Being a great writer is no accident. Simply having the ability to write is no indication of potential for excellence (however it is the first step). No. If only it were so simple. The recipe for success is much more complicated, and requires a large amount of salt, so beware if you suffer from hypertension.
Ingredient #1: Ham
No, I am not talking about pigs. I'm using the term "Ham" in reference to the desire to perform, or attract attention. Writing is an art, and notoriety comes with the territory. "Hamming it up" is a vital skill for drawing in readers and captivating an audience.
Ingredient #2: An appetite for vocabulary
No one wants to read a story in which the description of the main character is "tall" or "fat". They want to read about the man who "towers over his rivals", and "who's words echo through the vast, unforgiving mountain range". Words like "good" should never be used as adjectives.
Ingredient #3: Fruit Loops
Mild to moderate depression and anxiety are common symptoms of creative people. Embrace the mania for what it is. Accept the cynical thoughts, and even the pessimism. These symptoms can actually be utilized to add perspective to your work. Since you're stuck with it for the time being, you may as well put it to good use. (DISCLAIMER: I am in no way suggesting that one should not seek treatment for mental illnesses! Mental illnesses are very serious and debilitating! If you do not treat your illness, your work will also be likely to suffer! I am a much better writer when I am taking my meds!)
Ingredient #4: Booze
Writers' Block is a common ailment amongst the creative. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
-Staring blankly out the window
-Starting a sentence with out a plan for how you will be ending it
-Repeating the same sentence over and over again, swapping out various words for others
-Re-reading past work, searching for any spark of leftover inspiration
-Constipation (literally and figuratively)
Anyways, that's the short list of symptoms. For the full list, email me. The perfect cure for a lil' bit of the ole Writers' Block is, you guessed it, Sweet Sister Smirnoff. A warning however, Sister Smirnoff may assist in liberating alternate regions of the creative mind, it may also exacerbate several of the above listed symptoms.
Ingredient #5: Salt
Don't be afraid to get "salty", sassy, cynical or crude. A general disregard for public opinion is a healthy way to get noticed. People love to hate, and it is a constant battle to keep them hating on you. There's always someone younger and someone meaner than you right around the corner, and if you're not careful, they may win over the public disapproval that you once basked in. No press is bad press. If you have one hater, you will likely have a small army of haters. They will comment up a storm. You may even get a new fan site as a result. (Someone actually took the time to set up a site for me called ihatecherylbirch.blogspot.com. Not sure if it still exists, but I consider this to be a victory.) Be prepared for personal attacks on your physical appearance, personal integrity, and technical writing skills. (Some personal attacks that have come my way include insults on my appearance such as; "five-head", "receding hairline", "troll", "look like an aborted fetus", etc. I've been called bitter, jealous, "jelly" (in reference to being jealous). I've even been accused of having "atrocious" spelling errors.) Don't take it personally. These people are insecure, and lack the language skills and emotional intelligence to reconcile their own personal issues within themselves.
Bake at 350 degrees F for as long as it takes to become crispy on the outside, and gooey on the inside
Choose your words wisely. Let them sit. Come back to them later, and elaborate further. Make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand to clean up the messes you've made. Enjoy a feeling of accomplishment, even if your work isn't praised or published, because someone noticed, and someone enjoyed it.