Delusions of grandeur or suckiness; neither serve you well

Do you suffer from delusions of grandeur?

A long time ago, I was contacted by a guy who wanted help with his book. This book, he said, was a bestseller! It had everything! It was a biography, and he already knew who would play him in the movie adaptation.

Helpful as I tend to be, I told him to write that book! (Did I mention that he hadn't written it, yet?) And then, after he wrote it, he should edit it. And then get it published.

He wanted me to do all of that, of course. Because this was a sure-fire bestselling book. When I declined, as I had books of my own to write, he seemed a tad miffed.

I'm not sure, from a psychological standpoint, what it is that makes some people believe that they are fabulous in nearly every respect, especially in their chosen fields of endeavor. And those of us living in the real world tend to view assertions of greatness with a smirk. But who am I to judge? That guy's book might very well be the next huge hit about a drug addled motorcycle ga…

What Makes a Story Great?

When I started all of this writing and publishing nonsense, I had a hard time finishing a novel. I'd start rather strong and then, after a few thousand words, lose heart. My story wasn't great enough. There wasn't enough conflict, not enough action. The stakes weren't high enough or I couldn't figure out the stakes at all.

But that all changed one night while I sat in bed reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.

Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors. There is only one book of his that I didn't like. The rest are wonderful. And as I sat reading A Long Way Down, something smacked me on the head. A realization. This book is very simple. A group of people meet atop a building on New Year's Eve all with the intention of hurling themselves off it. It's not as silly as it seems. This particular building has a history of that sort of thing. Anyway, they meet, they manage to put off jumping. And from that point on, their lives are entangled.

There were no gr…

Everyone really does have a book inside...

First, we have to talk about the title of this post.

It should read: Everyone really does have a book inside him. But people won't like that, because I said "him." That's sexist. So, I'd say: Everyone really does have a book inside him or her. But that's too long and awkward. What a lot of people would do, is write: Everyone really does have a book inside them. But I cannot abide the singular "they."

The word "they" is plural. Yes, yes, I know that it's been used in a singular manner forever. But I don't like it. It doesn't sound right to my ears. I use it all the time in speech, but I suppose for me, writing is different. It's more thoughtful. Meaningful. Important. So it must be done correctly. (That's all bullshit, of course.)

Rant over.

It's true. You have a book inside you. Probably more than one. Everyone has a story. We know this. How?

Because storytelling is innate. It's part of the human experience. We&…

Why do we write?

This morning, last night's dishes calling to me from the kitchen were a hated chore, instead of the welcome distraction they've become these last months.

For so long, getting myself into my office in the morning to write has been like pulling teeth. That's a terrible metaphor, really. Pulling teeth is easy. Just grab and yank. It's getting the patient to sit still in the chair while you're doing it that's the hard part.

I've been stuck for so long inside my own negativity and self doubt. I knew the only cure was to just keep plugging away, keep trying, never give up. (I have a paper weight on my desk that says: Never, never, never quit. A quote supposedly by Winston Churchill.) Eventually, something will kick in. And it finally did. I was eager to get to my writing projects this morning.

A lot of people might say, "If you hate it so much, if it's so hard, why do it? Just do something else."

Why do we do it? Why do we write? Why do we put ours…

Who am I to lecture...?

Seriously. Who the hell do I think I am? Why should you listen to me? Why should you care what I have to say about writing and publishing?

You shouldn't.

That's right. Just click off and go back to something more important. Because I'm a nobody. I assure you, you won't be the first person to think I'm not anything special and have nothing to say about the subject of writing.

But, if you think it might be fun, and if you have this eerie feeling that you agree with me a bit about this whole writing and publishing thing, then stick around. At the very least, you'll hear a rogue opinion.

But, let's talk more about me. I'm not my favorite subject, but there are a few things you might want to know.

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first short story in fifth grade. I wrote my first novel in middle school. I don't remember anything about it. I wrote my second novel in high school. It was awful! My main character's name was…

Can you really be a rogue writer?

So many writers are suckered in by the idea that they cannot write a book all by themselves. They've been taught that it takes a village to write one. A village of critique group members, editors, beta readers, agents, and back again.

But that's not true. In fact, it will actually be damaging to your writing and your book to put yourself and it through this gauntlet of "writing by committee*."

But can you do it alone? I mean...can you do it alone?

Here's the thing. There are as many approaches to writing a book or a story as there are...okay maybe not that many approaches. But the approach you take is likely the approach you take when you challenge yourself to do anything.

Take me, for example. I'm one of those crazy people who, when I want to do something, goes all in.

Here's a story (I'm a writer, remember? I tell stories. This one won't be particularly exciting, but it's a morality tale.):

Some twenty or thirty years ago (yeah, I'm tha…

I'm going to tell you how to be a writer...

That's right. I am going to give you the secrets to becoming a successful writer!
Except that I'm not.

Welcome to the first Rogue Writer blog post! This blog exists, undoubtedly, because someone or something on the Internet pissed me off and I feel the need to write about it. Actually, I've been thinking about this for a long time. I'd like to write a book about writing books, but that seems daunting. Better to put it all in a blog.

So, if you're here, you want to be a writer. I can tell you how to do that. But I really can't. The truth is that, despite what most other people will say, no one can tell you how to be a writer or how to write a book or a story. You have to figure it out for yourself. But I can tell you a few things.

1. Stop listening to other people.
2. Do whatever it is you have to do to write the way you want to write.
3. Stop trying to please other people.
4. Trust yourself.

There are as many ways to write a story as there are people writing t…