Friday, September 11, 2009


"I'm a typer who WANTS to be a writer..." --Cap'n Fatty Goodlander

I've never met Fatty, but I know the sound of his voice and his amusing way of turning a phrase. I ponder Fatty's advice on preventing sail chafe and proper anchorage etiquette. I know his wife's name is Caroline, that she's Italian, that his daughter Roma Orion was raised on sailboats and that she recently married and honeymooned onboard with her parents in Thailand.

In the small pond of sailing literature there loom great giants: the many that sail, the small subset of sailors who write and the tiny subset, really a handful, that do both well. Cap'n Fatty is one of the latter.

While I've known that Fatty makes a comfortable living from his writing -- comfortable, that is, in cruising terms -- I didn't know anything about how his writing career developed until my friend Jim forwarded an article by Fatty describing just that.

He did not land in my magazines by happenstance but by setting his sights on a goal and relentlessly tilting at it for hours, days, weeks, decades. Typing alone in a small empty room for hours a day. Submitting articles and query letters by the dozens. Reading about writing. Talking to writers. Going to lectures on writing.

"I ... continued to write six hours a day, five days a week without let up. "The job of a writer is to write," is the best advice I've ever received," he says.

Just as with the hard work of going cruising, there's no such thing as "lucky."

Time to get back to my typing career.

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