NOTE: THE FOLLOWING MUSINGS DO NOT MEAN THAT I DO NOT WANT TO HELP YOUNG WRITERS, I REALLY DO, I JUST HAVE A THOUGHT ABOUT ALL OF THE COFFEES, END NOTE.
Dear Young / emerging / aspiring writer:
1.) I love you. You’re great. You are going to do great things.
2.) Whenever I get an email from you asking if I can meet for coffee so that you might ask my advice about things, I feel a duty to help you, as when I was a young / aspiring / emerging writer, so many people had coffee with me —
3.) WAIT. HOLD UP. NO. That’s not a thing. Upon genuine reflection, unless I am completely forgetting large chunks of my past, which is possible, I did not ask anyone to have coffee with me when I was just starting out. I was honestly too busy writing and failing and doing to hunt down email addresses to sit in the hot Sun and drink coffee I didn’t actually want.
4.) And so: I’m not saying these meet ups are fruitless, but every minute you spend in one of them, you COULD be writing. If you’re feeling frustrated because no one sees you or hears you, write about that. If you’re feeling bitter and jealous because everyone around you is getting a leg up and you’re not, write about that. If you’re feeling left out, stepped out, looked over, taken advantage of, invisible, unimportant, GUESS WHAT, ALSO WRITE ABOUT THAT. Every minute you spend looking at me while I anxiously rattle off my resume, YOU COULD BE WRITING, IF NOT LIVING.
5.) Here is my advice, and you don’t even have to watch me eat a salad to get it: Work a job. Write at night. Take the money from your job. Make what you wrote. LIVE YOUR LIFE! DRINK COFFEE ONLY WHEN YOU WANT IT! DON’T LISTEN TO ME! WRITE YOUR LIFE. FORGET ANYONE AND ANYTHING ELSE EXISTS. FORGET IT’S A CAREER AT ALL. WRITE TO LIVE. That’s the only way the career stuff starts to happen organically — which, trust me, when it comes to anything worthwhile, is the only way it should.