Hey, Matthew Sherling was in San Francisco and now he’s in Georgia I think, anyway he does great stuff with this thing called “Cutty Spot” which is good including writer interviews. I asked him for his best or worst writing advice and he sent me a boatload (DO PEOPLE STILL SAY THIS?) and I cut out a few bits from an email (THAT WAS TOO MUCH INFORMATION PROBABLY).
Agree or Disagree?
Well, that depends on the context? Matthew’s speaking from a creative writing background, so yeah write what excites you. But sometimes the writing isn’t exciting, it’s work. But you can still find some strategies and games with your head to make it exciting, such as “At least I’m writing and sitting at a computer and generally participating in the creative economy compared to doing BLANK” so then you feel better about yourself.
But if someone’s going to send me a check to write a screenplay about alien-dog-martians (PLEASE DO SEND THAT CHECK, THANKS) then I’m going to pump myself up in anyway possible, even if I’m not totally into the subject matter, but maybe I can create some struggles with the character that I semi-sorta can relate to.
But yeah, the writing that you’re doing because you want to? The writing’s no one paying you to do? Then it’s exciting times. I do agree (!!!) with the trap that Matthew describes in that first slice, that we can get into ruts as creative writers where we try to “act” like our favorite writer or do what’s acceptable in the (slim) chance that we get published. That just seems like an errand that no one should want to do. Unless you are the massive people-pleasing type or have bad taste, then you’ll probably be able to write that really cool generic romance novel that sells millions.
Okay, wait, yes do the latter. Sell out your writing each and every time, you’ll find excitement when the checks flow in, then you can be excited (GENUINELY!) for your next project.