Advice for Writers

Some useful advice for writers

  • Change your underwear, at least once a week (whether you need to or don’t).
  • Drink beer.
  • Never refer to a writing group as a “circle jerk”, in public.
  • If you think cocaine is the drug of choice for writers, then you have unrealistic expectations of financial returns.
  • Never drink wine at a book launch.
  • Open your own fan page on Facebook and invite everyone to become your fan. Do not be offended if they all think you’re a jerk.
  • If you really have nothing to say, write an article on the tools you use as a writer. When discussing anonymous proxies, make sure to stress you use them due to civil rights issues, not to look at porn.
  • When writing hard SF, make sure to use the terms “post-human”, “singularity” and “quantum”. Write an awkward sex scene. Wait for fame and fortune to come your way.
  • You are too good to be nominated for awards.
  • Write with the door closed, to keep out the bailiffs. Re-write with the door open, to keep an eye on them coming back.
  • Never refer to your “shitty four room apartment.” Some of us would kill for that much space.
  • Never play cards with a man named Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Donuts are bad for you. Coffee is good.
  • Drink lots of coffee.
  • When people ask what you do, never, ever say “writer”, unless you want people’s eyes to glaze over. Say “Sanitation Engineer”, which is both more interesting and a more accurate way to describe what you really do.
  • If you’re just starting out, remember publishing is a global conspiracy designed to keep you out.
  • If you’re in mid-career, make sure to complain on your blog about the lack of suitable advice for mid-career writers.
  • If you’re Dan Brown make sure to complain about the vintage of Champaign not being expensive enough and ruining your bath.
  • If you’re in America, make sure to go to conventions. The best way to “break in” is to corner an editor at the bar and telling them how great you are.
  • Never buy an editor a drink. That’s what they have those huge expense accounts for.
  • Run for political office, but for someone like the socialists or the libertarians, to make sure you don’t get in. It would make you look interesting.
  • Complain about paper submissions.
  • Get an agent. It will give you something to complain about.
  • Make sure to eat at least once a day, whether you can afford to or not.
  • They don’t send people to Australia any more for stealing bread.
  • If you really have nothing to say, guest-blog.
  • Finally, repeat the following procedure to become a successful writer:
  • 10 Write
  • 20 Coffee
  • 30 Write
  • 40 Beer
  • 50 GOTO 10
  • Trust me on the underwear.

Thank you.

Lavie Tidhar is the author of The Bookman (Angry Robot Books) and follow-ups Camera Obscura and Night Music, both forthcoming from the same publisher. His latest book, novella Cloud Permutations, is just out from PS Publishing in the UK.

13 comments on “Advice for Writers

  1. Sam says:

    “Never buy an editor a drink. That’s what they have those huge expense accounts for.”

    I’ve been doing it wrong on so many levels: 1. buying editors drinks; 2. not having a huge expense account; 3. not having drinks bought for me.

  2. I am so beer right now.

  3. Jaymee Goh says:

    Yes but how many lucky panties / boxers / briefs are we allowed??!

  4. Dylan Fox says:

    I’m T-total. *That* explains all these rejection slips I’ve been collecting!

  5. Hellbound Heart says:

    coffee……….good…..toomuchcoffeeisevenbetterohyeahohyeahohyeah835984570342985709y tuy

  6. Kathy S says:

    Pfft. Being a Sanitation Engineer requires a certain level of education.

  7. Coffee plus sugar, you mean. Caffeine is NOTHING without sugar.
    My advice to writers is not to advice writers. They are too good to taking advices.

  8. I think I’ve noticed an error in your procedure. Surely beer should come before writing, or am I doing it all wrong?

  9. sara davis says:

    I’m not sure how the underwear thing applies if you don’t wear underwear.
    Should I change my pants, or dress, or nightie or what? Geeeeez, you could be a bit more clear. This is way too complicated. I don’t know how to fit it in with other advice I have cataloged and not followed.
    Due to its complexity, I’m not going to recommend this advice to my virtual pretending-to-be-writer friends.

  10. “Always make sure your first published work is anonymous.”

  11. Jessie Mac says:

    Oh man, I’ve not done any of these – oh except for the coffee bit. I’ve not even met an editor to be able to not offer he/she a drink! Oh, is that why when I tell people I’m a sanitation engineer, their eyes glaze over? Like Kathy said, it does require a certain level of education. I worked for that certificate I printed out. That reminds me, time for another cup of coffee.

  12. “You are too good to be nominated for awards.” Hehehe, so THAT is the kind of writer advice list this is. ;) Luckily, I am familiar with a few of these….


  13. At times you arrive throughout a post that just would seem to create sense. Thank you a good deal

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