Joe Bob Briggs on How to Become a Writer
This is a lightly-edited list of king shlockmeister Joe Bob Briggs's advice for budding writers. Like all writing advice, it boils down to “apply ass to chair,” but with a fair bit more Job Bob colour:
- The way you become a writer is you WRITE. Every day. No exceptions.
- What you write is not important.
- Nobody is going to steal your idea.
- THERE ARE NO NEW IDEAS. There are only individual expressions of old ideas.
- Be honest. It always works.
- Don't listen to anybody's opinions about what you write, especially your friends and family. (I don't mean ignore these people. I mean listen to the voice inside you that says "That's good" and "That stinks." It's the only voice that doesn't lie.)
- Never be afraid to write something that stinks. The more stinky stuff you put out, the more risks you take. And the more risks you take, the better chance you have of creating something beautiful. No great writer has ever been a wimp.
- If you can explain how to write a book, then you don't know how to write one. If you can write a book, then you won't be able to explain how you did it. It's stupid, but it's true.
- There are no membership cards or initiation rites for this profession. Anybody with a sheet of paper can do it. So you become a writer on the day you say "I'm a writer." It doesn't matter where your income comes from. The work you take joy from is writing.
- Nobody can tell you how to write, but there are certain things you can do to get to a PLACE where you can write. There are three of them: Write every day. Write every day. Write every day.
This is all I know.