What Makes A Writer Evil?

I was going to post this on Monday, but I completely forgot about the crossposting thing I was going to do.

What am I talking about?

Well, a couple weeks ago I announced the launch of the Evil League of Evil Writers website, of which I’m a member. Monday saw my first blog post. I’ll be posting there every two weeks and crossposting those entries here – in theory; we’ve already seen how well I remembered to do that!

Anyway, better late than never, so here you are. Warning: Language and no sympathy. (Hi, Mom!)

Monday’s blog post, crossposted to the ELEW.

This week we continue the introductory posts of the ELEW members with the theme “What Makes You An Evil Writer?”

Today it’s my turn to answer that question.

Evil is not to be confused with “mean.” There is a vast difference between being mean and being evil. For example, being mean is setting people up to fail just to amuse you. Being evil is taking pleasure in their failure when they’ve set themselves up to fail despite your repeated warnings/attempts at educating them.

The Germans have a word for this concept – “schadenfreude.”

I am not mean.

I am evil.

Mostly.

Why am I an evil writer?

Because I have no patience, tolerance or compassion.

I have absolutely NO sympathy for self-inflicted wounds.

Note that. Self-inflicted wounds.

Being a writer is torture. It’s hard on the writer, it’s hard on the reader, and it’s devastation to the characters and worlds involved.

Not everyone is cut out to handle the kind of collateral damage that a writer endures, physical, mental and emotional. It’s a rough life, and like anything that isn’t easy, there are always people who want to claim the achievement without having to endure the hard work.

These people take shortcuts, generally make asses of themselves to everyone, everywhere, shove their “hard work/success” in the faces of those they’ve longed to impress, do the “I told you so” dance…

…then whine because not only is their work not selling, they’re not accepted by the writing community as either a professional or a writer.

I have no sympathy for these people.

There’s an icon someone created (I have it credited as made by the LJ user tuuli-chan) that I sometimes use on my Livejournal that says “easy reading is damned hard writing.”

That says it all. Writing is hard. It’s not just “put words on the page.” There’s a bit more to it than that.

Why do I bring this up?

Because I’m about to rip the whiners a new orifice.

Those sitting in the first five rows would do well to raise their plastic sheeting about now.

As stated above, I have no sympathy for self-inflicted wounds. I have absolutely no patience for people who whine about how they were ripped off by this “publishing company,”* or about how hard writing is, or how they’re suffering from writer’s block, or they want to write but don’t have time, or about the bad review of their work they read, or about how no one but their mom believes in them, or they don’t have a support group, or whatever.

Shut. The fuck. Up.

If you want to be a writer – a professional writer – then you’re going to have to learn to take a hit. Like a boxer, you’re going to have to work hard and train and hurt and bleed and then train some more while you’re hurting and bleeding. There is no training montage song provided. You have to come up with that on your own, and it’s going to take a little more than two minutes of “You’re The Best Around” or “Eye of the Tiger” to make you into a professional.

You want to get in the ring, you’re going to get hit, and I’ve got no sympathy for you if you’re going to whine about it when you do. You were warned. There’s a lot of absolutely free information out there from people who know what they’re talking about. Author blogs, agent blogs, writer’s resources – it’s all there if anyone bothers to look.

Real, professional writers do their research, and they don’t whine about it.

Writer’s block? Click here.

And that’s just one example. Fear of rejection? Covered. How to deal with rejection? Check. What to do once you’ve finished a manuscript? Also covered. Finding time to write? Plenty of info out there on that one. Tempting your Muse with chocolate?

I’d be careful with that one. You’ll probably end up on a porn site.

Actually, you’ll probably end up on a porn site regardless of what you search for, so please use your brain and remember that if anyone anywhere on the internet asks you for your money/credit card before you can access anything, look elsewhere.

Now that we’ve got that established, let’s continue.

Any question you have can be answered by the ALMIGHTY GOOGLE, and so I’m not about to sympathize with any excuse as to why you can’t act like the professional you’re claiming to be (or trying to be).

Somewhere, someone has had the same question as you, and they cope just fine.

Which brings me to another point. My fellow ELEW member, Bitchstress Dreamkiller Skyla Dawn Cameron, said it best: “Writers these days really have no excuse to be ignorant.”

I have no sympathy for those writers who could have known better with a five minute Google search on whether or not what they were doing was appropriate.

I also have no sympathy for people who behave badly, in person or online, especially writers.

If you’re trying to be a professional anything, it’s probably a good idea to learn how the professionals got to be that way and…I don’t know…emulate them?

Now, we’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all been n00bs at some point and we all start somewhere. We’ve all made blunders. If you don’t learn from those mistakes, or aren’t embarrassed by them once you learn you’ve made it (and apologize for it if appropriate), then you shouldn’t be trying to attain a level of professionalism you’re never going to make.

My point here is, I have no patience or sympathy for those who don’t bother to learn the game they’re trying to play.

I certainly have no sympathy for those who whine about something they’ve chosen to do being “too hard,” or they want to write and don’t have time,** that their shortcut didn’t work out the way they thought it would. Many writers would argue that writing isn’t a “choice,” but rather who they are, and they would be correct.

But becoming a professional is a choice. You want to write? Fine. Write. Write away. Be fruitful and multiply and all that.

You want to be a professional writer?

Learn to write well.

There are no shortcuts. You want to be a professional writer, you work hard, and you don’t whine about how hard it is. There’s a reason my alter ego on Twitter is #gunnyjames; an R. Lee Ermey-style encouragement-via-humiliation-and-degradation motivator.

If you act like an ass, I’ll treat you like an ass. If you act like a professional, I’ll treat you like a professional.

If you act like a candy-assed, cotton-wrapped, sheltered little wannabe writer whiner, I’ll simply point you back to the hole you crawled out of, because you don’t belong here with the rest of us. I will also bitch-slap you if you deign to compare your whiny ass to me. I’ve worked hard and know what I’m talking about. You don’t.

That’s what makes me an evil writer. I know the rules, I know how to play, and I’ll kick your ass up one side and down the other if you try and take me on with your unprofessional bullshit.

I’m also evil because I enjoy making people cry.

Are you crying?

Yes?

My work here is done.

No?

Come here for a second….

* Hi, yeah, that was a vanity press, and if you’d bothered to research them like, I don’t know, I TOLD YOU TO DO, maybe that wouldn’t have happened.

** This one seriously annoys the fuck out of me – you either want to write or you don’t. If you really wanted to write, you’d make the time, not excuses.