"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling
I am not even joking a little bit when I say that.
2. No, really don't.
3. DEFINITELY don't---I mean it.
4. Whatever you might be imagining about a life of writing, it's not like that.
5. OK, if you're going to anyway, if you're going to be a writer of any quality, you will have to commit yourself to writing---which is something that, when you're young and idealistic, sounds incredibly easy to do, but you should commit almost as if you were some ancient Greek or Egyptian committing yourself to a god.
If you do right by the god, then the god may, at some point in the future, reward you. But if you slack off and don't do right by your talent or your god, then you are heading for a world of immense and unimaginable pain. If you have a gift that you choose to pursue, then you have to pursue it seriously. Don't be half-assed about it, but realize what that commitment means.
Committing yourself to writing will mean, to a certain extent, your writing will become the most important part of your life---and that's a big thing to say. It can have a distancing effect upon other relationships. It can be sometimes quite a solitary life. If you're committed to your writing, you're going to spend most of your life indoors in a silent, empty room, concentrating on a pen and a piece of paper or their equivalent. Be prepared to take it seriously and be prepared to follow where it takes you, even if that takes you to some very strange places.
This is by no means the most glamorous profession.
Don't say that I didn't warn you.
Anyway, I want to talk about some other stuff. Like books! And comics! And... Other things!
I set aside Declare by Tim Powers to read some other worthies:
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane- I've read everything by this guy, and he is really turning out some incredible stuff. He's written seven novels so far, and every one of them is an addictive thriller written by someone with a poet's sense of the language. This is probably my least favorite of his books, but I have nothing but admiration for the guts he had to write it.
The Hunger and Ecstasy of Vampires by Brian Stableford- Stableford has long been a writer I wished to try. He writes in a lot of different genres, but one of the things he's really known for is his scientific romances (this is a term used to describe the works of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and other early writers of science fiction).
After that, I figure on reading the entirety of Raymond Chandler's work. Start with the short stories, then burn through all seven novels. I am addicted to story, and need as much as I get of it right now.
Speaking of which, which I wasn't, here's an interview with one of my heroes, Grant Morrison. Pay particular attention to the portion where he talks of his upcoming comic Vimanarama. I'm really looking forward to this. Morrison had an indelible effect on the way I think when I was in my teens. Unlike many other writers, he continues to impress to this day. Fucking pop genius.