My very first book went on sale the other day. I could have never done it without the great help and encouragement of many good friends — you know who you are. Since the book’s release, once again, I’ve been getting lots of mail from good folks who ask me for advice on how to become a writer. Gee, I really wish I could give you some easy answer. But I really can’t think of one.
First problem is that I don’t consider myself a writer. Guys who I think make my writing look very poor all write for LRC. Lew Rockwell, Robert Klassen, Anthony Gregory, Paul Craig Roberts, Gary North, and the list goes on and on. If I don’t really consider myself a writer, then how can I give decent advice on how to write?
That being said, I can say that I believe myself to be an over-achiever and an extremely lucky person. I also know that you create your own luck. When I was a young man, I was in a fairly famous Rock Band and we were the proverbial “one-hit wonders.” That’s been almost 30 years ago and our record is still on sale and in it’s fourth or fifth release. That’s amazing. What’s even more amazing is that, when we started the band, none of us knew how to play (except the guitarist) and within 6 months, we had one of the most famous Punk Rock songs ever made by an American band. How did that happen? I know. I believed in us.
Then, years later, after I came to Japan, I wanted to be in TV and in movies. I did that. I got my first TV show in Japan within one month of moving here. What’s even more amazing is that I couldn’t speak Japanese. Then I was in a very famous Japanese drama that I hear is even available for rental in America at video shops that cater to the Japanese. That’s amazing. How did that happen? I believed in myself.
This then led to me hosting my own TV and radio shows. One day, when I was about 34, I realized that being on TV and radio was a dead-end job — TV and radio is the world of the young and beautiful people. I was getting old for that business. So I started producing shows. I had worked in radio a long time, so producing a hit show there wasn’t a problem. And I made many. I had never produced a TV show — And it’s a completely different thing than producing a radio show. But I started producing a TV show on May 1st. Now, in my very first role as a TV show producer, I was told by the Executive Producer of the station that my show is going to be a smash hit and he said it was the best show on the station. That’s amazing. How did that happen? I believed in myself.
And now my book… Will it sell well? I do not hope it will, I believe it will. You see, hope and belief are two completely different things. Hope is, well, hope; it’s a wish. Believing is knowing.
So if you really do wish to become a writer, then you must believe. You mustn’t try, you must do. I think it was Woody Allen who said, “80% of getting a book or manuscript published is actually sitting down and writing it.” He’s right.
Robert Klassen offered me some excellent advice: “Just keep writing and refining your craft.” Yes. It’s just like anything else, anyone can have raw talent, but they must make the effort to create and polish their work — and in turn, their spiritual attitude.
Stop wasting time watching TV. Make every moment of everyday a learning experience. Try to see things differently than you ever did before. Take your time when talking with others. Try to enjoy everything more. Make the effort to never lose your temper — that’s very bad for your spirit and well-being. Start to read books. Read them and enjoy them, but also analyze them. How did the writer convey his message? How was the writer able to make you laugh, cry, or become angry? Learn. Then begin the process yourself. Write, then rewrite; and do it again. Get into the correct frame of mind (There’s that spiritual part again). Begin to submit to many on-line publications. Getting rejected is not a failure. It is all a part of the learning process. In this day and age, we certainly do not have a problem with subject-matter or writing about things that affect all of us emotionally.
And finally, if you are like me, then realize that your worst enemy is most probably yourself. Overcome anxiety and procrastination. They are the things that are holding you back from everything that you want to be in all areas of your life — whether you wish to be a writer, a painter, a film-maker, or just the boss.
Trust me here folks, if I could write and publish a book, then I believe that you can too. So if you really and truly want to become a writer, you can. Don’t dream it, be it.
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, goes on sale in July.