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Exceptions don’t prove rules.

14 July 2011

So, last night I watched an MTV show for the first time since my mid-20s. In my defense… ah, who am I kidding. There is no defense there. Moving on…

Anyway, I was watching Bully Beatdown last night. In addition to giving me a bit of a man-crush on Jason “Mayhem” Miller (watch the first episode of Season 3 and the same thing will happen to you), the show made me think about a couple of things.

First, it worried me a bit, because it wasn’t teaching bullied kids to stand up for themselves… but then I realized that a lot of them had tried to stand up for themselves and gotten slapped around for it. The bully getting beat on by a professional MMA fighter as a result was just hastening the inevitable — eventually, every bully meets someone meaner and gets the holy fuck knocked out of him. So we’re all good there.

The other thought I had — why is it all of these bullies get in the ring in the first place? Most of them talk trash — to professional fighters, mind you — and seem genuinely convinced they have a shot of winning. I just kept shaking my head whenever that happened.

Um, Chief? You don’t have a prayer against even the lowest-ranked professional fighter, no matter how good you think your lame-ass “streetfighting” is. The reason: the guy is a PROFESSIONAL. This is his damn job. This is what he does for ten hours a day, every day. It’d be like me just assuming I knew how to fly a helicopter because I’d seen one on TV.

Look, I used to fight semi-professionally, and I know any one of these dudes would stomp me into the carpet. Pick a pro MMA guy who’s a foot shorter than me and 75 pounds lighter — he’ll still win.

Believe it or not, this comes back to writing. Because of all the writer people I follow on Twitter, I see the same misconception as the bullies had above (though the writer types generally aren’t as jackassy about it). A lot of folks think “look, I wrote a book. Why isn’t anyone paying me millions of dollars?”

To which I say: awesome! You wrote a book, and that’s not easy to do. But it’s your first one. The bad news is you have to go write a few more now. Then a few more after that. Like the pro fighter, you’ll have to put in an insane amount of practice before you write something that someone will want to publish. You’re not the exception to the rule, and neither am I.

It’s hard work, and it takes a ton of practice to become a professional writer. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. On the plus side, writers rarely get punched in the head.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 14 July 2011 1147

    And, then a few more after that. THEN get lucky and have it go nuclear-like popular. And you’re (Writers for the most part) never going to be Tom Clancy. Or Dean Koontz. They call us starving artists for a reason. What we REALLY need to do is give up our morals, run for Congress, get fat and rich that way, THEN retire and write till our hearts’ content….

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