Emily Conyngham

Emily Conyngham
Homey Airport, Nevada,
December 31
I Enjoy It
I couldn't make this stuff up! © Emily Conyngham All Rights Reserved


DECEMBER 2, 2013 10:31AM

Seven Steps to Becoming a Superior Writer

Rate: 26 Flag



1.             If at all possible, arrange to be born in a small town, raised with traditional values, which you can laud as building your backbone. The insular environment can be reworked to other purposes; you escaped in the nick of time, with only your wits and a battered hand-me-down suitcase, as soon as you could save bus fare from your job shoveling pig swill. It does not hurt to have been poor, or at least poorer than your stupid neighbors. You can mock those gomers later, when you're a degreed city dweller.


2.             Your childhood ailment should be far more extreme than anyone else’s. Overcome your disability by sheer pluck, but remember, you have suffered, and will continue to be miserable in your soul for the rest of your life. Make your readers FEEL your P.A.I.N. Good writing, like the devil, is in the details.


3.             Hold grudges. These are precious fuel. Hopefully, you were tormented by the other children for being different. You should Never, Ever forget their cruelty, especially that of Homer Finkelheimer, who will don a different disguise and appear in Every Single Thing you write. Your repeated mutilations of his sorry carcass will become the art for which you will be famed. To be a "Finkelheimer" will become part of the common lexicon, synonomous with the nether regions of the male anatomy.


4.             On a related note, pick your parents wisely. You have a choice in ideal fathers, either remote or brutal. The best mothers for writers are of the domineering variety with tendencies towards passive-aggressive manipulation. It helps if you are still in therapy, so you can get that stuff out all over your writing. Don’t hold it in, for God’s sake. Hate must drive you onwards.


5.             Read everything, and cultivate a big vocabulary. Never waste an entire day lolling in sheets you can’t remember when you last washed, under an old down comforter, breathing your own fusty odor; sloth only begets Twitter and Facebook updates. That big vocabulary is vital if you are to bludgeon your readers with your precocity; remember, your aim is to impress.


6.             Write something, anything, each morning. Word count matters. Some books recommend journaling. It is in this daily devotion to your own thoughts, that you will cultivate your singular voice. Do not pay attention to anyone else. If you must, blog. The goal in the latter is not quality, but to cultivate a following, the more hits the better, and if you have nothing important to contribute to the world, fall back on wit. Pander or perish.


7.             Heartbreak is a bonus. Do not bury dead loves, but allow them to roam like recurring themes in your wistful pieces. You must not fully resurrect these zombies with soft lips and charming quirks, or your stories will end up in the $1 cart at Goodwill. Squandering the best thing that ever happened to you is the best policy, if you are to be taken seriously as a writer.


8.             Once you achieve the stature you have spent a lifetime cultivating, that of Superior Writer, you will find younger writers looking to you for guidance. It is important not to encourage them for a couple of reasons. First, your own mojo will diminish if you let go of your resentments – it is best if you transfer these to all ongoing relationships, so you can keep filling your creative coffers. Slicing the outstretched wrists of witless admirers will reveal the vermillion detail for which you have become famous. The New York Times Book Review's blurb of your book will read, "expertly filets humans, like a cold-eyed fishmonger during Lent." Second, you really are doing them a favor to question whether they have the personality to write. Dispense with the usual advice of sticking to commenting on their writing - that will just keep the nitwits quivering and leaking drivel. Unlike other fields, self-confidence in writing should develop in an environment of mistrust and loneliness. It worked for you, so give back what you got. You are superior, after all.

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If you only have a couple of these going for you now, it's not too late. Many of these attitudes can be nurtured and cultivated over time.
Sounds like a winning plan. Good stuff here, Emily. Hopefully you aren't speaking from too much experience.
I'm cultivating! rrr
Just noticed that step 8 is the longest most convoluted of the seven steps!
Delightful stuff. An element of truth, I'm sure. I admire your writing. Don't slash my wrists. R.
1.I was born in a suburb with a small town vibe, raised with traditional values, which built backbone but also drove me mad. However, I was a) middle middle class & b) never escaped the town, cuz I am very averse to change of any kind. However! My going mad made me quite poor.

2. ha!what about Bipolar Disorder! Or, as I prefer, the old time designation of manic depressive illness. We ‘’bips” are very au courant. Not as much as gender confused or homosexual or bisexual or some kinda weird sexual individuals, but…we are up there….

3. I hold grudges against my so called friends who have now all abandoned me probably cuzza 2.)

4. Mom invented passive-aggressive manipulation. Well, maybe not invented, but brought it to its full decadent flowering…
The woman has a lot to answer for , for many decades to come.

