How to be a creative and successful writer. Sort of.

How to be a creative and successful writer. Sort of.

(… or artist. Or musician.)

by Magda Knight

Magda Knight is absolutely convinced that the best way to become a successful writer, artist or musician is to accept you’re a member of the Gang of Struggling Artists and to wear your gang colours with pride. Ooh yes!

Trawling the web will net you a million articles telling you how to be successful as a writer, artist or musician. Hah! These articles claim that to have an indie hit or write an edgy bestseller all you need to do is:

Lies about how to be creative and successful

  • Practise constantly
  • Believe in yourself
  • Promote yourself
  • Join online communities where you can get constructive criticism
  • Never give up or accept rejection

These are really uninspiring methods for success.

All you need to do is remember that you’re in a gang, silly! Every struggling artist is in a gang, the gang of Struggling Artists, and everyone knows that being in a gang makes you stronger, and, of course, every gang has rules:

The truth about how to be creative and successful

  • Wear an aviator jacket. And aviator helmet. And goggles. Wear them at all times. Show your gang colours!
  • Be aware that now you’re in a gang you’re officially dangerrrrrrrous with many ‘r’s in. Don’t moan about how the norms don’t understand you. Just wear your aviator goggles and deal with it.
  • Creative types work alone – except for when they hang out in scary-looking groups. If you find yourself in a scary Struggling Artists group, slouch around looking subversive in your aviator gear and click your fingers like the Sharks and the Jets did in that musical.
  • Ooh, ooh, and sing in harmony.
  • Moving on, be aware that the gang you’ve now joined – the Gang of Struggling Artists – has its own system of hazings and initiations. The standard gang hazing is kinda long-term and usually consists of you being laughed at, ignored and broke, possibly for ever. Don’t moan about it unless you do it in a really cool song or poem, okay? Because everyone else is struggling and broke too and they’ll just think you’re a loser.
  • Develop a thick skin. Develop a heavy petting relationship with alcohol or chocolate or Rimbaud or solitude or your ever-growing collection of 1950s Japanese memorabilia in order to deal with the pain of the hazing period. Your predilection will probably make you a little unusual to non-gang society. You will have to find ways to disguise this, or at least dress it up a little.
  • No-one in the gang is entirely sure how long this hazing period will last. If you wear the aviator jacket, possibly not as long as you’d feared.
  • If you wear the aviator jacket, then you’ll look as cool as the woman in the picture, and if you are a man, you will still look as cool as that.
  • This will definitely make you become famous.
  • You need the people you talk to to be a little bit scared of you, because they’re not struggling artists and you are, so perfect a thousand yard stare.
  • Can’t do a thousand yard stare? Imagine there is an object about three metres behind the person’s eyeballs and look intently at that. Then imagine it moving a metre further away every day…
  • Alternatively, live a difficult life.
  • This next bit is really important, so listen carefully: When you approach your typewriter, keyboard, guitar, easel, camera: ADOPT A BUFFALO STANCE.
  • (Make sure you do not look stupid while you are doing this.)
  • Once you wear your cool artist’s aviator jacket and adopt a buffalo stance, you will be an easy target for people who hate art and all it stands for. They’ll want to bring you down – so avoid sniper bullets when roaming at large.
  • To be on the safe side, live underground.

No-one said it would be easy. If you follow the rules above, I’ve every confidence you will rise to success in any creative field you pursue.


Let Mookychick's newsletter Moth flutter to your side...