[[And as a disclaimer: I will not bore you with tales of Ayn Rand's political genius, her experiences in communist Russian and belief in objectivism, although I like her a lot and she's definitely a genius...]]
For a book entirely about architects, the story you're left with has nothing to do with architecture and everything to do with art.
Oh, yes, architecture is definitely an art but you could have given Howard Roark any type of artistic talent and the message would have been the same: If you think differently and creatively the world will want to destroy you.
Well that's cheery, McKenzie, now why the heck should I keep reading this now that I'm absolutely depressed and ready to throw the Fountainhead at you for ruining my day? Look, I'm not saying every single person on lovely planet Earth is calling for your execution. You have close friends, far away friends, blogger friends, twitter friends, cousins... maybe even an arch nemesis who all appreciate your creative genius.
But doesn't it feel like we're fighting against the whole world sometimes because we want to do something different? Like, you know, actually write quality literature???
You hear it all the time:
Don't write for the market. (And yet look at all those vampire soap operas, thank you, Stephanie Meyer's hormones...)
Don't be cliche. (But it WAS dark and stormy at midnight on Halloween, I promise...)
Be unique. (BUT I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES AND COPYING IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY, RIGHT? O.o)
Write what you know. (I'm pretty sure Stephen King doesn't go around murdering people and I don't think Dean Koontz can see the ghost of Elvis, so...)
Be a leader. (Can't I just tweet about a few blog posts, join NaNoWriMo and make a Pinterest Board? ...You mean, oh my gosh, TALK to people?! Make real life friends?!?!?)
Clean your room. (We all know this is overrated. Good grief.)
1. He never apologizes for what he creates. When Howard designs you a building, he builds it just as he designed it or he doesn't build it at all.
2. He works -- he creates -- for himself. He literally puts his heart and soul into his work. In a way, this strips him naked for the whole world to see and to laugh at, and often they do. But he always gets to walk away in the freedom that his buildings are his buildings and no one can take that away from him.
3. He knows every aspect of his business. From cutting rock in the quarry to welding rivets, Howard does it all. He knows that sometimes to achieve doing what he loves, he has to work his way up to the top.
4. He never follows the rules society has set for him. Can we camp out here forever? Yeah? Okay, great. THERE ARE SO MANY RULES IN THE WRITING WORLD. I listed just a few random ones that were easy to rant about.
Guys... Rules are good and all but at some point you have to write for yourself. Write what you want to read. Write what keeps you up late at night until your back is a stiff board and you can barely see the page for yawning. Write because you love it, not because someone told you you were good or told you that's what you should do. Write because something inside you is burning, burning, burning and eating away at your body until you let all that creative genius OUT.
Know your business. Maybe you have to work a boring office job filing papers, maybe you have to edit a newspaper or be an English tutor, maybe you have to read a thousand blog posts or obsessively read twitter updates... Just put yourself somewhere that will help and not hinder you, even if it's at the bottom of the pile.
If you want to write about vampires, be my guest. Just make them your vampires. Make your dystopian fantasy your dystopian fantasy. And good lord, write what you want to write about, it doesn't matter if you know anything about it. Do some research. Be vague sometimes. Be specific sometimes.
And yeah, you need writing friends. They aren't always easy to find. If you're anything like Howard Roark, people will come to respect you through your work and then they learn to love you.
One last thing. Don't let this nasty little world destroy you. You're tough. YOU ARE SO TOUGH. So be different. Be a Howard Roark. Write what you want. Change the world. Clean your room. You know. ;)
Okay. End rant.
P.S. READ THE FOUNTAINHEAD. :)