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GFanthome
03-01-2012, 07:52 AM
What have you learned about yourself as a writer over the years? Has anything come as a surprise?




_______________
One Broken Wing (http://gfanthome.wordpress.com/chapter)

mccardey
03-01-2012, 07:56 AM
What have you learned about yourself as a writer over the years? Has anything come as a surprise?

Interesting question! I've learned that I can write "bigger" than I had thought, and that I quite like to blow stuff up. And that I'm good at building suspense - but lousy at punctuation.

More importantly, I've learnt to read outside the kind of books I liked when I was younger. And how to read slowly. And why it matters.

Kindness
03-01-2012, 07:59 AM
I've learned that I'm more capable than I used to believe I was -- I'm not a huge phoney and I may actually be good at this. I've also learned that the things I like to write aren't as stupid or as looked down on as I thought.

CharacterInWhite
03-01-2012, 08:00 AM
I'm probably an undiagnosed manic depressive schizophrenic.

Also: Not everyone thinks in metaphors all the time. I never knew until someone point it out. :P

Silver-Midnight
03-01-2012, 08:11 AM
Wow. That is a good question.

I guess that I actually can be a good writer. However, I need to write for me, not what I think other people want to write or write like. I just need to enjoy it most of all. I've also kind of realized that I'm a short fiction writer, and now, I'm okay with that. Before, I was kind of worried because it seemed like all of the other writers around me could pull off these huge words counts and I couldn't. Granted, it's still somewhat like that, but now I'm a lot more comfortable in what I write.

SomethingOrOther
03-01-2012, 08:13 AM
That every time I think that I know nearly everything I need to know, that I only need to put that knowledge to work, that additional knowledge would be helpful but not urgently needed, something humbles me and I realize I don't know half of what I need to know.

That the people who say I have talent and potential aren't incorrect, but that I can consistently harvest only a fraction of it right now.

That

http://i.imm.io/hD4B.png

That, and a billion other things.

Fuck, someone hug me, I'm so clueless wrepfjpwkelfewfrwfq34r23r2323ff

kaitie
03-01-2012, 08:22 AM
That I can actually write decent dialogue.

That I'm an outliner. Trust me, that came out of nowhere and surprised the heck out of me. I'd spent years decrying outlines before I realized I can't write a decent plot without them.

That I might actually be getting good at this. After years spent having friends who wrote and always being the bottom of the pack in terms of talent, my hard work is actually paying off and proving that dedication and perseverance can matter just as much (if not more). This is an in-process discovery, though. Some days I think I'm pretty damn good, but I still tend to think most everyone around me is a much better writer and that I just don't compare. Probably because I tend to be friends with amazing writers. :tongue

blacbird
03-01-2012, 08:54 AM
That I suck at it, and used to think otherwise, in a delusional fashion.

caw

laurie17
03-01-2012, 12:23 PM
That I naturally write horror or sci-fi, when I was sure I'd write fantasy. I also find writing action much easier (and do it better) than quiet moments (which seriously goes against my personality, lol).

gothicangel
03-01-2012, 12:37 PM
That I didn't really like crime fiction that much, but that I really love historical fiction. :)

Buffysquirrel
03-01-2012, 01:22 PM
That I love having lots of characters to pick up and put down but I *hate* writing scenes with lots of characters in them.

Work that one out.

Archerbird
03-01-2012, 01:39 PM
I've learned that I'm more capable than I used to believe I was -- I'm not a huge phoney and I may actually be good at this. I've also learned that the things I like to write aren't as stupid or as looked down on as I thought.

Like this. I'll probably come back with something else when I've been writing for more than a year though.

Cathy C
03-01-2012, 01:55 PM
That I love researching pages of documents just to be sure one line of dialogue is right. I've also learned that so long as I keep studying my craft, every book gets easier, and quicker, to write. It's a good thing. :)

JustJas
03-01-2012, 02:13 PM
I've learned that I enjoy writing paranormal stuff when I swore I would always stick to realism. Never say never....And I have a great talent for procrastination which AW has really helped me to refine!

timewaster
03-01-2012, 02:18 PM
That I am just the same as I was when I was a teacher, a businesswoman and a Mum - better at some bits than others.

Andrea_James
03-01-2012, 02:32 PM
That I hate writing dissertations.

That if I ever stop thinking I suck, I'll stop getting better.

jdwhitelaw
03-01-2012, 02:34 PM
I'm gradually learning that I don't have to emulate all the greatest figures in fiction writing who have preceded me. When I first started writing in my late teens I had this bizarre obsession with my self and how every sentence I wrote had to be distinctly prophetic and worthy of he ages.

