Put Up Or Shut Up


basketball

I’m the best basketball player there ever was, I’m sure of it. Even though I won’t practice, won’t dress out for games, and won’t study game tapes. Oh, and I don’t actually play. Don’t worry though, I’m totally the best. Just you wait world, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Hey folks, it’s been a while. Been finishing up with The Dusk Harbinger, started a brand new video game review site with a whole gamut of talented first time writers, and have been hustling every day. But that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.

I wanted to talk to you about cowardice of many writers, and why you need to knock that shit off. I’m going to give you some sternly and profanely worded truths. And if you can’t handle it, then you seriously need to ask yourself if you truly want to write, and want to be successful at it. Hold onto your butts, and if you think you’re brave enough to go on… then do so.

Look. I’m just going to get down to brass tacks. You say you want to be a writer? Then shut the hell up, and WRITE. This is not some kind of magic trick. You want to be a craftsman? Then craft.

Over the past few weeks, one of the most COMMON THINGS I’ve heard is people going, “I’m scared to write” or “I write but I don’t want anyone to see my work” or “I’ll get around to it.”

Oh boy, those are some classic excuses, aren’t they? Guess what, I’m going to let you in on a few secrets:

1. WE’RE ALL FUCKING SCARED. 

Seriously, every single time I sit down at the computer to write a blog post, my brain freezes and I lock up. And then you know what I do? I toughen the fuck up, put the plow to the ground and dig. It’s terrifying, every second of it. Writing THIS, right here and now, is terrifying. Do you want to know what courage is? Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is CONTINUING TO ACT in the face of fear. So what are you? Are you someone who lets fear rule you, or are you afraid and continue to act in spite of it?

2. YOU WILL FUCK UP.

News flash: Every single writer that ever existed, has made ridiculous errors in pursuit of his craft. And it can be anything, be it grammatical, or style choice, or picking the wrong illustrator, or even failing to properly save and archive his work somewhere. But you know what?

We LEARN from those mistakes. There is not a single carpenter in existence that hasn’t BASHED THE FUCK OUT OF HIS/HER HAND WITH A HAMMER, or a cook who hasn’t SPLASHED HOT GREASE ALL OVER HIM/HERSELF  at some point.

Error comes with the territory of craft. If you’re a writer, you’re going to commit errors. That’s just the way that it is. The sooner you figure that out, the better. But you can LEARN from those errors.

3. EVERYONE GIVES EXACTLY ZERO FUCKS ABOUT THE MATERIAL YOU DON’T RELEASE.

Yep, I said it. Got a manuscript sitting in a drawer, collecting dust somewhere? Thinking to yourself, “One day I might…”

Wrong. You won’t do SHIT with it. And if you’ve somehow deluded yourself into thinking that I’m wrong, guess what? The very fact that it’s sitting in your drawer still and you thinking about arguing with me about it is PROOF POSITIVE that you won’t. Because if you were going to? You would have done it by now.

Carpe fucking diem. SEIZE THE DAY. This day might be one of the last days you have on Earth, and you’re going to waste that time procrastinating? Brother/sister, I feel sorry for you. If you’ve got shit to say in your writing… DO IT. SAY IT. Your words have meaning to SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE. They just didn’t know that they needed to hear what you had to say, until they read it.

But if you never put it out, you might as well have never written it at all. A speech that is not spoken, a built chair that is not sat upon, and a meal cooked that is not ingested, is a waste to EVERYONE, including you. Because no one benefited from it.

4. SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DON’T GET AHEAD BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST AT WHAT THEY DO, THEY GET AHEAD BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO FUCKING STUBBORN AND HARD-HEADED TO QUIT.

It’s the truth. You ever notice a complete shit actor you might see on screen and think, “What a hack job, how did they even get paid for this?” Maybe it’s because they quit being full of fucking pride, and would take whatever job they could GET. Maybe it’s because even though they suck, they KEPT AT IT. They worked hard, and someone was drawn to them BECAUSE of that dedication.

