An Old Fart’s Advice to New Writers Entering the Culture War

It’s been officially ten years since I started writing my weekly screeds for the online mega-beast called, TownHall.com. I’m glad Jon Garthwaite gave me the opportunity back in ’04 to go public with my brutal musings. I believe I will gift him with a nice box of my Safari Cigars for being kind to this redeemed doper from West Texas. Gracias, Juan. You’re a brave man.

Being the gracious, humble and successful man that I am, I thought I’d leave a bread trail for other writers who’d like to wade into the cultural quagmire via their laptop.

Here’s my advice for wannabe writers of opinion pieces.

1. Don’t expect to get paid. I have writers ask me all the time how much I’ll pay them to write for my website ClashDaily.com. I’m like, “Uh … how about nothing.”

Even though I get paid now, when I started writing I never asked to be paid for my stuff. I saw being on a substantial news portal as an opportunity, so I put my boots on and started kickin’ crap … so to speak.

Here’s an FYI to the wannabe columnist: Unless you’re Krauthammer — and you’re not – you need to know that columns don’t fetch that much money; and unless you live in a Public Storage unit you’re probably gonna need a substantial day job, Narcissi.

2. Stay consistent. Here’s a shocker: No one’s going to beg you for your column. It’s all on you, baby. One of the things that I’ve noticed about impactful writers is … they write. Duh. In this ADHD age as soon as you cease to make a noise you cease to bleep on the national radar. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and skip a few weeks or be sporadic with your writings and watch your page views drop like Paris Hilton’s latest EP. Oh, and rest assured, someone else is ready and willing to take your spot.

And please, don’t tell us about writers block or that you don’t feel inspired. What are you? A moody teenaged girl? No offense, ladies. If you are truly experiencing writer’s block, and aren’t just lazy, remember this maxim: read ‘til you’re full, write ‘til you’re empty.

3. Grow pair of balls. The world of the opinion piece is a brutal place. If you’re overly sensitive when someone shreds your ideas, then you might ought to take up another line of work — like a sales job at Hello Kitty. Note to the new writer: “friends” and foes will attack you. It’s the nature of the beast. The writer’s demesne is realm of the masochist. Wussies need not apply.

4. Get pissed. Martin Luther said he did his best preaching when he was angry. If, as a writer, you’re not enraged regarding how this nation is being hijacked by progressives, then you’re clearly not paying attention and/or you’re high on the north slope trip weed you just bought at Skeeter’s Weed Emporium in Denver. I wish anger wasn’t the writer’s fuel, but in our day everything smells, so attitude sells.

5. But not too pissed. Even though I’m a big proponent of tapping the anger vein when writing, my advice is to dial back a skooch with the rhetoric. Which means dispensing with exclamation points, CAPS LOCK and end-of-the-world zaniness. That’s yelling to the eyeballs. Try to inject humor into the mix to lighten the load. If Mary Poppins taught us anything, it was “just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Break on through, Mary. Do note that there’s a big difference between being serious and delirious.

6. Be brief. Call me nutty, but I ain’t got time for anything over 1000 words. If you can’t say it succinctly then more than likely you don’t get it yet.

7. Understand that the pen is mightier than the sword. That little metonymic adage means that communication can be a more effective tool than direct violence.

And with that I’m done. May God bless your writing ventures in steering this country back to its original roots and on to future greatness.

Peace out.

About the author: Doug Giles

Doug Giles is the Big Dawg at ClashDaily.com and the Co-Owner of The Safari Cigar Company. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. And check out his new book, Rise, Kill and Eat: A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation.

View all articles by Doug Giles
  • John Kirkwood

    Great advice from a great writer. I remember the first column that I ever read of Doug’s about Dirty Harry going to Church! I fell out of my chair!

    • Croco Dile

      Writing about Dirty Harry may be entertaining but, as it seems, did not change anything…. the country is still on the slide.

      What would have changed if Doug would teach readers to get rich. Just as a play with numbers lets’s calculate how many readers would be millionairs by now:

      Gilles wrote 414 articles in last 1,5 yeras. Let’s say 100 people were reading on average.
      This would be 41.400 readers.

      If just 0,05% of his readers wold listen to him over the past 1,5 years the total of new millionairs would be 21 by now. But let us discount 50%, then there would be 10,5…. let’s say 10. Now those 10 would teach another 10 to become a millionair in the next 1,5 years.
      Doug + 10 = 11 x 10 = 110 new millionairs in just 3 years.
      And this is a very conservative calculation…..

      How this would be for the society if Gilles could convince just 2% of his readers to become rich, what about 4% ?!
      Poor people have no power and CAN NOT defend freedom !