How time mellows the soul.

Modog814
03-01-2012, 05:53 PM
I learned that if you let go of trying to control the plot and make it perfectly brilliant, and just ask the characters what happened, they'll usually tell you (no i'm not crazy...i don't think)

catian
03-01-2012, 06:10 PM
Very good question.
As a writer I have learned to think before I write, it is only I way to find one's own feet and be original as in different from others.

Layla Nahar
03-01-2012, 06:17 PM
That I'm not a Natural.

elindsen
03-01-2012, 06:32 PM
What have you learned about yourself as a writer over the years? Has anything come as a surprise?

I think my biggest learned attribute is the fact that I can do it. And not just with writing. That I if I stick my mind to it I CAN DO IT. I am 100% self taught, never took a lesson or class and the only grammar, punct and stuff like that was high school english which I wiped away on graduation.

Don't want to sound all Barney and friends there, but it's true.

As for writing specifically? That the same. I can do it. I have always been a reader and enjoyed yelling at books (in good ways) and being so caught up in a story that I couldn't put it down. Now when I read my work I get the same feeling. My stomach clenches as a scene passes. That's power and I'm in love with being the dictator of my own little worlds. ;)

Phaeal
03-01-2012, 06:38 PM
I've learned that my first ideas are probably not my best, but that's okay. As the fiction grows and asserts its own truth, I can go back and change stuff.

Midian
03-01-2012, 09:48 PM
I learned that as much as I wanted to believe I'm a pantser, I'm not. I will never finish anything by trying to force myself to be a pantser.

I learned that I have ADD.

That finding out I have ADD at my age really does explain a lot. Like why I'm not a pantser. ;)

Because of this, I learned: I can kill an outline. It's sick how crazy I can get on an outline. Brainstorming: soooo my thing! And it shows in my daily word count which has risen dramatically on my wip that I broke believing I was a pantser and am now fixing by plotting like mad.

I now love outlines.

flapperphilosopher
03-01-2012, 10:25 PM
I've learned how incredibly important rewriting is-- in my early writing days (like, 11-16 ish) I couldn't understand writing more than one draft. Now I don't think there's a single scene in my novel that hasn't been rewritten at least 3-5 times! With every rewrite you can increase the depth and nuance and effectiveness, and maybe eventually even end up with a really good scene.

WriteMinded
03-02-2012, 04:24 AM
This writing thing is not as easy as I thought.

Rbel
03-02-2012, 04:41 AM
I don't have many years under my belt writing professionally, but, what I have learned, which kinda stunned me is how innocent my main characters come across.

I had a pretty rough childhood and thought this would translate somehow, like maybe my characters would be super hardcore, but they always steer towards being wholesome, morally rich, and having sweet demeanors.

I love the post someone left saying "I learned that I have ADD"-hilarious!

Shadow_Ferret
03-02-2012, 04:44 AM
That I suck at it, and used to think otherwise, in a delusional fashion.

cawThis. Or, I've learned that if I don't necessarily suck, that I totally lack any confidence in my abilities and instead of developing a thick skin against rejection my skin had gotten thinner as each criticism scrapes away another layer of skin leaving my flesh raw and bleeding.



I learned that I have ADD.

That finding out I have ADD at my age really does explain a lot. Like why I'm not a pantser. ;)



Oddly, I too have recently discovered I have ADHD and learning that I now know why I'm NOT an outliner. Outlining requires organizational skills, and a telescopic focus of the entire work. I have.neither.

I have learned that I can only write in the moment. I can only focus on the scene in my head now. I have no vast orbital overview of my story. Each sentence is revealed as I write it. It's like peeling an onion. I can't see the whole story until after I've peeled away each layer and they are all laid out in front of me.

Al Stevens
03-02-2012, 05:05 AM
That I prefer writing to having a job.
That I am not uncomfortable when I embue a character with politically incorrect attitudes and then try to make the character likeable.
That rewriting is my favorite work.
That I'd rather take a beating than have to upgrade to a new computer.
That a coffee cup half filled with Jack Daniels is a writer's best friend.
That personal disapproval and professional rejection usually come from good people.

Midian
03-02-2012, 07:33 AM
Oddly, I too have recently discovered I have ADHD and learning that I now know why I'm NOT an outliner. Outlining requires organizational skills, and a telescopic focus of the entire work. I have.neither.

