A writer’s guide to avoiding self-improvement by staying in your comfort zone.
BY CLAYTON GRAY
You’re an original writer, nay, an artist. Your mother gets your sense of wit and your partner adores your clever prose.
Tabloids won’t publish your articles, let alone your letters, but as long as your family reserves a couch for you to crash on, your career to nowhere can continue uninterrupted.
Maintain your pedestrian style of writing with these five tips to stay a cut below the rest.
1. Use ALL the Adverbs
Experts say that adverbs can be unnecessary, but you know better. Adverbs refine your pieces. How else would your readers know you slowly strolled?
Writers who tell you to drop the modifier and use a rousing verb instead are as weak as the adverbs they despise. You need to tell your story quickly, not show how things happened. Your readers might not appreciate your lack of imagination, but deep down you’re too embarrassed to succeed anyway.
2. Plagiarise Everything
Some people have good ideas and say great things. Sometimes you’re not sure if you thought of it first or if somebody else said it. There’s no need to check if your idea is unique because chances are it isn’t. Besides, avoiding plagiarism means research.
Remember, you’re an expert in the field of averageness. Don’t research or improve by learning from your favourite writers. There’s something that works better; it’s called theft. Terry Pratchett is dead, he won’t mind. The Discworld is yours for the taking. Besides, what’s he going to do? Haunt you for the rest of your life? That’s what guilt and Terry’s family are for.
3. Don’t Start a Blog
Blogs require you to write more. They prompt you to think about how you write; they teach you how to edit; they make you a better person. Don’t fall into the trap of applying yourself. You might get paid for your writing, which turns it into a job.
A blog also shows you have something to say. It helps you build your portfolio and sharpen your style and voice, which you don’t need to do because your uncle likes the articles you email him every second Tuesday.
4. Don’t Take a Writing Course
Writing courses offer you one thing: improvement, which is the enemy. They help you take your writing from the commonplace to an unexplored level of readability. Who needs that?
The worst thing that you could do is enrol into a writing course just so that some professional writer can peruse and edit your work. They’ll validate you and give you that sense of direction that you’ve always felt you lack. What a waste of time.
Stay where you are, on that couch, at home, alone. You don’t need other people’s aunties reading your work.
5. Start a Drug Routine
A favourite pastime for Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson was substance abuse. They were both successful writers. Of course, Hemingway refrained from indulging while writing but Thompson didn’t and look at his gonzo career.
You might not share their tolerance, talent or discipline but don’t let that stop you from experimenting. You too could have that same experience and success if you throw caution to the wind and start a healthy routine of narcotic indulgence. And once your creativity has run dry, at least you’ll have a story to write about when you get out of rehab.
In conclusion, there is no need for you to move your art to a position of greatness, which will happen if you don’t follow these steps. Stay lame; it’s clearly what you want to put out there.
On the other hand, your mother would be happy if you improved and got other people to read your work. Even she needs a break sometimes.
About the Author
Clayton Ralph Gray has had a long interest in writing and has had several of his poems published. In the past, he ran a somewhat successful poetry blog, which he has since abandoned in favour of running a drinks-orientated blog, The Thirsty Rambler, with his wife. In his free time, Clayton can be found sipping interesting beers with squirrels on mountaintops while contemplating life’s eternal nuances.