Lesson one: define yourself
Compulsive - ‘If I don’t scribble down my insightful slices of wit/genius/woe right now my mind will literally implode in a sticky, angst-ridden mess.’
Dreamer – ‘I want to write, but I just don’t know what about...’
One-time wonder – Breaks through with a lifetime’s labour of love. They may only have one novel inside them, but they have the sense to make it a damn good one.
Memoir miserablist - Taints the literary world with details of their (possibly fabricated) abusive/difficult childhood and/or time in rehab. A self-righteous tone is essential. Ditto details of horrific depravity coupled with triumph of the human spirit.
Obsessive - Unlike the compulsive, the obsessive enjoys writing for its own sake. They have clocked up their 10,000 hours of genius-making time before puberty, whilst their peers were still lost in the follies of navel-gazing. Once their genius reaches its inevitable peak, they will be forced to publish under a myriad of jazzy pseudonyms so as not to flood the unsuspecting market.
Good poet – Expresses various elements of the human condition in an array of elegant and quietly affecting musings.
Bad poet – Believes that they are doing the above simply by omitting punctuation and capital letters.
Glory hound– Unavoidable. Gain respect by not pretending that your work is nothing more than a twee hobby for which you partake for your own amusement/therapeutic reasons. You’ve already rehearsed your interviews numerous times already – more reason to get it right whence that hallowed day arrives.
Be clear in your own mind as to which type of writer you are going to become and hope for the best. Your journey is sure to be long, arduous and largely unfulfilling, but that’s pretty much the point. There is absolutely no point in styling yourself as a writer if you can’t bitch about it every step of the way.Not found your type? The full list can be found here.
Next week: Discover your 'process'...