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

Written by Doug Giles on January 7, 2014

It’s been officially ten years since I started writing my weekly screeds for the online mega-beast called, 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 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.