You don’t want to be a writer.
No, no, I know. You think it’s all kittens and rainbows. It’s one big wordgasm, an ejaculation of unbridled creativity. It’s nougat-filled. It’s pillows, marshmallows, parades. It’s a unicorn in a jaunty hat.
Oh, how sweet the illusion. My job, though, is to put my foot through your dreams with a high karate kick.
Consider this your reality check. You’ll note that I do this periodically: I’m here, standing at the edge of the broken bridge in the pouring rain, waving you off — it’s too late for me. My car’s already gone over the edge. I’ve already bought the magic beans. I’ve already bought into the fairy’s lie. I tried to pet the unicorn in its jaunty hat and it ran me through with its corkscrew horn, and now I am impaled.
See my hands? They’re shaking. They won’t stop. I’m like Tom Hanks in Shaving Ryan’s Privates.
I am too far gone.
You, on the other hand, may yet be saved. I see a lot of you out there. An army of writers. Glistening eyes. Lips dewy with the froth of hope. You’re all so fresh. So innocent. Unmolested by the truth.
And so it is time for my annual “Holy Crap The New Year Is Here And Now You Should Reevaluate Your Shit And Realize You’d Be Much Happier As An Accountant Or Botanist Or Some Fucking Thing” post.
More reasons you do not — awooga, awooga, caution, cuidado, verboten — want to be a writer:
It’s The Goddamned Publipocalypse And Now We’re All Doomed
The meteors are coming. Tides of fire are washing up on beaches. Writers are running scared. The publishing industry has heard the seven trumpets and it wails and gibbers.
It’s bad out there.
You know how many books you have to sell to get on the New York Times Bestseller List? Four. You sell four print copies of a book, whoo, dang, you’re like the next Stephen King. Heck, some authors are selling negative numbers. “How many books did you sell this week?” “Negative seven.” “I don’t understand.” “My books are like gremlins. You spill water on them and they multiply. And then pirates steal them and give them away for free. Hey, do you have a gun, because I’d like to eat it.”
Borders pissed the bed. Editors are out of work. Fewer authors are being signed and for less money up front. Jesus, you have a better shot of getting eaten by a bear and a shark at the same time.
And e-books. Pshhh. Don’t even get me started on e-books. Did you know that they eat real books? They eat them right up. That’s what the “e” stands for. “Eat Books.” I’m not messing with you, I have seen it happen. Plus, every time an e-book is born, a literary agent gets a tapeworm. True fact.
I’m cold and frightened. The rest of us writers, we’re going to build a bunker and hole up in it. Maybe form some kind of self-publishing cult and wait out the Pubpocalypse in our vault. We’ll all break down into weird little genre-specific tribes. Horror slashers, elf-fuckers, steampunk iron men, and space whores. But it’ll be the poets who will win. The poets with their brevity and their stanzas. And their bloody claws.