      Now our new plan is – write some more about Dirty Harry !

  • Gilly

    Thank you for sharing your Doug style of wisdom Mr. Giles. As an aspiring writer it does help. I think the best point is staying consistent. It does get discouraging sometimes and it’s easy to find reasons not to write.

  • Thomas Sharp

    West Texas wit, bad boy grit and all made worth reading because Jesus saved all of it.
    May Almighty God continue to bless you Mr Giles.
    Thanks for the writing tips too.

    • texas57

      Happy New Year bro

      • Thomas Sharp

        And to you my fellow Patriot

  • Chris P

    Wow – ten years of writing misleading headlines and negativity. Apparently it hasn’t done much but breed a bunch of negative whiners that have been deluded into thinking that the right is right. Global warming proceeds apace despite the hot air.

    • Mariloyin

      Wow, yourself, Chris P. Talk about deluded! And to Mr. Giles – GREAT article. Terrific writing! I had to look up two words! Thanks for the super advice, also. How do I get to find/read “Dirty Harry Going to Church?” Marilyn

    • TRex

      I think Chris P has a man crush on Giles. He’s constantly on ClashDaily.com trolling the posts. Get a life.

      • Chris P

        Just making sure the headlines are accurate and noticing how much hate there is. It’s a barometer of the deluded.

        • Freddy Neat Shee

          Yes! All those haters on the right should be shot! But I don’t want to have a gun…. Still, I hope they all die in a fire, along with everyone else I disagree with!

          • Chris P

            As I said – deluded.

          • Freddy Neat Shee

            You misunderstand – I’m with you here! I just can’t let anyone know who I really am, so I’m using a disguise. (I know, it’s subtle).

          • Mark Robn

            Ft Hood: Registered Democrat/Muslim.

            Columbine: Too young to vote; both families were registered Democrats and progressive liberals.

            Virginia Tech: Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff.

            Colorado Theater: Registered Democrat; staff worker on the Obama campaign;

            Occupy Wall Street participant; progressive liberal.

            Connecticut School Shooter: Registered Democrat; hated Christians.

            ———– Hey Freddy ————

            What’s that again…?

            Freddy said:
            Yes! All those haters on the right should be shot! But I don’t want to have a gun…. Still, I hope they all die in a fire, along with everyone else I disagree with!

            My response:
            All those haters… I hope they all die…

            and you called me “heretical”?

            and you called me “hypocritical”?

            LOL — You are so stupid, Freddy, I think it’s funny.

          • Freddy Neat Shee

            Hey! Me and my perfectly normal glasses and nose don’t take kindly to being laughed at! I’m not a clown at all! As you can see, I like Marx. A lot.

          • Mark Robn

            Freddy: As you can see, I like Marx. A lot.

            Is that Groucho… or, Karl?

          • Freddy Neat Shee

            Groucho, of course :-) This was back when it took *talent* to be in comedy.

          • Mark Robn

            Well, there is a God — that’s something I actually agree with you on.

      • Melbo58

        ‘baggers, always bringing up man on man sex! I lock up the kids whenever I remotely suspect one of you are around.

        • Freddy Neat Shee

          Wow — it’s a good thing you didn’t bring that up, in say, your first word here. Or we may get the wrong idea.

    • The_Frog_Prince

      You still don’t get it do ya Chrissy? Got a tingle up your leg too do ya boy?

    • Jay Star

      “Global warming proceeds ” Right, thats why right now I’m freezing my ass off, hot air or not!

    • vicki

      ” Global warming proceeds apace despite the hot air.”

      Quite accurate really. Though where I come from they call it “seasons”.

    • Freddy Neat Shee

      Random words! On a page! You go, my witless brother! Fight the powah!

  • Gale

    Thanks, good advice. Nuf said.

  • scot sims

    Don’t expect to get paid.

    Clashdaily: a division of WalMart.

    • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

      … as opposed to the union-backed commenters on various discussion boards? careful, you may be saying more than you intend to :-P

      • scot sims

        Nah.

  • David

    Good article – good advice.

  • Oilfart1

    my homey.

  • LetsJustVoidTheBillOfRights

    2014, at last, Doug. Isn’t it time we start asking hard questions again…? Like: WHO is conducting and/or LYING about the “many” polls allegedly describing Chris Christie as the GOP poll “leader”? I haven’t seen a SINGLE POLL in which Christie is anywhere other than at the BOTTOM of the poll. I don’t know ANYONE who plans to vote for that RAT RINO! I believe the GOP leadership to be in cahoots with compliant segments of the media, in a determined effort to convince us of yet another LIE. We’ve got PLENTY of RINOS and RINO CHRISTIE IS NOT RIGHT FOR AMERICA!

