Two how-to posts right in a row? Look at me go!
A couple of weeks ago I took a class at iO called “How To Get a Literary Agent.” I took it mostly because it was taught by Michael McCarthy and I’m a fan of his. He’s worked at SNL and Sesame Street and has a pretty impressive writing resume so when he speaks, I listen. And he’s just a cool guy who knows his shit.
So here’s what I took away from McCarthy’s class. In order to get a literary agent you have to have an amazing portfolio- remember we’re talking about agents for sitcoms and late night talk shows here. And to have a great portfolio you have to be a good writer. To be a good writer you have to do two things:
1. Write every day. 2. Read every day. It’s that simple. Yet so important.
Mind blowing stuff, right? I’m sure you already know this. I’ve been told it a hundred times and yet I still refuse to do it. Until now. Until the year of 2015 when I am making everything in my life BETTER. At least until February.
I used to be an avid reader. As I kid I read the entire Babysitters Club series in a month. I think we can all admit that’s pretty impressive. But then I grew up and found social media. And instead of filling my brain with book knowledge, I’ve filled it with knowledge about what you did at the gym and who’s child turned one and pretty photos of bloggers showing me their feet. And I hate myself for it.
If someone had a graph of how much time I spent on social media last year I wouldn’t want to see it. Because I could have probably written five spec scripts, filled three notebooks with jokes, and finished two novels in the time I spent scrolling on Instagram. Ugh. But it’s so fun.
I can’t give up social media, it’s my job. And I don’t want to, I love that damn devil feed. But I am going to reduce the time I spend on it. (I bet I’m the first to ever say this.) I’ve got a huge reading list for this year and a book I’m writing that I am going to finish. I AM GOING TO FINISH. I had to write that again because I’ve started and stopped at least ten novels. But this is the one… No matter how shitty that nasty voice in my head tells me it is, I’m finishing it damn it.
As for reading, over the weekend I started Virigina Woolf’s To The Lighthouse because I thought it made me feel smart and pretentious and stuff. But after 30 pages of having no idea what was going on it just made me feel stupid so I said forget it. So now I’m on Z: The Story of Zelda Fitzgerald as per a recommendation from Bon. And I love it so far because I’m a little obsessed with this time in history when the literary celebrities were running around like rockstars jumping between Paris and New York. If you want all of Bon’s recs, check out this post. It’s been my go-to lately. I also like the list Stephen King created, 96 Books Aspiring Writers Should Read.
So let’s recap. How to get a literary agent: get off Facebook and Instagram. Write and read every day.
You’re welcome. Now let’s all go get agents!
“I hope you live a life you’re proud of.” – F. Scott Fitzgerlad