"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: Your Mother Should Know. Yeah, Right.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Your Mother Should Know. Yeah, Right.

Welcome to this week's uncertain world.

I don't know about you but when I listen to the news, I think the world is becoming more like George Orwell's 1984 every minute.

This morning Trump said, "We will not allow intolerance."

Does anyone else hear the absurdity of that statement? It's Orwell's Doublespeak. 

Anyway, this newsletter is about improving your English, rather than corrupting it!

Write From The Start - From Inspiration to Publication and Beyond

Keep Writing,

Rob Parnell
Your Success is My Concern

"Getting paid for writing is a triumph of tenacity over intelligence."

I love this quote - it's one of my favorites - not least because it's one of my mother's.

Mommie dearest has always regarded writers as odd sorts.

The idea that we would spend a large portion of our day knocking out words for no obvious reward has always struck her as, in her word, silly.

A waste of time basically and not the sort of occupation for a sane person.

She may be right but that doesn't stop it from being a compulsion for me - and most other writers I know.

I remember once when she came to visit me - which only happens about once a decade.

I was at a particular low point. Can't remember why. I think I'd just lost my way after a deal fell through. One of those times, you know?

It was with great glee and insistence that she leaped on my misfortune and told me the situation was a God-given sign that I should give up all this arty stuff and settle down - get a proper job and be normal, as though that's a cure for everything.

That one time, I mistakenly thought she was on to something and I got a job as a purchasing manager for a big city investment firm.

God how I hated that place - although the experience of working 9 to 5 did teach me a lot about human nature - more especially the dark side of my own!

Three years, a broken marriage, and a nervous breakdown later, the City and I parted on bad terms and I vowed, "Never again." 

Like you do.

I shouldn't have listened to my mother but I did.

It wasn't her fault.

I guess she thought she knew best but didn't really get my total inability to work for other people.

As I say, not her fault. Mine entirely for not understanding that you really do have to follow your own instincts, even when they seem 'contrariwise'.

A decade later I was able to tell mom about some of my paid writing credits and the quote above erupted from her.

She meant it in a derogatory way, as mothers often do, in case you were wondering. Implying the intelligence that would have me 'settle down' was again being corrupted by my 'arty' side.   

So be it. At least now I'm happy... probably all the more for having hovered near the abyss of the rat race and backed away from its empty allure before too much toxic exposure.

Yes, you need for an almost blind faith in yourself as a writer. But a faith that is moderated by the feedback you get.

And I don't mean feedback on your writing.

I mean the experiences you encounter.

There are many sharks out there - not all of them evil.

Some just want you to work for nothing because you're there - and they think that's what writers on the Net do.

Working for free is okay sometimes - if it's going to lead somewhere.

Most times it doesn't. Especially online.

It takes a particular tenacity (that word again) to recognize good opportunities - and profit from them as a writer in a world that is set up to regard writers as odd arty types who will (too often) work very hard for nada.

For a long time, I've been preaching that real writing work - and the real money for it - is off-line but I know this is not what modern would-be authors want to hear.

They want to believe the hype they hear from certain writing gurus.

Especially now that the Net is such a big part of many writers' lives.

Many of us need to believe that the Net can help - and it can, wonderfully, IF you know what to do, how to use it, and when, and why - but never rely on it to provide for everything.

In the meantime, my best advice would be: "Don't take advice from your mother!"

She doesn't always know best.

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