|"Quit whining and get writing."|
Picture an office, the frosted glass door emblazoned with the words: Writing Agony Uncle. A writer, clutching a bunch of rejection letters and a hefty manuscript, taps timidly on the doorframe.
The writer touches the door handle, feeling his sweat against the brass.
"Take a seat."
The Agony Uncle leans back in his seat, feet on the desk. He's wearing a Sam Spade fedora. "Shoot."
The writer slumps into a chair, wondering why the office decor dates to the 1930s. He passes over his rejection slips. "It's just not fair!"
The Agony Uncle flicks through the pages, nodding at the occasion titbit of feedback. "Of course it ain't fair, you stoopid Limey." (He's American.) "Who said it's supposed to be fair? It's nature - survival of the thickskinned. Kill or be killed. Use what you got." He senses a bunch of excuses are about to be pitched his way and picks pulls a baseball bat out of the drawer.
"I'm too old to be a successful writer."
"Funny you should say that. Helen Hooven Santmyer was published at 88."
"Well, then I'm too young to be a successful writer."
"Interesting. Christopher Beale had a book launch for This and Last Season's Excursions when he was six years old."
"Okay, but I've had too many rejections to be a successful writer."
"Four words - Gone with the Wind." (Reputed to have earned 38 rejections.)
I've had too few rejections to be a successful writer.
(Flicks through the sheets.) "Somehow I doubt that! What else ya got, kid?"
"I'm not educated enough, I'm too unphotogenic to be an author, and I don't have the right connections."
The Agony Uncle is silent for a while, weighing the bat in his hand. "I hear your pain, kid; sure I do. But you're missing the point. And the point is..."
(After a long pause.) "To...erm...write?"
"Bingo. Write a compelling, knock-me-down-on-my-ass novel and see how those hang-ups fade to the background. Sure, get an education; get some professional headshots - or a stand-in; network and schmooze until you get an 'in'. But remember that the writing comes first. Okay?"
"Now, move along. I've got a two o'clock who's struggling to match the success of her first novel. Jeez, you writers - you'e never content!"
So, what are your excuses and how do you overcome them?