Babbage has an interesting post about the recent New York Tech Meetup and how it has its own “peculiar etiquette, which is that there are certain questions that you simply do not ask.” The writer discusses two no-no questions, which boil down to How will you reach a reasonably large audience? and Aren’t you doomed to fail because so-and-so is already doing it? S/he then goes on:
A third question you must never—but really never—pose at a Tech Meetup is “How will you make any money?”
The rationale for all these rules […] is that early-stage start-ups are such delicate flowers that they should be exposed only to optimism and positive vibes, lest they wilt and die in the bright glare of critical thinking.
That, then, is another respect in which start-ups are like movies: they require a temporary suspension of disbelief. Such willing credulity is, especially to a Brit like me, still rather alien—or, dare I whisper it, American. But it is of course what makes an entrepreneurial society possible. And the main lesson from an NY Tech Meetup is that there is a simply astonishing concentration of talented people in this city sparking off each others’ ideas and inventing countless ingenious new services…
This is what it feels like to teach new writers: entering into a mutual suspension of disbelief regarding the real world. Or, rather, as a teacher, deliberately fostering belief in the writers’ ability to defy that reality. It’s one of the primary skills of being a novelist: psychotic self-belief and willful commitment to the impossible–because, y’know, it *might* work. A million other people have tried it, but *I* will succeed.
Hurling oneself at the void, knowing we can do it, knowing we can make it happen–it’s where all art comes from.
2 thoughts on “Don’t mention the money”
It seems so odd to me that a lack of knowledge is a good thing. I’ve always been of the mind that the more you know, the better you can prepare yourself for the road ahead. I think that if there is to be a lie, it should be more along the lines of an absolute worst case scenario. So that, should it happen, there’s a better chance of them getting back up and trying again.
As an unpublished writer, when it comes to the journey ahead I tell myself this:
“You are going to spend long hours pouring your heart, soul, and every ounce of creativity into your stories. After years of hard work and staring into the abyss and you send out your work, you will be rejected by everyone. At least twice. If you don’t give up, keep trying, and mange to get something published, you will still never make enough money to pay for rent.”
It’s how I make sure that what I’m doing is really what I want to be doing. No fame, no fortune, just the passion to tell a good story. But maybe that’s just me and a suspension of disbelief towards reality really is the better way to go for people.
transceptor, it's not lack of knowledge. It's refusal of reality. Different things.
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