    Ted Cruz looks to be THE conservative choice for President, and Allen West or Michele Bachmann look like VERY GOOD options for VP. Further, there are a DOZEN other conservatives FAR better than RINO Christie out there. Let’s poke O’Reilly, Hannity,
    Greta, Rush, Bret, Mike, Glenn Beck, our friends and families, et al… and get ‘em to help us figure out just “Who’s foolin’ Whom here?”
    Join me?
    SHARE?

  • scrambo

    I have cut back on much of what I read…and I have unsubscribed from a bunch a sites…with that being said…Doug Giles is one of my favorites for exactly the things he suggests to the wannabes…

  • Liberalism Is Nonsense

    The fierce conflict between civilization’s rigors and our primitive instincts is a primary source of discontent and protest against liberty and free enterprise.

  • J. Brown

    Sage advice.

  • Melbo58

    A progressive response if you will:
    1. In a free market, you’re paid what you’re worth. (in your case nothing)
    2. The Chinese turn out crap. We libs hold ourselves to a higher standard than just vomiting nonsense.
    3. Why do T-bags always manage to squeeze in the word “balls”?
    4. Anger and hatred at everything non-white and 1950′s is in no short supply with ‘yall. As far as MLK goes, you people would steal the sun if it wasn’t to hot to handle!
    5. Might as well be preaching the gospel to hook worms. (see #4)
    6. We progressives love to read and do not suffer from short attention spans. Many arguments and philosophies that are worth a damn tend to be “lengthy”.

    7. Well we know how well violence worked out for your kin in 1865. To my shame, some of us wish you guys would give it a try again.

    • Jay Star

      #7 Be careful what you wish for! Ugly things happen!

    • Bulldog74

      1. Since when did “$15/hr for flipping burgers” liberals know anything about free markets?
      2. Right, like the higher standards exhibited on MSNBC…go tell it to Romney’s grandkid.
      3. You have a problem with the word “balls” when you routinely refer to those with whom you disagree politically by using a crude sexual term? (BTW, doesn’t that make you a homophobe?)
      4. The reference was to Martin Luther, not MLK Jr…you’re only off by a continent and about 400 years. So how’s that progressive public school education working out for you?
      5. You’ve pretty much proven the author’s point (see #4).
      6. Apparently you don’t love to read enough, or you’d at least be able to differentiate between Martin Luther, a pillar of the Reformation, and Martin Luther King Jr., a pillar of the Civil rights movement.
      7. There is a BIG difference between the men who held the Union line at Gettysburg and the liberal candyasses who inhabit their territory today and literally faint at the word “gun.”

      • Melbo58

        When you guys came out of the “closet” in ’09 that’s what you called yourselves! Not my fault you were too ignorant and or lazy to find out what the term meant first.

        • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

          I’ve never really understood the penchant for leftists to try to annoy people they disagree with by accusing them of being gay. It’s almost like leftists think that being gay is a sin, or something. So — are leftists branching out? I mean, was there some meeting where you all got together and said “Hey, great job on slaughtering all those blacks. They’re pretty much heading towards oblivion under their own power now, even to the point where they get offended if someone points out they’re killing themselves. So who do we do away with next? How about those homosexuals!” ?

        • Bulldog74

          Sorry Melbo, it’s kind of hard to take offense from someone who doesn’t know the difference between Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr.

    • carlcasino

      You are on my list of people to piss off in 2014. Write something sane , with just a little fact and I might attempt to enlighten you. Probably not worth the ink but give it a shot.

      • Melbo58

        Elbert, in cyber space, ink has no function. Idiot.

    • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

      Oh, goody — I love these :-)

      1. He currently does get paid. But you don’t get paid to add to his site by posting (or do you? Not by him. Then again, paying bloggers to spout insanity doesn’t get covered by Campaign Finance laws, does it?)

      2. Good for you, I think. How is this relevant to the article, or any comment on it?

      4. Well, there’s hatred, and then there’s hatred. Doug may post a couple of new articles that highlight the comparative difference in violent crime committed by different self-identified groups, but that isn’t hate. However, slaughtering close to 500,000 black people a year goes a little bit beyond hate, doesn’t it? I would say that steps into “genocide” territory. But it’s all good if the people doing the slaughtering are a non-profit that gets government funds, right? But hey, after redeeming 20,000,000 murders of blacks, the powers that be allow a (half) black man to be president! Yippee!

