Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Rules

By Tracy Kiely

Despite numerous books to the contrary, there are no hard and fast set of rules that writers must follow to be successful. What works for you, might not work for me. Don’t believe me? Just ask Stephen King. That man has broken nearly every publishing “rule” over the years and has grown ridiculously rich while doing it. Here are just a few “rules” that he’s smashed over the course of his career:

  • Don’t change Point Of View (see The Stand)
  • Don’t write drunk/high (see just about all of his work from the Eighties)  
  • Don’t self-publish on the internet (see UR)

Devoting yourself full-time to writing is just another “rule” that is up for interpretation (and another one that King “broke” early in his career by working as a teacher). So that said, I’ve compiled my own list of pros and cons for this particular "rule" to help you make the choice that is right for you. Feel free to add your own! 
Pros for day job:
  • For mystery writers work environment provides numerous opportunities to interact with people who inspire murder
  • Provides reason to buy nice clothes
  • Free cake randomly given for singing unenthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday
  • No TV to call you away from your work, “Hey, Tracy! Hoarders is on! And you won’t believe the crap that this lady keeps!”
  • Usually someone always brings in munchkins
  • For those days when writer’s block has you by the throat, you can focus on your day job without guilt

Pros for full-time writer:
  • You don’t have to deal with crazy bosses/co-workers
  • You can excuse being seen at the supermarket wearing clothes normally found on participants of What Not To Wear by explaining how you got caught up in a lengthy call with your agent. 
  • Don’t have to sing Happy Birthday at random times during the day to co-workers you barely know
  • Hoarders is on!
  • Joy of being able to sit all day at your desk doing what you love

Of course, there are more reasons. There always are. Tell me yours!


Catriona McPherson said...

Love it! Facebook does a great watercooler impersonation, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Plus as a full-time writer, people always think a) you're rich and b) you're interesting

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I totally concur with all of your pros for the day job, especially the birthday cake. As for the Munchkins, we get bagels instead. Also, I'm convinced that if I gave up my day job, I wouldn't be nearly as organized or focused with my writing time. My innate laziness would bubble to the top in no time.