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The Haven

You’re Not a Real Writer, You’re Just an Asshole

Can everyone please stop saying “real” writer? No, no — just stop.

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Writing is a lot like masturbation: it is primarily lonely, self-indulgent, and sometimes you cry while doing it. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some people who let you do it in their face — but mostly you’re going to run into a lot of people who just don’t like you well enough to allow that sort of thing.

Hence the crying.

You could, of course, take the Louis C.K. path and just go around masturbating at people — and plenty of writers do this. If no one calls you out, you might find that you get pretty good at coercing people into allowing it. You might say, “Hey, I’ve got thirteen secrets to help you get more Instagram followers to buy your Etsy Jewelry,” and then they say, “oh really? What?” BAM — you write all over their face.

These Louis C.K. writers — otherwise known as #thirstywriterboos, love to write long-winded bullshit articles about what it takes to be a “real writer.” This kind of nonsense is like a morbidly obese person trying to tell you they know all about dieting because they eat lots of food. The thing is, there is no such thing as a “real” writer just as there is no such thing as a “real” masturbator. There are writers/masturbators and then there are professional writers/masturbators. It’s not complicated:

  • Person + writing/masturbating = writer/masturbator
  • Person + writing/masturbating + money = professional writer/masturbator

We need to stop listening to people on the internet just because they have a lot of followers. Having a lot of followers on the internet doesn’t mean you’re doling out valuable advice. Don’t believe me? There is a Facebook group where some guy just posts every day, “Michael Jackson is Dead” and he has 100,000 followers.

Yet, every day I am seeing big-name internet writers trying to tell people what makes a “real” writer, or somesuch nonsense. My favorite piece of advice from these people is always: “don’t care about your following — only the writing matters!”

Are you serious?

Do you have any idea how self-centered, self-promotional, and spoiled rotten so many writers of the past were? You better believe that if they were alive today, most of them would be the biggest #writingcommunity self-promoters. They’d self publish, friend you on Facebook to get you to like their self-published page, and then invite you to a cookout where they are handing out signed copies. They’d be rocking up and down every follow4follow ladder on the god damn internet.

It doesn’t end there.

Every day the internet gets inundated with thousands of writing self-help articles telling people how to be a “real” writer.

These articles come in three forms:

“You’re not a real writer if you do XYZ”

These are my favorite. If douche bag were a bar of soap, these people would lather up every day.

If you write, “You’re not a real writer if you do xyz…” it only means one thing: you’re a douche bag. There are dozens of “real” writers who were actual fucking pedophiles.

Being a “real” writer has nothing to do with what you write, where you write, what you care about, or what you do. If anything, being a “real” writer means that you somehow have fallen into a collective brain fart in the social consciousness that says, “Hey, that person does words real good.”

“Hey, I read this book on writing, here is what it takes to be a real writer…”

These ones truly baffle me. They go something like this:

  1. Person reads book on writing.
  2. Person takes a bunch of bullet points about what that book said.
  3. Person writes an article about it on the internet.
  4. Person eats money with a pair of tongs before starting on their next stroke of genius: 10 Meditation Techniques on Marketing Bill Gates Said This One Time

“Habits? Do you have habits? Real writers have So. Many. Good. Fucking. Habits.”

Hey, do you write every day? No, but really, do you write — like — every day? If you don’t write every day, you should really write every day. Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but real writers write every day. And, when you’re finished with that, write every day.

Somehow this piece of advice keeps getting thrown around as though the person only just discovered it. Seriously? It is just: practice makes perfect. All of our functionally alcoholic chorus teachers taught us this when we were six.

The thing is, anyone writing a piece telling people how to be a ‘real’ writer clearly thinks of themselves as a ‘real’ writer. And, they’re not.

They’re just an asshole.




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Benjamin Davis

Benjamin Davis

columnist: Lustery | co-founder: Sexography | My writing is like a bunch of people at a party trying to tell different jokes at the same. But hornier.