How to Be a Contemporary Writer

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

7. … The truth is that a significant percentage of the slush pile … is absolutely terrible because people are lazy and will submit any old thing. If you can write a good sentence you are already heads and shoulders above most of what is found in submission queues.

8. Be nice. The community is small and everyone talks. Being nice does not mean eating shit. Being nice does not mean kissing ass. Being nice just means treating others the way you would prefer to be treated. If you’re comfortable being treated like an asshole, then by all means.

19. Participate in the literary community in the ways you are comfortable participating. What matters is that you contribute. That could be subscribing to a magazine, attending a reading, volunteering at a literary magazine, and so on. (See #8)

22. You will probably need a job unless you’re fine with financial stress. Yes you can have a job and be a writer. It happens all the time. I used to be fine with financial stress because I was young and my fantasies were exciting. I am not anymore because I am old and I love my apartment and health insurance and buying stupid shit. A job facilitates these things so keep it in mind. There are worse things than a job.

Roxane Gay offers a welcome perspective, in twenty-five points, that actually gives hope to those of us who have convinced ourselves that we have stories worth telling.


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