      5. Not too familiar with hooking, so I don’t really catch that reference. But I’m sure it’s a doozy. But if this is a Biblical reference, you may find it informative that the Apostles fished primarily using nets.

      6. I didn’t have enough time to write you a short letter. So I wrote a long one instead. (Bonus quotes if you can guess the author name without using Google).

      7. Based on my limited reading of this site, I don’t think that Doug identifies himself as a Democrat, who are responsible for the KKK, Jim Crow laws, and opposing Civil Rights legislation. And there are some notable Democrat presidents too: Woodrow Wilson, who gave us the Income Tax, also installed the first movie theater in the White House — to play “Birth of a Nation”, a pro-KKK movie. And LBJ, who was polite enough to say “I’ll have them n-words voting Democrat for 200 years!”. But it didn’t end in 1967 — Since the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade invented a right to abortion in all states (as opposed to a state-by-state issue), over 20,000,000 blacks have been murdered due to how inconvenient they are — and the assassin is paid by the mother in this case. Currently in New York, black babies are as likely to be aborted as born, and in the country in general, blacks account for almost 40% of all abortions, even though they are 12% of the population. So in this country, we have a racially biased way of exterminating people we don’t care for too much, and all of this is considered A Good Thing™ by the Democrats. Tell me, why do you hate blacks so much?

      Edit: I almost forgot: “balls”.

      • Melbo58

        Homer, the Klan switched to the RepubliKlans in 1965. Couldn’t handle the civil and voting rights act. Your asinine ass knew that but playing dumb comes second natural to teabaggers.

        • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

          Err.. Not to confuse your obviously well-thought out vitriol with facts, but it was the Democrat party that voted down the Civil Rights act so many times (Al Gore, Sr., was “involved” in this, among a lot of other heavy hitters in the Democrat party).

          Also, when discussing his “we’ll pay you to destroy your own people” act, also known as the Great Society programs, LBJ said “I’ll have them n-words voting democrat for 200 years”. Also, he said this:

          “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again.” — LBJ (Democrat)

          But! Maybe everyone switched parties after that! Let’s see if we can find the latest instance of a klansman in high office…

          Oh! Here we go! The only senator to *not* show up for Obama’s inauguration, who also happens to be not just a klansman but a kleagle (high-ranking klansman). It’s Robert Byrd. Democrat of West Virginia.

          I could do this all day. But, you should keep supporting the party that has slaughtered over 20,000,000 blacks in this country, one inconvenience at a time, or that continues to vote for policies that are proven to directly lead to high (~50%) unemployment for black teenagers from 18-25 years of age. And remember, *you* are the man that is keeping the black man down. You would make a great klansman, and because of that, you would not be welcome in the Tea Party.

          • Guest

            Oh, and thank you for using my real name. To celebrate your achievement, here’s a recent image of me (note: Leftists were against blacks back then too :-) )

          • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

            Oh, and thank you for using my real name, too. Here’s an image of me from way back. Note: Leftists still hated blacks:

          • Melbo58

            Your key board is the hardest working chip in show ‘biz!
            My god man your children have to deaf and your wife stark raving mad! Repeat after me, less is more.

          • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

            You haven’t lived until you’ve had a blowout at 120WPM. Quite the experience! ;-)

          • Melbo58

            Have a happy new year.

          • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

            And a happy new year to you as well. :-)

          • Freddy Neat Shee

            Ho. Ho? Ho! OH! :-)

    • Willi Wonka

      Guys!!!! DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
      (That how it’s done Doug?)

      • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

        If it’s a real live human being as a troll, and they appear to be new, not responding to them will only win the current fight. Sometimes, it’s possible to reflect their logic back onto themselves, and cause them to disappear into a puff of logic. When this happens, you have won all the future fights too :-)

    • dontdoitagain

      Some of us just love to write…getting paid doesn’t have much meaning if you love to write. How many people, including our president, love to golf? How many get paid? Have I made my point or do you want to fight about it?

    • Jason Sylvester

      That’s not a “response,” it’s simply a collage of semi-literate bilge.

      Just two points: “as far as MLK goes, you people would steal the sun if it wasn’t to (Sic) hot to handle!” – (1) He was referencing the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, moron, not your little adulterous, plagiarizing, woman-beating demi-god “MLK.” Learn to read better before you start typing.

      “Well we know how well violence worked out for your kin in 1865. To my shame, some of us wish you guys would give it a try again” – (2) Oh no you don’t. You cowardly “progressives” wouldn’t last two weeks against a roused Red State military force finally forced into armed revolt. The Blue States – or I should really say, regions – would empty overnight with tens of millions of you fleeing to Canada and other points beyond in shrieking emigration were it to come down to WBTS’s II. It is that simple.

