f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Hardest Advice

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Hardest Advice

This one comes straight from my mentor/prof at Penn State, too.

The piece of advice he gave us was this: if you can do without it, then don't write.

In context, he was talking about what all of us young pup undergrads were going to do for the rest of our lives. For many, the road after the B.A. would lead straight into a Master's program. He wasn't a big fan of the idea. He thought all of us should get away from it, try to stay away from it. If we couldn't, then we were ready to take the next step.

As well, he took great issue with people who, when asked what they did said, "I'm a writer." He thought that term belonged to hacks or for people who do copywriting or technical writing. The answer he wanted to hear: "I write."

I love the full-frontal challenge of these two ways of looking at things. We're a bit mamby-pamby (that's a technical term) about stuff sometime and it's good to get a swift slap to the conscious. Writers tend to towards self-absorption and self-seriousness so abruptness can be a good thing now and then.