How to Write for a Living

Something for all you little Hemingways (Whedons?) out there.

And please don’t bitch about the condescending sentence above. We adapted it from the Best Screenplay acceptance speech of one of our literary heroes, a certain Sly Stallone (yeah, he really got an Oscar for the first ROCKY; so tell us again what’re we busting our butts for?):

by James Altucher

so sophisticated

When I first wrote a novel in 1991 I remember walking down the road and seeing a pretty girl and thinking, “She might like me now”.

I know that a lot of what I write seems to involve whether or not women like me.

But that’s what I think about. I want people to like me. And when I was younger, it was more important that women like me than that men like me.

I also wanted money. I didn’t want to work for a boss. That scary feeling of being called into the boss’s office after you know you did something that was “wrong”.

I put it in quotes because what does it matter now? What did it even matter then?

How could you, my sweet baby, ever do something wrong?

Note: the above sentence is what I would whisper to myself after being summoned to the boss’s office.

“Don’t you have any pride in your work?”
“Clean out your desk today”.
“Did you steal all of the paper?”
“Why did the office cleaning lady find 20 moldy sandwiches in your drawer?”
“Why didn’t you test the software before it went to the client.”

Whatever. It’s because I was busy and no I didn’t have pride in my work.

I was 22 years old and looking at women and trying to publish a novel on the side so I didn’t have to work anymore. And I have no comment about the sandwiches.

It took many years before I made any money as a writer. And what works then is different now. Right now it’s easier than ever.

But the rules changed every 3 or 4 years and they will change again. Just like they change with everything in life.

By the way, that first novel, and the four that came after it, and the 50 short stories that came after it, never got published.

I used to think I needed to publish something before I could feel good about myself, before I could call myself a “writer”, before I could have a girlfriend, before I could get a real job, before I could move to NYC.

What a pathetic weight on my shoulder to think I needed something controlled by just a handful of people. Those weights stayed on my back for years.

When you have weights on you, you can’t move. The weights are only mental. Go ahead. Move.


This is just the beginning. Read it all