ADVICE: Be a Peformer and Write Like a Boss

cropped-cropped-8f6df-typewriter1971ws255b2255d1.jpgFull disclosure: Yes, I am the furthest thing from a writing “expert”, however that won’t stop me from sharing my own personal insight on the matter.

I’ve said it elsewhere in writing workshops and online studios, and I’ve said it here: (most) writing is performance art. Why? Because it is done with the notion that someone — hopefully many someones — other than the author will read it. So my sound advice is for any writer expecting an audience is that you should WRITE AS IF YOU ARE A PERFORMER of the highest calling and with the highest reputation. Why? Because you’ll write to your best ability. That means your spelling should be precise, your grammar nearly impeccable, your diction on-point and your syntax sensational. Even if you’re just blogging (which is essentially what I’m doing here as I write this), write as if MILLIONS will be reading your words (hell, pretend you’re Stephen King if that gets you in the right big scope frame of mind). What do you have to lose? Nothing significant. But you have the potential to gain plenty, and at minimum you keep your writing mind sharp, your literary muscles trained and toned and your proofreading/editing faculties on constant alert.

I’m fairly OCD about this stuff and I am not ashamed to admit that I am not above editing several times a social media post on Facebook or Twitter (or anything that is public) however many times it takes to ensure the writing is correct of omissions, typos and misspellings. Hell, I’ll even replace a word if I feel my original diction was suspect. Why? Simply because what I noted above, but also because I can’t attach the titles “author” and “editor” to my name like I have the last 15-plus years if I’m not going to ensure that I write to the best of my ability at least 99% of the time. It’s also a mindset that I just can’t seem to turn off, it is pretty much automatic for me to approach all of my writing that way. In short, it’s about setting a standard and not falling short of it. So proofread heavily and don’t be satisfied or impressed too easily with your words the first time around. It’s very likely you can make it better, even on an infinitesimal level. Also, it’s my belief that if you read at least as much as you write then it should be easy and natural to adopt this mindset.

And as they say, writers write, so write daily and do so to the best of your ability. Even if it’s something no one’s going to ever read, still write it with a purpose. Write like a boss.

Another full disclosure: It’s very likely this serves the dual purpose of also being a pep talk to myself.

There’s more where this all came from, so be sure to check the links below for more of my not-expert writing advice.

The Rucker Report: Applying Advice (at Flash Fiction Chronicles)

One Editor’s Opinion #1 (at Ruckerpedia)

One Writer’s Opinion #1: Storytelling VS Writing or Planning VS Winging It (at Ruckerpedia)

One Editor’s Opinion #2: Edit As You Write (at Ruckerpedia)


UPDATE: Nostalgia is a Mother. . .

DSCF4037So this past week was one filled with nostalgia and painful reminders. Nostalgic in the sense that I spent a great deal of time digging through both my musical archive and my fiction archive. I suppose composing and performing music as well as fiction writing are probably the two creative things I do best, but not nearly as much as I should. That’s part of the painful reminder part. The reminder, or rather the acknowledgment, that I’m a bit of a slacker if you look at my output versus my supposed talent and abilities. At any rate, let me break it down this way.

Nostalgia: Finally started stocking my YouTube Channel with videos of me playing guitar or bass, as well as started creating new “videos” (i.e. a static placeholder to go along with the audio) of various pieces of music I’ve composed, performed, produced and recorded dating back as far as 2008 when I first put together a home studio (something I should have done back in the 90s or at least the early 2000s, but I digress). I figured, hell, if I die tomorrow, at least there’s now a public archive of music online to show that I wasn’t a complete slacker and waste of talent.

Painful Reminder: Can’t help feeling like a slacker and waste of talent when it comes to music and all my arts (but that’s a long story for another day). Another “painful” reminder is when you’re unknown, there really isn’t an audience for what you produce. Sure, all musicians make music for themselves because we simply MUST make music. However, I’ve always contended that music — and I include creative writing in this too — is a performance art, and thus, is created with the conceit that there will be an audience for it.

Nostalgia: While going through boxes in my office that contain various paper notebooks and notepads — I have more of those than I ever truly realized (just over 60; see photo above) — I unearthed some classic pieces of writing, such as the beginnings of a screenplay entitled Infidelity. I really enjoyed reading the four pages of script I’d previously printed out and was reminded of the ambitions I had for that particular script. I also did some digging through the folders on my computer to pull up a short story from a few years ago called “The Chamberlain House” featuring my disfigured paranormal investigator dealing with the harrowing case of an inhabited, truly and literally quite haunted house on Halloween.

Painful Reminder: This story was started in 2009 and is still unfinished. And I haven’t published any fiction since late 2011. I’ll probably win the esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award for Underachievement.

Nostalgia: While working in my office I spent half of that time listening to great music form the 1960s and 1970s. I enjoyed it so much that I announced on Facebook that I wanted to form a retro soul/R&B band with a touch of funk and disco for good measure.

Painful Reminder: 1960s and 1970s — particularly the music of those decades — are long gone and never to return. And it’s also very unlikely this washed-up musician will get his wish to start-up that aforementioned band.

There’s plenty more examples of nostalgia and painful reminders, but I think I’ve rambled on long enough here. So I will end this on a musical note, that’s both nostalgic (recorded in 2010) and a painful reminder (it’s an unfinished demo). Check out this week’s musical accompaniment.

P.S. About the headline — nostalgia being a mother works two ways, the first of which is obvious. It can also be a mother to the birth of new ideas and new things happening. So there’s that. We’ll see what I have to report on next week’s update.


LINKAGE: Brandon Rucker’s YouTube Channel

53877-pick_in_mouth_blue_1240179884Known affectionately by its creator as “RuckerTube”, the Brandon Rucker YouTube Channel is now live for primetime, anytime viewing/listening. You may as well subscribe because your favorite washed-up musician is going to be adding a ton of stuff for your audio-visual consumption during the coming days and weeks. Enjoy!


EVENT: Fathers Day in August

Being a DadFathers Day comes four times a year for me and today marks the 20th anniversary of the day I became a father for the first time. At 2:46 PM to be exact. So this post is in honor of that very special event and milestone in my life. That is all.

LINKAGE: Ian MacKaye interview – “If You Want To Rebel Against Society, Don’t Dull The Blade”

The Dischord Records co-founder talks D.C. punk history and more with WTJU.A must hear/read audio and text interview with D-i-Y punk legend Ian MacKaye (The Evens, Fugazi, Embrace, Minor Threat, Teen Idles) of Washington D.C.’s Dischord Records, who is undeniably one of my musical heroes. Special thanks to P Sycho Sunshine Matthias for the heads-up linkage.


QUOTE: Rucker on Intellect

True intellect is rather detached and unfeeling. It is not encumbered by emotion, which would only undermine it.

— Brandon Rucker, July 17, 2013