Too Stupid to Know Any Better

Okay, so it’s not the nicest way to put it, right? I apologize. I really have issues with the word ‘stupid’, so I try to use it sparingly. My father frequently called me stupid as a child, and more frequently asked me if I was stupid. I mean, how are you supposed to answer that?

“What are you, stupid?”

“Uh, yeah?”

So pardon me for the use of the word if it bothers you like it does me, but let’s try to keep the word in perspective and remove any power it has to enjoy the intent behind this post!

Here’s the thing. I’ve been reading about writing for a lot longer than I’ve been professionally writing. I’ve read all the ones who broke into the scene and many of the ones who haven’t or didn’t. I’ve read the good advice, the bad advice and the advice that makes you say, “Huh?”

I’ve watched some careers take off that I wouldn’t have expected while others I know have potential never make it.

I did an interview once with Karen Quinn, the author of The Ivy Chronicles, Wife in the Fast Lane, Holly Would Dream. Check out the interview here, because she has a great voice and humor and is fun to read her thoughts. In that interview, she said that she wrote her first book in three months. Not because she’s that good or any other reason except that she didn’t have any idea how long it would take to write a book. No one had told her it would take years or months. No one had told her that writing a best-selling novel in three months was impossible. So what happened? She wrote it in three months. Okay, she admits to having to flesh it out some, but the point is, she didn’t know any better, so she just did it. Sarah Jessica Parker is playing the lead character in the movie adaptation of her novel. I wonder what might have happened if someone had told her, and she believed them, that it would take years to write her novel. What do you think might have happened?

I have a friend on AWF who isn’t well versed in the ways of writing. She is being offered small publishing contract after contract for things she’s submitted when other writers who are, in my opinion more experienced and perhaps even more polished writers, are not getting the contracts. Why? Because my friend submits without really taking the time to think about it and talk herself out of it. She submits, even if, perhaps, it’s not quite the right market. I laughed at her once, saying, “I never would have submitted that to this place!” They published her and paid her for it. Why? Because, she said she was just too stupid to know any better.

Here’s what I’m trying to tell you — when it comes to the publishing and writing world, while it’s good to be educated, knowledgeable, and all that jazz, it’s also important, I think, to sometimes be ‘too stupid to know any better’.

I think that sometimes we know too much, we read too much, and we talk ourselves out of taking chances that, had we been too stupid to know any better, we might have just taken–with positive results for us for having done so.

So when you write, write with experience, education, skill and talent. When you submit, maybe let yourself be just a little too stupid to know any better.

It might just help keep you from second guessing yourself.

I admit, I need a solid dose of stupidity sometimes. I am the worst about reading the previous winners and their entries in a contest and thinking, “I’ll never win against that.”

Wish I was too stupid to know how good those entries were, ’cause then I might not have talked myself out of entering!

See what I mean?

Who wants to be stupid with me? Come on, we can do it! Everyone needs a little stupidity now and then!

Keep writing! Stay stupid!

Love and stuff,
Michy