What you Deserve – one-shot on writing, ads, and arrogance

Advertising is surprisingly honest.

This morning a friend of mine sent me a pic – what’s a bit of trolling between friends after all? – and if she wanted to elicit a reaction, she most certainly did.

For those among you who do not read Italian, the tagline goes something like this: Did you write a book but did not find the success you deserve?

What follows is a link to a (free for a limited time!) ‘definitive guide’, to writing a bestseller. I sure do hope it’s better than the other seven I have fallen for just this week.

This is something that should elicit an emotional reaction.

You see-

I sure do look more appealing, says the Muse next to me as I lift my fingers from the keyboard.

I take a look at her shapeful form, a tall and gorgeous woman with sparkling blue eyes, her sable skin encased by a white linen dress. She passes a hand through her long black hair falling like a curtain of ink.

“Wondering why they did not use you as a promoter?” I smirk.

As the Muse, she surely must not know much about advertisement. After all, as everybody knows, advertising is the work of the devil.

Because I would scare the main writing demographic off.

She… knows about demographics?

It is much better to portray the idea of the writer as someone young, yet confident. Someone still using a typewriter in current year, and yet an iPhone. Someone grounded in reality, but a dreamer at heart. In short, everything I am not.

I scratch my head and go back to take a look at the article. I mighht be losing a few insights here, by just writing something out without considering the Muse.

But, hey, I was going to make a writing list. Writing lists sell. There’s data on that. I have seen a list on top ten lists that sell well.

I can back that up.

Ah, but I should go back to the article-

– the first emotional reaction you could feel is that of a young woman who’s confident, grounded in reality, yet a dreamer.

This is because-

Because, the Muse continues waving her hand, that’s not an image and that’s not even an ad. That’s a psychopomp.

“I would appreciate it if you did not have me reach for a Thesaurus every three words.”

Not my fault your brain is mirror-smooth. That woman is not a writer, because someone who uses a typewriter as anything but a doorstopper is a poser, not an author.

“I can hear the comments of very angry people right from here, you know…”

See if I care. That image represents what you collectively think a ‘writer’ ought to be like. A successful writer, that most transient of flowers.

A pause.

Do you think magic exists?

because I can’t seem to finish this article at all. What am I doing with my life? I should buy a boat.

“I have no idea.” Why is she asking me if I believe in…

I did not ask you if you believe in magic. I asked you if you think it does exist.

“This is the moment when I pick up Thesis B to show how Thesis A is right, isn’t it? Oldest trick in your book.”

I like to entertain successful traditions. That picture you are writing about – that’s magic. Successful magic. What even is magic? Is an action or a ritual or a word that produces something out of nothing. Here you have a hidden desire given form and downloaded into reality. This speaks to everyone who would like to be like that: young, confident, a grounded dreamer and a successful writer. It takes in desire and produces gold. The fact that you don’t get to put your hands on it is surely no reason to consider it a failed spell.

“I just want to write my books.”

And yet you are salty enough to type an entire article about this. A sigh. That passage… ‘that you deserve’. What do you deserve?

I open my mouth to reply, but like many other times with the Muse’s questions, I feel too many uncomfortable truths squeezing against each other, trying to get out all at once. Her question pulsates deep into my stomach, setting there like a wriggling worm made of needles.

b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b abcdefghilkmnopqrstuvz

“I think ‘deserve’ is too strong a word. There is much I would like to get or to be, and I know I am working for it, but nobody deserves anything. I think.”

Nothing is assured. I feel your own emotions turning sour these last few days for precisely that reason. You certainly do have arrogance enough to hope for the better, but I hope this last year taught you endurance.

“It did. I have written every day for almost one year. I am fairly tired, but I do feel like I have learned a lot.”

When you will be wise enough not to get salty over psychopomps, you will definitely have learned enough.

I smirk.

I don’t think it will happen any time soon.

The Muse goes back to playing with her hair – I watch herr for a few more seconds, thinking of the future and what it might hold. I have so much more to do, and work is never over. This picture – I take a different look at it now.

It is after all not selling tales, it is selling status.

I wouldn’t mind some of that, but if I was chasing money or success I took every step possible to run away from those.

Sometimes I wonder how things could have been different, but knowing myself, I –

Top ten things to avoid when writing articles about writing

  1. do not make lists
  2. do not write articles
  3. do not write period.

“I know things are going to change. One way or another. I am starting to understand how hard it actually gets to sit down and grinding every day for something that might never happen.”

And what are you going to do about it? She asks, a glint in her sapphire eyes.

“Three thousand words per day?”

She chuckles, sounding like a hundred tinkling silver bells.

A good average.

“Can I take weekends off?”

You already get sick pay and two weeks off in August, don’t push your luck.

“I’ll do my best.”

That is all I ever ask.

Not an easy thing to ask. But answering to that call has felt rewarding.

I feel at home at the keyboard. I hope this does not change. I will do all I can to keep it like this.

“You know what, maybe I should just write a new short story instead of this crap.”

I’m not going anywhere.

And that’s why you don’t go buy courses or ‘definitive guides’.
You should definitely buy my book on writing, though!

As soon as it comes out.

It’s going to be the best one yet!


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