Aug 27th, 2012 by Jennifer Lynn
While perusing my inbox—where do these questionable emails come from? No, I don’t want to ‘browse hot singles in my area looking for no strings attached sex!’—I was offered a link that just had to be shared.
From best-selling fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss (dude has a wicked ‘fro and beard combination, how could I not trust this man?), I present what is to be dubbed, The Best Piece of Writing Advice, Ever.
(Besides: to write your ass off.)
From Patrick’s personal blog, Advice For New Writers:
I’ve come to realize that when an interviewer asks me, “Can you give one piece of advice for new writers?” what they’re really looking for is something pithy and encouraging. They want me to say “Reach for the Stars!” or “Never give up!”
But that’s not really good advice. I mean, you could really hurt your shoulder reaching for the stars. Good advice is occasionally disheartening. “Come to grips with the inevitability of rejection.” Or “Don’t quit your day job.”
Once, I had a lovely 30 minute phone interview that ended roughly like this:
Thanks for the interview, Pat.
In closing, if you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?
Live somewhere cheap.
I beg your pardon?
Odds are, it’s going to take you a long time to finish your novel. Then it’s going to take you a long time to break into the publishing world. That means you’re effectively going to be working at a job that will pay you nothing, and you’re going to be doing it for years. So you should live somewhere cheap.
I was thinking something more along the lines of worldbuilding….
If you live somewhere like Seattle or Manhattan or LA, you’re going to have to shell out thousands of dollars just in rent. If you have to work three jobs just to pay your rent, when are you going to find the time to write?
Do you know how I managed to keep working on my first novel for 14 years without starving to death?
Student loans? Some sort of trust fund?
Shit no. I learned how to live cheap. Up until 2005, I never paid more than $225 a month for rent.
I’m a good bargainer. And I had roommates. And small-town Wisconsin is a cheap place to live.
Also, I lived in some real shitholes from time to time. But you know what? You can write in a shithole. You can’t write when you’re working 70 hours a week.
[chuckles nervously] Well, I think that’s about all the time we have….
Hell, I was so poor for a while I qualified for low-income housing back in 2004. Those places were pretty nice, actually.
Remember to turn in next week, folks. Thanks again, Pat.
Did you know that if you boil a paper shopping bag long enough, it makes something that’s almost like soup?
[Cut to static]
Tell me you’re not a more enlightened writer now. Listen to this man—that soup tip is genius.