Getting Published vs. Getting Laid
The subject of those awful fucking books about being a pickup artist came up this weekend at a meal - mostly the trick of complimenting and insulting a woman at the same time so she wants your approval. Apparently, if you want to take advantage of women with low self-esteem you can get laid with that trick. And there are so many damn places to get this kind of shitty advice. Hell, it's getting so you can't watch porn without getting pop-up ads for mind games and advice like "just pull up your van to random women at bus stops and ask them if they would like to have a ride with you and three other dudes - one of whom is running the video camera" (you know, now that I write that, I wonder if anyone believes in Bang Bus). Of course, for men and boys there are other tricks like flirting with the women with low self-esteem, paying attention to women who aren't conventionally attractive, getting women just drunk enough that they make bad decisions (but not so drunk that they are incapable of making those decisions), hanging out with orgy-loving hippies in hopes that they will start the orgy while you're still there and let you join in, just paying for it, etc.
Of course, these books tend to neglect the best way which is to become the kind of person that someone else could fall in love with and then find her (or him).
Not only would that method take time and effort, but it also underlines that central truth that "getting laid" is not really what anyone wants at least not all the time. We want the connection, the intimacy and the ability to be pissed at someone and still love (like) them - whether for a few weeks or a lifetime. You aren't going to get that if you are playing some shitty game to get laid.
This all suddenly reminds me of publishing since there are so many writers on the periphery of the writing world who are trying their best to GET PUBLISHED. And the tricks are very similar to the tricks used by the pickup artists - just paying for it being the last resort. You got the free markets, the "annoy professional writers to like you and mentor you" tricks, the fake agents, the micro-markets, etc.
Mostly I think of this because I edited Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre as a bid to get into the writing world. I wanted to be PUBLISHED damnit and I was going to put out a book of short stories that would include my short story. I had visions of my anthology becoming an underground DIY hit with critics and pot smoking college students with my story being the most awesome one in the bunch.
I have mixed feelings about that since on one hand, I was fucking delusional about my writing prospects, but on the other hand, I rather enjoy Dybbuk Press. It has given me the platform to put out books and stories by writers that I quite like. If I wasn't delusional about the writing career before I started editing TBCM, I might have never started it (then again, if I had wised up a little sooner I would have definitely saved myself some grief)
Still the thing that I know now that I didn't know when I was trying to GET PUBLISHED is similar to what I should have known when I was trying to GET LAID which is that it's not an end in itself. I want to feel good about myself when I get published. I don't want to get published just because a friend's niece is in town and she desperately wants to publish something because she broke up with her last writer and is looking for a rebound (I didn't know if I could stretch the analogy that far)
Ok. A writer should want to write and put out the best work possible. If it takes a long time to get published, then it takes a long time to get published, but no writer worth a damn should be happy with stories and novels out in the world that are not the best stories that they could do. Maybe I'm more self-critical than most, but I have read stories that I've gotten published (usually in low pay markets) and I've been so fucking embarrassed to be associated with these stories. I see the problems so easily - the style is off, the story is going nowhere, I'm not really doing anything new with it.
I know I can't be happy with everything I write and the better I get, the more critical I am of my old material, but I have to focus more on the quality of the writing than the "getting published". That can be as problematic since I do go months without sending out the stories that are ready to go out and I also have a problem getting things finished (hell I'm procrastinating from a paid gig) but the work is more important than the end result. The end result only matters if it's something that I am proud of promoting when all is said and done.