It’s funny because it’s true. The world overflows with “aspiring” writers who haven’t read anything in years, if not decades, but are convinced they have an idea so neato-keen that as soon as they touch ink to paper the page will fly directly to the New York Times bestseller list.
I’d say the “aspiring writer” I encounter most often is the one who thinks that because I have (a) a published book and (b) a literary agent, I can serve as a magic gateway to publication that bypasses all the hard, slogging work that went into making (a) and (b) happen. They’re the ones who shake their heads and shrug me off when I tell them to prepare a professional book proposal package consisting of some sample chapters and an outline. They say “I don’t want to do an outline. I’d rather have the book editor read the whole thing. That gives the flavor a lot better.” And I would prefer that the book editor simply send me a pre-endorsed blank check along with Shakira’s private belly-dance number, but since that ain’t gonna happen I follow the editorial guidelines to the letter whenever I make a submission. That doesn’t guarantee acceptance, but to do otherwise guarantees rejection.
It’s hard enough making headway in this field without adding self-sabotage to the mix. That’s a lesson many “aspiring” writers need to learn. A lot of them never do, which is the reason I put those sarcastic quotation marks around “aspiring.”