I took a day off from blogging yesterday because, well, I'm not your blog-writing butt-monkey, despite evidence to the contrary. ;)
So, today's topic is "The magical book of crap." Now I know that you're all going to start whining on me and flopping around like dying fish because only a few days ago I suggested you make a book to help motivate and encourage you. (Yes, I'm so evil for suggesting that.)
Relax though, the magical book of crap isn't a book you make, it's a book you find:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the absolute worst book you can find that is published and on shelves. Now be careful with this. You want something not published by the author, but something published by a publishing house that publishes other things. The more well known the house, the better, because it shows you just how high you can really aim in life.
It is preferable that this MBC be something in the genre you write in. Afterall if you write thrillers, you might think 'all' chick lit is crap, so that's cheating. Now why are you finding this book? I think it's pretty obvious.
To quote Stephen King's book "On Writing" (A book which I WILL be doing a blog about because it's fabulous and if you have only room for one more book on your writer's bookshelf, get that one.) King states: "Almost everyone can remember losing his or her virginity, and most writers can remember the first book he/she put down thinking: I can do better than this. Hell,I am doing better than this!
This is what you're looking for, that magical one book, the worst you can find of your genre, to serve as your magical book of crap. You're looking for the book that's published, hopefully by a known publisher, that is worse than what you're doing NOW. I'm not saying you should aim for mediocrity with your craft. One of the best assets you have is a strong natural writing voice, and craft. But if you see something worse than what you're already doing being published, then you know there isn't as much as you originally thought standing in your way.
Once you find your MBC, I would suggest taking the cover off and framing and hanging it on the wall over your computer. No matter what happens, there is likely someone who sucks a lot more than you do, being happily published. Now I don't personally know about this individual's connections or who they're sleeping with, but at least a few of them just really made it there on their own. And I've seen some pretty scary author pictures; I find it highly unlikely they're sleeping their way to the top.
Good writing is subjective. To some degree bad writing is too. Although I believe there is a point that most of us agree on as being bad writing. Continue to improve your craft and rise above mediocrity with the power of your words, but remember the magical book of crap. If they can achieve publication, so can you.