How to be a Writer: Step 1
Writing. The noble and well paying profession. It seems like everywhere you go people want to be writers. But what separates the real from the frauds? Well, based on all the writers I've met, here are some expert tips on becoming the real deal.
A. Tell people that you are a writer. All the time. Every chance you get. It is simply the backbone of the profession. Shout it, write it on walls and the back of receipts, get a little business card with your name and "writer" etched below in a tiny, typewriter-ish font and hand them out to everyone. If you don't constantly remind people of your status between every few sentences, then how do you expect them to know? It's a sink-or-swim world out there, and if you want people to respect you, then they better know of your career choice. Believe me, they will like the reminder. If you were in a life threatening situation and someone says "I'm a doctor," wouldn't you feel more comfortable? Of course you would. Although that situation is completely hypothetical because your writerly life hardly expands beyond the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble, you can be sure that strangers will be equally relaxed and comfortable knowing that a prose or poetic master like yourself is nearby. Even though you probably got into the profession because you really like talking about yourself, you might find it difficult to pontificate about your noble occupation. Whatever you do, don't give up. It will become second nature soon enough, and then you'd be surprised at how quickly it fits into your daily life. If you're having trouble, try starting every opinion or fact with "As a writer". It's amazing at how effortlessly the phrase can sneak into your comments. "As a writer, I prefer cheese on my Whoppers" lets the Burger King staff know about your impressive intellect, and "As a writer, I collect my welfare checks in a tweed jacket" tells the social workers who deserves respect. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, switch it up and use it like an exclamation, adding more importance to your previous comment: "I live with my parents since I'm a writer" or "Cutting myself makes the self loathing go away because I'm a writer."
B. Read one book and swear by it. Own a copy. Or two. Hate everything that is not your book. But before you do all of that, you need to select your book to worship. The process is difficult. The book has to validate your superiority but still be inoffensive enough to not garner the attention of people with more informed opinions. Choose wisely, and be reminded that the bible and Beowulf are off limits. In fact, just to be safe, don't pick anything written before the industrial revolution or after 1955. Here is an easy list: Atlas Shrugged, Lolita, To Kill a Mockingbird, anything by Hemingway, The Great Gatsby, and Grapes of Wrath/ Of Mice and Men. There are some exceptions, but pick at your own risk. Some notables include The Bell Jar, whatever Raymond Carver puts out, The Road, and Infinite Jest. Actually, you might as well just pick something by David Foster Wallace. If you're still having trouble, then pick one from this tattoo.