“The Step-By-Step Guide To Being A Failed Writer,” by Hasen Hull

Mar 16th, 2016 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

1. Be born, and given an unremarkable name with some slight variation that makes it difficult to spell or pronounce.

2. Have a birthday party at a young age in which you’re the centre of attention. Crave this attention for the rest of your life.

3. Endure family issues throughout your childhood, preferably with your father.

4. Spend your pre-teen years laughing at people who fall in love and have relationships. Become a teenager and fall in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. Begin describing yourself as ‘sensitive.’

4. Start believing you’re a gifted writer as soon as you’ve finished reading your first novel. Read a few more. Believe you’re well-read because your friends don’t read novels and you’ve read four.

5. Tell your friends how bad Harry Potter is even though you stopped halfway through The Prisoner of Azkaban. Tell your friends how bad Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are even though you’ve never read them. Allow this to make you think you understand literature.

6. Continue to alienate yourself from your peers at college while yearning for a sense of belonging. If you’re a man, read Bukowski and Hemingway. If you’re a woman, read Nabokov and Carver. Never read anything by an author who doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.

7. Go to university to study creative writing alongside something like English. Work on a manuscript during this time. If you believe you have a vivid imagination, work with genre fiction, preferably fantasy or sci-fi. If you believe your life is meaningful or profound, work with literary fiction. Write about yourself in one way or another.

8. If you’re a man, lose your virginity at an old age, and feel cheated. If you’re a woman, lose your virginity at a young age, and feel cheated. Have multiple sexual partners throughout your twenties. Take drugs if you have the courage. If not, go to nightclubs every weekend with classmates you hardly know or like.

9. Tell your close friends how lonely you feel. If you don’t have any close friends, tell yourself. If you’re a man, fantasise about suicide. If you’re a woman, fantasise about your career. Periodically remind yourself how miserable your life is, while being prepared to defend it to the last breath if anyone agrees.

10. Be horrified at the idea of any of your writer friends getting something published
before you do.

11. Insist that you hate social media, while spending several hours a day on Facebook. Upload photos of yourself with friends as often as possible, to prove how much you’re enjoying your youth. Occasionally make a status about how lonely you are. Delete it when it gets no likes.

12. Finish your manuscript after leaving university. Send it off for traditional publishing. Get rejected.

13. Start a career that will see you through the next forty years. Condition yourself to despise this career regardless of whether or not you actually do.

14. Self-publish your manuscript on Kindle. Read a glowing five-star review left by your mother. Make enough money from your story to pay for a regular meal at Burger King.

15. Marry someone. Have children. If you have a daughter, give her a middle name the same as your mother. Use your children as an excuse to spend as little time possible on writing.

16. Allow your mind to drift to writing at awkward moments, like when changing the baby’s nappy or sleeping with the neighbour. Attempt to write a few short stories. Send them off to literary magazines. Get rejected.

17. Watch your children grow into men and women more attractive, charismatic and happy than you were. Fool yourself into thinking you’re proud of them.

18. Get divorced. If you’re a man, tell your partner about your affairs. If you’re a woman, tell your partner they never understood you. Take up a hobby like gardening and use it as an excuse to give up on writing altogether.

19. Grow old. Become a grandparent. When they’re teenagers, give your grandchildren a generous weekly allowance to ensure they keep coming to visit you. Suggest that they should take up writing, then worry they might mention this to their parents. Never bring it up again.

20. Die in an unremarkable way that would be embarrassing if published in the local papers, like falling down the stairs at home. Allow at least three days before anyone notices you’re gone.

Defenestration-Hasen HullHasen Hull has dropped out of university twice and he figures that should make him at least twice as rich as Bill Gates. It hasn’t. His hobbies include ranting on Twitter, walking around with unkempt hair and battling insomnia. He lives in London and can be menaced at @HzHull

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