Mastodon theory of writing, what’s that?
Think of being a writer as being like a prehistoric human. You’re a hunter and gatherer. You subsist on berries and nuts, grazing as you move from place to place.
But the big prize, the real treat, is the mastodon.
Only catching a mastodon isn’t easy.
It takes time.
It takes cooperation.
It takes persistence.
Writing is like that: the lower paying jobs, or just the easy stuff (the editor who comes to you with an assignment, the company you’ve been working for for several years) is the low-hanging fruit.
It’s the nuts and berries.
But what you really want is the mastodon.
The mastodon is the Big Assignment. Maybe it’s the book you’ve always wanted to write.
Maybe it’s the 10,000-word narrative nonfiction piece.
Or the radio feature for NPR.
It could even be the 500-word piece in the Big Name Publication.
I know where I’m getting my nuts and berries.
And I know where the mastodon is.
I’m sharpening my spears. I’m ready to hunt this mastodon. And this time I plan to catch him.
What about your writing work? Are you picking nuts and berries or are you hunting a mastodon?
Published: June 13, 2010
Updated: January 20, 2020