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Career Counseling

Okay, I thought my Wikipedia entry sucked until I read this one.

My friend Jason Blum (see photo) told me he thinks I prefer to write my life than to live it. I admit, it stung a little. But there are advantages. You can edit out all the boring parts. You get to say all those things you wish you had said but weren't smart enough to come up with on the fly. You get to have the perfect second date... in short, you can make things work out! As a writer, wouldn't it be great not to have to actually write, it started me wondering....

It's Easy to Talk about Writing... Even Easier To Do It!

The best way to be a writer is to not be one. Writers are always whining about having to write. You can be just as successful as a writer if you aren't a writer. And this way you can free up all the time you would have to spent writing each day with something more fun.

When I decided to write my memoir, I wasn't really a writer. I was an unemployed news producer. You see how easy it is to be something else! In fact, the best way to ensure success as a writer is to spend most of your time not writing. For instance, if you are in college and want to be a writer why waste all your time in boring English classes when you can be playing sports instead? Why slog through the Cliffs Notes of War and Peace when you can drop acid?

Or be a movie star... Even after your career comes to a screeching halt people will be interested in what you have to say about everything, even stuff you know nothing about.

But if you have no qualifying talent and don't want to have to go to all those annoying auditions, just have sex with a bunch of stars. You see how easy it is! If your father is still mad at all the money he wasted on piano lessons, sleep with rock stars and be a writer instead. How proud would Dad be then!

The government offers many opportunities for a writing career. As does a career in espionage or a stint in prison. In fact, as a murderer you are guaranteed a two-book deal, and you can option the movie rights. But if you want to stay on this side of the law, actually just being a lawyer is fine training for a career in writing, although I strongly recommend being related to a murderer (saves all that tuition and can guarantee you a bestseller).

Note: For all you old-fashioned writers who insist on writing, it's important to know the rules. See Confidential Memo Leaked By Anonymous High-Ranking Publishing Officials below.

To: Writers
From: Publishers
Re: Minimum required percentage of truthful content when embarking on a writing career

  • Memoir: 5% (As set forth by James Frey in the televised panel "Defining Memoir" with Larry King, James Frey, James Frey's Mom, and Oprah).
  • Fiction: 0% ??? Optionally, may contain "ring of truth."
  • History: 10% ??? Should be at least twice as truthful as memoir, as dictated by current truth in memoir guidelines.
  • Criticism: 1% ??? Should get basic facts straight, such as names and works of artists or authors under discussion.
  • Biography: 2.5% ??? Similar to a memoir, but with a lower requirement: after all, a biographer cannot be expected to "remember" things better than the subject of the biography.
  • Autobiography: 6% ??? If unable to meet this requirement, must be recategorized as "Memoir." If "Memoir" is also too stringent a requirement, recast as "Biography" and publish under a pseudonym.

*Thanks Mark Iocolano

Question of the Day:
What is the anagram for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito?

"We create narratives for people, because they are simpler than the complexities of real lives. Everyone wants a good story, with a prince and a princess and a villain."
— Carole Radziwill, What Remains

Books mentioned in this post

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Carole Radziwill is the author of What Remains: A Memoir of Fate Friendship

13 Responses to "Career Counseling"

    terri January 24th, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    your friend's cute! what don't you like about your wikipedia? funny memo ... my favorite quote from what remains, btw "Then Gigi muddied the bloodline with an illicit romp with a German shepherd, and Cocoa was born. The DiFalcos could never quite summon a proper appreciation for lineage." it's in the top 10 anyway ...

    Have you done a reading at Powell's yet? are you going to???

    michelle January 24th, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    anagram is Mule Salito? ... Asalito? Lame Slolita? ... I can't get it .. do you have your own blog i can read somewhere? what are you reading now? are you working on another book??

    Mark Iocolano January 24th, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    Samuel Alito:





    I AM A LEO SLUT (my favorite - his birthday is April Fool's day, so he doesn't have to be zodiaccurate)

    I AM A OLE SLUT (variation)

    I AM LOU TESLA (brother of Nicola)




    AIM TO SUE ALL (That Yale Law Degree pays off)

    ALUM AT ELI: SO? (Reaction of Yale classmates)


    Janis B. January 24th, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    So do you know someone whose father thinks he wasted money on piano lessons? Just curious.
    And when can we expect the next book?

    I think your friend is cute too.

    Daniela Elliott January 25th, 2006 at 7:59 am

    Samuel Alito anagram:

    I smote U all! (au . . .)

    Richard January 25th, 2006 at 11:36 am

    I always thought I had a book in me to write. Now all I have to do is not write it, live it! Always fun reading your blog, keep it coming.

    Sue Liddick January 25th, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Anagram...LA Mouse Tail. OK, so it isn't a good one...

    duffy January 25th, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    In the NY Times today, Frey is now hauling out two character references from rehab-a crooked judge and another crackhead.

    Let's send Frey a bottle of Jack Daniels with our sympathies.

    Our Wicked, Wicked Ways

    Mikki Spiegel Machado January 25th, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    Hey, atleast I made the book, right next to Joey Tiso and the skateboarding memories. Thought the book as great and it is still making it's way thru my family. Though about you quite often thru the years. Will there be another book in the future? Hope so! Would love to hear from you. By the way, I am totally disappointed in James Frey...wonder what Oprah thinks!!!

    Ingrid January 25th, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    Hi, Carole,

    Have you and Fran Leibowitz ever been seen in the same room together? Because "Metropolitan Life," has a useful essay on how much more fun and profitable it is to not write something than it is to actually exert yourself. Maybe there's a Parent Trap-type situation going on?

    Anything I can do to reunite a family, I'm there.

    Also wanted to share an Oprah Book Club Fun Fact: If you play Wilson Phillips' sunny anthem "Hold On" backwards, you can hear the words, "James Frey writes dialogue Russ Meyer would be ashamed of,"!!!

    Ed Cosgrove January 26th, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Samuel Alito anagram:

    Sam, u lie a lot.

    I tried for "How can you have a 'unitary executive' when the president actually lost the popular vote", but the letter count was a little off...

    Jeanie Boawn January 27th, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    Ed Cosgrove, that's awesome. A lot of people did ones with "lout" in them, but didn't see this one:

    A slime, a lout.

    Mylese February 1st, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Carole,

    I was in the audience when you were on the Oprah show. I have never been a big Kennedy groupie, so the topic was rather uninteresting to me. When I received the book, I thought, "OK. Another thing to clutter up my house." But I did read it, and loved it. I wanted to apologize for my initial thoughts, because you are right: Start to read the book and you know it isn't just another author trying to cash in on the Kennedy story. Thanks for a beautifully written, heart tugging story. I'm glad that time heals.

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