      • Melbo58

        Mighty fat talk from a chicken hawk keyboard Commandant! BTW, your demi-god, Reagan, burns in Malebolge*.

        *look it up, cletus

      • Guest

        yeah, the M. Luther that wrote the screed ‘On Jews and their Lies’, a much better man no doubt….

        • sudsy

          Could you please give me that link! I never heard that before.

  • dontdoitagain

    Number 3 is the one I had to get used to. The absolute hatred of some people is unbelievable. I had to have netpolice track down one of the people who wrote to me. I don’t even blog about something that should be so controversial as to generate hate mail.

    • http://www.norad.mil/ Dr_Falken

      When your arguments can’t be refuted, they tend to attack the messenger. Look at “Mark”, “merlin”, and some others on here for examples of condensed hatred. I personally just feel sorry for them. But if they try to take it to the next level, feel free to blast away :-)

      You’ll usually find that atheists who are unsure of their position, or know that their position is not backed by logic, tend to be the most spiteful and hateful.

      HOWEVER, there are some atheists on the net and here specifically that are polite, rational, and reasonable, and will answer a polite query with a polite response. These are people that are not trying to prove (to themselves) that they are right. I’ve found I can very politely disagree with some, and would even count a couple among my friends, even though I am not atheist.

      • dontdoitagain

        I am an agnostic, so I am familiar with both sides. Religion is called “faith” for a reason. Some days I can hardly wait to go to church and commune with God, and other days I feel like a superstitious person who will believe in anything. So it goes.

    • cochise1

      Leftists tend to be the most hate-filled. I know we have some nuttters on the right but you really can’t have a civil discussion with most leftists. Politely disagree with them and be prepared for personal attacks calling you every vile name they can think of. They are also wedded to obscenities and like to pepper their screeds with the ‘F’ word and other filth. For some reason, left-wing gays seem the worst. Post something disagreeing (politely) with gay marriage and you will be called words you never knew existed.

      • mtman2

        The so called “nutters on the right”, really aren’t on the right, they’re at the end of a dead end road watching the world they really don’t comprehend go by -while they shout out the rhetoric they do!

  • Socialism is Evil. Organized.

    Those of the liberty school recognize our mind’s limits and are humble toward the processes through which Western civilization has expanded.

  • tom cook

    Doug, I read you relentlessly, but Garthwaite is a pussy. He refuses the tough stuff which is designed to shock and anger and get people aroused. He’s small.

  • Fred Oliver

    Doug, That last sentence is for you: “May God bless your writing ventures in steering this country back to its original roots and on to future greatness.” I have enjoyed and forwarded many of the Clash Daily articles and find in them a good ‘touchstone’ read. I and many others thank you for your efforts. Keep up the great work.

    May God bless your writing ventures in steering this country back to its original roots and on to future greatness.
    Read more at http://clashdaily.com/2014/01/old-farts-advice-new-writers-entering-culture-war/#8eOAc5bMG0O50AEe.99
    May God bless your writing ventures in steering this country back to its original roots and on to future greatness.
    Read more at http://clashdaily.com/2014/01/old-farts-advice-new-writers-entering-culture-war/#8eOAc5bMG0O50AEe.99

  • vicki

    Well and succinctly said.

  • CharlieFromMass

    Well done.

  • marineh2ominer

    You haven’t told me the most important thing , how to get my stuff read by progressives ? They are the ones that need to hear it , not the choir .

    • vamark

      If you want progressives to read what you write, then write something that would interest progressives. If you preach to the choir, you’ll get read by the choir.

      • speedle24

        Progressives don’t read usually. If they did (read with understanding) they probably wouldn’t be progressives. So there is your Catch 22.

        • mtman2

          You can pull in the strays, mavericks, the sincere searchers and the honestly lost that’ll respond to the magnetic power of truth and light!

  • Toastertreat

    Hello Doug, is there a link you could post with a guide as to how to submit an article in the first place? That would be really helpful to get started. Thanks

  • Michael Geer

    Get to the point first
    Backstory it second
    Get the facts right (readrrs can access Google)
    Write for yourself, not a bunch of editors
    Ruthlessly edit yourself so they don’t have to

    Editors: “Those who come down on the field after the battle to bayonet the wounded.”

  • G26

    This is a lamp that I’ve found useful for eluding the dark and despotic march of most of mankind: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • Bruno’s Beach

    Well, if one thing is clear, it’s that Hussein Obama is a liar, a fraud, and a fool.

  • toongail

    Thank you..

  • cornbread01

    #3 is WTF is wrong with over half the American voters!

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