By Bernard Schaffer
Writers find inspiration in the work of others and
remain vigilant not to ape anyone else.
Writers seek out criticism from those that
deserve to give it
and they listen.
(Most of the time.)
Writers work alone
without seeking approval from others
and finish with something
before showing it to anyone
because a writer is like a lonesome captain
on a sailboat steering through uncharted waters
expecting to arrive at a lost city of ancient riches.
But nobody wants to hear what you intend to find
expect to find
or say you'll find.
They just want to see it.
When I write, I think about those that came before me
who sat in a chair plinking away at the keys
or loading fresh paper into the typewriter
or putting quill to fresh ink
and I go at every single one of them
like their ghosts were sitting across from me
saying, "Come on, kid, you can hit harder than that."
Not because I don't love them
and not because I don't admire them
and not because I don't appreciate them
but because when I am writing they are my competition
and if you aren't trying to outdo everyone else
then you're just taking up space.
People often ask me for advice
and I suppose that's the purpose of this column
that I was so graciously asked to contribute to.
Well, here it is.
Find an editor who will critique you hard.
And when you find some level of success, repeat those same steps
but on an even greater scale.
Now go get to it.
Bernard Schaffer is the author of February 2012 Kindle Top 100 Book Superbia, international best-seller Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes, and the Guns of Seneca 6 series. As a teenager, he starred in Nickelodeon's "Don't Just Sit There," musical productions, television commercials, and a skit on Saturday Night Live. He later left acting to pursue a career in law enforcement. Since 1997, Schaffer has worked as a patrolman, detective, and narcotics officer in the suburbs of
In 2012, he released Superbia, a book about a dysfunctional police department
that reached the Kindle Top 100. As a result of the Superbia series, he was
stripped of his detective rank. Schaffer is the founder of the
Kindle All-Stars. The project's first release Resistance Front featured Harlan
Ellison and Alan Dean Foster. All profits from that book are being donated to
the for Missing and Exploited
Children. National Center
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