122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Writer's Digest and Other Quick Methods to Success

I read Writer's Digest every month.  Okay, honestly it's only been the last three, but still. There is a lot of good information in it, but I get a ton of spam from them at the same time. There is hardly a day goes by I don't get three or four emails from them promising to help me "wow, my audience with an adventurous opener" or "hook my readers with a deep character". I know I'm a novice in this field, but the first thing that comes to mind is "really?"

What they are saying is if you give them $19.95 they'll give you the formula for the perfect story. Wow! What a deal! Wait? If it were that easy wouldn't everyone just plunk down a 20 spot and write a best-seller?

I spend a lot of time working out and have investigated how to help further my quest in developing more muscle, being more physically fit, and being pushing my endurance. Open any fitness magazine and there are hundreds of ads for the "secret" to making huge gains. The "secret" to losing weight, packing on muscle, whatever your little heart desires. Just take this pill, drink this potion, perform this goat-sacrificing ritual and the results will just roll in.

Snake oil. That's what it is.

You can't gain success without hard work and know-how. I've been taught that lesson over and over. Before I went to the university and get my CS degree, I went to a business college. They promised I could be just as successful using their program, more-so even. So being young and naive, I did it. What did I get? A ton of debt for one. Second I got...no job. No one was interested in my "degree". So I swallowed my pride and went back to school got my bachelor's and never looked back.

15 years later I am still reaping the rewards of that hard work. The bottom line here is there are no short-cuts, no magic pills, that will give you success in any field, ever. Stephen King spent years writing stories and getting rejected before he became successful and he's a genius. The athlete's in the Olympics have put in thousands of hours of training. The best musicians have put in hundreds of thousands of hours of monotonous scales and practicing.

Let me say this one more time: You cannot be successful in anything without hard work.

Besides, doesn't that make success that much sweeter? Maybe I'll never get published. Maybe I don't have what it takes. That's okay. You don't know until you try. Besides, I'm having a hell of good time. Writing is one of life's little pleasures--for me anyway--and I am glad to have discovered it, even if I am a little late to the game.

I have nothing against WD, they have a ton of great information with the best of intentions. I understand they are a business and need to have advertisers to pay the bills. But, like anything you take what works for you and leave the rest.

One more time: You cannot be successful in anything without hard work.

Carry on.

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  1. Press on. The characters in your head will tell you who they are, where they are going and what to do with them :) I am so glad that you write as well! We must talk!


  2. Thank you, Susan! I think a trip to Starbucks is in order. :)