Writing Advice: do not take.

Many years ago, a few weeks before a nice long trip to Hawaii, I wrote fifty pages of a novel and sent it off to two publishers. One I can't remember, and one was Charles Scribner's Sons. The reason I remember Scribner is because they had published F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway--and they answered with a short letter. I submitted just to take the leap, get in the game so to speak. And once in Hawaii, I forgot about it. Weeks later, on my return, I had envelopes from both publishers; back then, they answered more swiftly. Now, they may not answer at all. Anyway, one note was a rejection. The other was from an editor at Scribner who said, (and I am paraphrasing as I no longer have the note) "I enjoyed what I have read of (Forgettable Title) and would like to see more. You have a clever, ironic style--don't lose it. Keep us apprised of your progress." And it was written on fine linen paper of high rag content, with a fountain pen!


Where is that novel, now? I don't know. I immediately went on to other things, job, women, the proper attire for whatever I was at that stage. I never went back to that novel. Why? I'd been validated. Sort of. It was the old "I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me" Woody Allen sort of self esteem trick. Or perhaps The Fear of Success. The wiring. Who knows how it was formed in those early years.

Whatever, I'm making up for lost time these days. Submitting more, writing more, and hopefully, better.

But one bit of advice, if I may: don't discuss your current project. Doing so sucks the energy out of it. And this: don't take my advice or anyone else's.

Some will tell you to write so many words a day. Some will tell you to work in a library. Some will say only work in the dark hours of morning. The key word is work. Work a little. Work a lot. Up to you. But do write.

And some just want to tell you what to do. To them: up ya nose widda rubbah hose.