I have learned that I can only write in the moment. I can only focus on the scene in my head now. I have no vast orbital overview of my story. Each sentence is revealed as I write it. It's like peeling an onion. I can't see the whole story until after I've peeled away each layer and they are all laid out in front of me.

I found the opposite has been true with me. If left to my own devices, I will wander aimlessly in my story going on for pages on irrelevant things like how Angelenos have this odd delusion of a privacy bubble that extends in a two foot radius around them, or how we have to drive every where we go and that a crazy man carrying a very large cross on his back up and down Sunset Blvd is really not that strange. And doesn't everyone have actors dressed up in superhero costumes trying to get you to go to a taping of some show or another? Yeah. I go off on tangents if I don't have something to focus me. I never finish anything and I write myself into many corners. I am easily distracted by shiny objects and interesting narrative - never mind whether or not it's relevant.

Having been diagnosed with ADD has really changed my ability to understand where I go wrong so often because I look at it from a different angle. I don't look at it as someone that doesn't know where to go anymore and struggles to do anything more than write nonsense until something works. I look at it as I'm someone that needs the roadmap before hand. I don't know that I ever would've figured out that I should outline otherwise. Maybe I would've but it probably would've taken me longer as I'm stubborn and I really believed I could do it without an outline. I'm actually fairly confident in my ability to write. I just can't finish anything. It's totally changing for me. So hopefully by this summer I'll actually be able to see if I can write a story as half-way decently as just write. ;)

I'm totally organized and always have been (if I weren't, my life would be soooo miserable because it's hard enough to do things when I am organized, I can't imagine it without any at all) so why I thought I could even get away with being a pantser is beyond me. I think because so many of my favorite writers are pantsers, I really just wanted to be in that club, as if that was what made them great.

I'm just excited to finally see my wip actually turning into something that will have character arcs, subplots, development and growth. Good lord I'm just glad to see it going somewhere! LOL!

JBReed
03-02-2012, 07:54 AM
I seem to have more of a desire to write when I am going through a crises of one type or another.

Springs
03-02-2012, 07:56 AM
I learned that rewriting/editing and (for me) outlining are necessary to the writing process, and that, unlike what I might have stated many years ago, they are actually just as fun and exciting as the writing itself. I also learned that outlining doesn't just consist of me making up stories, and that if I can listen to what my characters are telling me about themselves, things will fall into place on their own much more perfectly than I ever could have made them. Finally, I learned that I am not as good of a writer as my friends and family always make me out to be, but simultaneously, I can hold my own, and I'm very much so okay with that.

Chasing the Horizon
03-02-2012, 08:37 AM
That I can write quiet scenes as well (OK, almost as well) as I write action scenes, and that this ability greatly enhances the impact of my action scenes.

That I truly CAN'T write anything without supernatural elements and so should stop trying.

That concepts/ideas are cheap and storytelling ability is everything.

Scribe4264
03-02-2012, 09:04 AM
This writing thing is not as easy as I thought.

What he/she said.

C.H. Valentino
03-02-2012, 09:34 AM
That I get physically ill when I stop.

This happen to anyone else?

catian
03-02-2012, 10:41 AM
That I get physically ill when I stop.

This happen to anyone else?
Physically ill??
No. Just have a break from it otherwise you become stale from overwriting.
It is healthier to do other things and take breaks to reenergise and get more ideas.

Laineywrites
03-02-2012, 04:25 PM
I've learned that I have a love/hate relationship with my writing. I always hate my first draft. I love, love, love to revise my first draft until its actually a final draft. I hate my final draft until a couple of people read it and tell me its great, then I love it.

As I wade through the process of having my latest book beta read, writing the query letter and then moving on to getting an agent to represent it, I'm begining to hate it again. Once an agent agrees to rep it (here's hoping) I'm sure I'll love it. All this emotional upheaval is giving me a headache.

Shadow_Ferret
03-02-2012, 06:25 PM
Yeah. I go off on tangents if I don't have something to focus me. I never finish anything and I write myself into many corners. I am easily distracted by shiny objects and interesting narrative ...
See? This is where our disorders manifest themselves differently. I'm flighty, unfocused, unable to concentrate on the task at hand in my everyday life. It's why I take meds, so I don't lose another job.

But when it comes to things I love, reading and writing, I become HYPERfocused. A bomb could go off near me and I won't notice if I'm deep into the story. Tangents? That's what the rewrite is for and often those tangents teach me about the characters, if nothing else. Otherwise it might get used in another part of the story.

To me, those tangents, the privacy bubble, the cross carrying man,
The superhero costumed actor all add flavor and depth to the story.

