional” self. You are you, all the time. If you wouldn’t say or do something in front of the person who signs your paychecks, don’t say or do it online. Even great writers have trouble finding work if no one wants to work with them.

    Second—Stop trying to be “the next” anyone. Find your own voice. I don’t want to read someone trying to be the “next” Simmons, Whitlock or Reilly.