5. My vocabulary is colossal. Hypertrophic, you might say. My tropism is to beauty. Of the high fallutin kind. But I climb the Platonic ladder of beauty…I must start at the bottom rung of profane physical beauty..and work up to intellectual and then spiritual beauty…

6. I write emails of a most saucy nature, every morning, but that is my romantic duty. That kinda bleeds over into my blogging, where I create wanton female characters, like repressed librarians, etc.
7. see 6) . most of these female inventions of mine share many characteristics with loves long gone…

8. I dunno. This is where I may falter. Cuz I am such a very generous and magnanimous soul.
Can't read now -- too much pig swill to do whatever we do with pig swill.
Muddling along here in the shallows, OB. Hey, what a treat to see you.
Trig, snortling here. Good luck with your inner badass.
Lyle, thanks, a bunch. Your wrists are safe.
James, keep writing. Glad that 8 does not come naturally to you.
Bernadine, I hope you'll come back after your grueling work.
Don, that was the spirit in which this was written. Thanks for noticing.
CG, yup, kinda uncomfortable.
Of course being a provincial from the Ham, my ancient Greek is misunderdeveloped, as to how to say "Come and get us" in Ancient Greek.
I have worked #'s 1-5 as hard as I can so far. I would do very poorly with #'s 6 and 7 and shall not even make an attempt at utilization.

#8 has its merits, if one were inclined to care about the witless and vocabulary deficient, and had the time to make them feel bad. I barely had time to read this. You are younger are you not?
Or as my mentor Richard Grey suggested to me just after my 20th birthday, "... If you really want my advice, become an actor. Actors get paid a lot more money than writers and they get all the women. Become an actor. Writers just sit alone in front of a typewriter and stare at an empty page in the fear that they will never be able to come up with anything worth a damn. Become an actor. If you must write, only write about what you know, take notes and in twenty years you may have a story worth telling. In the meantime become an actor.”


R&R ;-)
Sounds like an AA meeting but I'm buying. If pain and being poor sell, I'll be rich in no time~
I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Hasn't helped my writing but made me feel good. He was a big jerk!! :D
I would write more in this comment but I gotta go shower 'cause I am fusty, like, real bad.
Mr. Wolfman, thanks for presenting your calling card.

Rich provincial hams always welcome here.

AKA, I'm humbled, practically wetting my pants, grovelling that you made time to comment. Tee hee. Younger, but no longer naive.

jmac, I briefly considered being an actress, auditioned and everything. http://open.salon.com/blog/pandora_bach/2012/08/10/preparing_for_your_theatrical_audition I even earned $24.50 as an extra in a Terence Malick movie last year! Time to rethink that option. I could try for $50 next year.

Scanner! Boy, is it good to hear from you. I expect you are rich in many ways. Be well soon.

Catch, letting yourself get fusty is a sure sign that you've been enjoying life too much. Get back to work.
Are you sure you shot him dead, Tink? I met a boy named Sue the other day with a real chip on his shoulder, but boy, could he write. I wonder if it was the same person.
Forgot claiming that being " A WRITER" is the most precious, incredible, impressive career choice anyone could make.
I do like the idea of getting Fusty once inawhile. In fact as we speak.....
Nice how to guide here. I have many of those going for me but I don't know why it's not working that well! Oh well, I will continue to plug along. Best...
Rita. Do it. Writing will always be waiting for you.
Dicky, nose to the grindstone for you!
Em that was satirical :)
I don't indulge in #6, but the rest of the list seems to fit. I should be a bestselling author by now!
Great list. Made me smile. I think being alone and having few to talk to makes me want to write and then I don't have to listen to anyone either so it works well. I'm not a fan of word count tho. Short and simple here.
I too had ambitions to be an actress. I studied all that acting stuff and joined a little theatre group and did everything they say to do.

You can't imagine how disappointed I was when they told me that I'm the wrong gender.....

Hemingway supposedly said, "To write, just open up a vein." I tried that once. All the blood made my keyboard stick. Now I just open up a beer.
Phyllis, good for you. Glad to hear you are staying off #6.
Z, all those other people are such a bother anyway.
Skypixie, and look at you now. You showed them. Still, I bet you'd look darling in a pair of mules. Heck, wear 'em to write in.
Cranky, oh! We should alcohol to the mix above, for sure. You are on the right path.
I pick #4 for the most valuable tip, especially that last line: Hate must drive you onward. Because at the end of the day, what's left but hate and why waste a good emotion is what I always say.
it's all true but if u let it win u die
Margaret! Zingo.
Ben Sen, my tongue is firmly in my cheek. Hey, thanks for reading, thinking, and commenting.
Loved this, Emily. I'm off to find my angst and to memorize my dictionary.
Poifect. I work these steps every day. Be careful of your wrists around me. (This is really good and very funny).
Delightful read - you must be one of them writers : )
Jeanne, YOU have angst?? Your writing is so good already. Haul that stuff out, you never know...hahahaha. Kidding.

Sally, Sally, I will keep all my limbs close to my body when around you. Thank you for reading!

JT - Well...as Trig says, I'm cultivating. I can only hope there will be payoff one day. ;-) Nice to see you around!
This is a sharp-witted take on the woe-is-me school of writing. I hope for your sake it's not autobiographical! I especially enjoyed the phrase "pander or perish" and will be dropping it into conversations frequently from now on. With proper attribution of course. Thanks for this. It makes me glad I'm not that writer..
P.S.: Five more steps and you'll have a 12-step program for compulsive scribblers.
This was delightful...although I think it may mean I won't be a superior writer (not that I didn't know that already).....
Know that all but Milton and Shakespeare are over rated.
These relentless chit-chats of existentialist angst; that Hurt Locker
and War Horse were more popular! We must be ourselves, knowing not to know; worshiping as best we can: God.
We of golden rule, nobody's slave.
With grin or frown, the best words are: stand down!
Geez, I qualify on every count save the last -- I oughta be a much better writer.