You want to know how that is true? Because it IS my standard practice with Attack Initiative. Every single writer was handpicked by me, and you know why I chose them? Because they were ALREADY WRITING and they were doing it for NO ONE. I didn’t have to kick them in the ass to write. They already WANTED to, and didn’t have a big outlet for their voice. I merely provided them with one. And why? Because you can see their dedication manifest IN THEIR WORK. Every thing they write seems like it is the last thing they will ever write. They’re going to go far, incredibly far.

Guess what? Thousands of people have already SEEN their material, and they’re all rookies. They put their pride aside, listened to my coaching, and took that chance. Hell, one of our writers is already developing a cult following, and it’s all thanks to the fact that she stopped being scared and started expressing herself.

When I started off, I was a shitty writer. Now? I’m still a shitty writer, but I’m a PUBLISHED and KNOWN shitty writer.  I’ve moved 25,000 units of my book, doing it all MYSELF. When someone comes to look at me, they’re going to see that I’ve moved 25,000 units. That’s not an opinion. That’s a RAW FACT. And I didn’t wait for someone to tell me it was okay to do so.

5. YOU ARE A FUCKING SALESMAN/WOMAN. ACT LIKE IT.

Yep. You’re an unknown, got a little piece of material all ready to go? Can’t find a publisher who wants your work?

Fuck it, publish it yourself. You have ALL THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO YOU to make that happen. YOU are making the choice of not making money writing. YOU are the one that is keeping you from being “published.” If you want other people to take you seriously? TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY. You might not be the hottest new thing under the sun, but if you act like you ARE, that shit is infectious. People will believe you because you are confident in your ability. That will draw them to you.

Guess what? Don’t have any money to pay for marketing? Then you better get out there and hustle and market that shit on your own. Again, you have all the tools available to you. You’re using the SAME TOOLS that the professionals use. Google Adwords, Facebook  Ads, all that stuff. The only difference is that you’re paying someone to do it for you. Or, you could be smart, save yourself a few hundred bucks and learn how to do it YOURSELF. Not only that, you just picked up a marketable skill in the process.

You are literally the FIRST cheerleader for your writing. It is your baby, your child, your creation. NO ONE should try and represent it harder than you.

You will fail at marketing. DON’T STOP TRYING. Just like I said before, there is at least ONE OTHER PERSON on this planet that needs to read the words that you have to say. If one person benefits from your words, IT IS WORTH IT.

6. IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE THEORETICAL HEAT, DON’T PRETEND TO BE IN THE FUCKING KITCHEN.

If anything I said up above rustled your jimmies and you’re all offended? Tough. Because every major publisher is going to tell you the exact same thing, in much friendlier language. This industry, like any other, is dog eat dog one. Nobody cares about your feelings. Nobody cares about you quaking in your boots. You quitting is ONE LESS CRAB IN THE BUCKET  trying to get out. Get the hell out of the way so the rest of us can try and climb on top of the pile.

If you want to harden up your resolve and stay in the game, then by all means stay. But you better act like you’re going to have to fight, because guess what? It’s a fight to the top, this is the fucking Highlander and there can be ONLY ONE. 

7. OLIVER SAYS FUCK ALOT.

He does, doesn’t he?

pride

You may feel a slight sting. That’s pride, fucking with you. FUCK PRIDE. Pride only hurts. It never helps. You fight through that shit.

Now that you’ve finished reading this, what are you going to do? Are you going to cry about it, or are you going to MAKE A CHANGE? Instead of being whimsical about your alleged dream, are you going to start actively pursuing it? Are you STRONG enough to beat the odds? The ball, just like at the very top of this post, is in your court.

Nobody is going to dribble the fucking ball for you. Get your hands on it and do it yourself. When you’re ready to take your shot, we’ll all be watching.

Now I want you to print this post out. Pin it to your wall, where you can easily see it when you write. And I want you to say to yourself, “FUCK YEAH, I’m going to get some shit DONE now, today, and forever.”

~Oliver

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