Jamesaritchie
03-02-2012, 07:08 PM
What have you learned about yourself as a writer over the years? Has anything come as a surprise?




_______________
One Broken Wing (http://gfanthome.wordpress.com/chapter)


I wish I could think of something. It seems I should be able to come up with one surprise, but I can't.

Maybe it's because writing isn't the primary focus of my life? Writing is something I enjoy doing, and writing is how I earn my living, but it never has been important.

It's just something I enjoy, and something I do well enough to make money. It isn't something I think about very much outside of technical aspects, business, etc. It isn't in any way who I am, and certainly comes in about twentieth on my list of most important things in my life.

Maybe this, in itself, is the surprise.

richcapo
03-02-2012, 07:13 PM
What have you learned about yourself as a writer over the years? Has anything come as a surprise?That I'm not yet able to balance experimental with commercial -- I simply don't have that talent.

LJD
03-02-2012, 07:35 PM
I've learned that I have a lot to learn.

Kitty27
03-02-2012, 07:49 PM
I quite like to write bloody and gut wrenching horror. I LOVE it. I literally cackle with glee when I write/read gore. Perhaps I am crazier than my brother originally thought.

I have a love for epic fantasy.Multicultural,of course. I like Elves,Witches,and the like. I never thought about this genre until I seriously started writing last year. Now I can't get enough of writing it.

Some genres are my mainstays. Horror is my #1,closely followed by Urban Fantasy. But I've discovered some fun genres like Science Fiction & Epic Fantasy where the pure joy of writing comes into play. I even have a Viking helmet I wear when I write. Yes,I am a Black Viking!

These two genres are just plain fun and relaxing for me. With them,I don't worry about the state of the market,the hideous query letters and the demonic synopsis. I let go and let flow. Plus,X Ray Dog and ES Posthumus have me feeling myself when I write them,lol.


I've learned the craft of writing. Before,I just put words down and haphazardly arranged them. Over the past year,I learned structure, plot, flow,and character development. Alas,my word count problem is still ongoing.

HoneyBadger
03-02-2012, 09:10 PM
That I should not have quit writing fiction 14 years ago when some jerkfaced professor told me my prose was "pretentious."

Screw him and the vanity press he rode in on, I say.

donroc
03-02-2012, 09:51 PM
Without false modesty, I have learned I am better than most published by the "big six" but not as good as I would like to be. If I did not have that much ego and confidence, I would show my writing to no one.

The Seanchai
03-03-2012, 12:22 AM
Honestly? That I can actually finish a full length novel, and that sometimes outlines are good things--I used to swear by the "wing it" method.

Also, that my best writing comes in the middle of the night, my day doesn't feel complete without writing, and that I prefer having two projects going at once as opposed to just one.

K.L. Bennett
03-03-2012, 01:11 AM
That I love researching pages of documents just to be sure one line of dialogue is right.

This. :D

That my preferred genres aren't as embarrassing as I once thought. I used to hide the covers of my SF/F novels when I would read them at lunch at work, but now I don't care who sees what I'm reading. (As long as they don't ask me or try to talk to me about it while I'm reading.)

That my biggest obstacle is myself, and I have more talent than I'm willing to credit myself with.

Also, I hate sex scenes. Sometimes they're necessary, but can't someone else just write them for me??

BRDurkin
03-03-2012, 08:59 AM
I've actually been surprised by how unhappy I get when I don't write. I mean, I can go a day or a few just fine, but if I haven't been writing for awhile, I just don't do well.

For about five years or so (most of that time in the Navy), I stopped doing any serious writing. I always thought about writing, but I never did anything about it. It wasn't until 2008 when I started writing seriously again that I realized how bummed I had subconsciously been about not writing. I'm way HAPPIER when I write.

Now I refuse to stop writing for any length of time, and in general, I've been a happy camper. Now if I can just figure out how to become independently wealthy from it... >_>

Cacophony
03-03-2012, 09:25 AM
I think the most important thing that I've learned about myself as a writer is that I have the capacity to do it. What I learned about myself is I'm far more patient than I thought I would be. A lot of people misjudge how difficult writing actually is, get frustrated and give up because they haven't written a book that makes Oprah's list, never gaining any ground.

resulka
03-03-2012, 09:50 AM
Like a lot of the rest of the folks posting here, I learned what it really takes to write a book. Along the way, I somehow picked up a bit more confidence about my writing, a bit more insistence that I make it a priority, and a bit more success.

I'm hoping the trend continues.