I love Extra Credits on Youtube. “So you want to be a game designer” gives the best advice on how to create things. He was talking about games, but it works with writing. I thought at 15 that I was going to be established in my career as a writer as certainly as I knew the JFK documents were going to be released in 2017.
But on top of all the technical aspects that you need to be on top of to be at the best of your game, when you create something for others, you are creating experiences. And in order to create them, you need to live them. Not the ones particularly; you’ll never know what it’s like to be in freefall when your reverse thrusters give out, but with a well-lived life, you should be able to borrow the foundation of those emotions from memory.
On Reddit, someone asked how to find time to write during school. Everyone else told them to make time, but I told them not to steal from their future in order to write. Anything most people write in their early twenties isn’t going to be very good. To give up precious energy needed to keep a roof over your head, your family together, and your school work up to date, the most expendable thing on the list you need to do is write. Sleep is far more important.
The life of a starving artist is a complete lie. As humans, when we feel threatened, we play it safe. We’re loss-oriented. Fear makes us cautious and caution keeps us safe. Great work comes out from great suffering, yadda yadda yadda, but that’s the .000001% that made that one in a million shot and won. The other 999,999 people who tried the exact same thing failed. And if someone thinks they’re that one in a million writer, the best of luck to them. For the rest of us, it’s a hard grind to get from where you are to where you want to be, and my mother’s two pieces of advice have never been more appropriate. Never draw to an inside straight, and it takes 20 years to become an overnight success. In that 20 years, if you live your life to the best of your ability you might be one of the 2% of authors who can live off what they make writing. But realistically, you probably won’t. But it’s a lot easier to be part of the 2% than it is the .000001%. Huh. That should be the title of the post.