You will end up sacrificing something for this

The first draft of this rule was just, “Quit drinking!” which was a bit more personalized than necessary! Though I’m guessing you understand what I meant by that. If not, I’m sure you know how important alcohol can be to others. But if drinking isn’t your thing, I recommend giving up whatever its equivalent is. I’m sure you’re picturing what that is now.

If you’re going to only sometimes use your spare time to read, or only sometimes write, we may never hear of you. If that’s fine by you, it’s fine by me. But don’t pretend it’s fine if it isn’t. That’s just making excuses.

This isn’t the same as saying, “Those of you with 80+ hour commitments per week elsewhere in life should forget about success.” That’s not the case at all. It may well take those people longer, and that’s fine. What I am saying is: commit, commit, commit, as best you can, however that means to you.

Writing is a sacrifice in itself, of course. We writers are wonderful people—but mostly because we write. In real life, lots of us are weirdos, incapable of formulating coherent sentences, with nothing to report of our own lives because we spent them in dark rooms with our imagination for company.

It tends to be true that the better the writer, the more boring a life that they lead; the more time spent writing, the weirder the person.

It’s a paradox I still haven’t wrapped my head around: how is it that these people who spend their time creating characters—that are if not likeable then at least relatable, and if not relatable, at least act in realistic ways—cannot function in public?

All that time spent alone can make a person narcissistic. It places too much weight on the person’s own problems versus those of others. It causes a person to exalt their own worth, given that they’re mostly what they know of the world and how it functions. Therefore, they wrongly assume they’re as important to others as they are to themselves. They spend too much time in their own heads.

When you do that, your head starts to eat itself. You’ll grow to hate yourself, and to talk too much about yourself, which makes the alleviation of these symptoms unattractive to those people who might help you the most.

That’s okay. That is simply the typical way in which writers are insane. I don’t think “insanity”, in my admittedly mild usage of the word, is avoidable. You can simply select the type of insanity you would like, or are willing to accept for the sake of some other goal. In this case, it’s the pain of narcissism for the sake of getting books with your name on them.

I read this interview with Matthew Barney, whose advice to artists was: “Making art is like quitting smoking. Unless you are 100% committed, it is not going to happen.”

Have you seen that guy’s work? It’s absolutely bananas insane. Look up his Cremaster series of films on YouTube, for example. I don’t understand them one bit, but I do know that you don’t get to do that type of work without an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to your vision.

Stay (blog equivalent of) tuned for a new harsh truth asap!!