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Old 11-17-2012, 12:16 AM   #17626
xiaotien
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amarie, i was a sociology major
ha! it isn't much better than creative writing, i'm sure.
with a bachelors, it matters little unless you are
going into something specific like engineering
or computer science.

as it were, most have to go on to get
a higher degree anyway, depending on pursuits.

para and ink, i also think it has to do with
what kind of dreams you have.

i set my standards low to please myself.
ha!
i've already come to terms with the fact
that i'll never be big as far as being commercial
or selling many copies.

if i'm traditionally published again, i'd be ecstatic.

if not, i simply modify expectations and dreams.

i'm pretty stubborn, but i also like to be happy.
and you seriously have to roll with it in this business.
there will always be someone doing "better" than you.
comparing never never works or helps.

do what will make *you* happy in the
long run. if it means taking a break, or NOT
playing the publishing game and jumping all
its blasted hoops. it's your right as a writer!
and your right to sanity. ha
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:17 AM   #17627
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I think the question splits in two at the root.

How essential are our dreams to the people we become? (which splits again according to whether they are ever attained or not.)

And what responsibility does Roth have toward another writer's dreams? (which again, splits into two: Roth is not this man's parent. Roth is this man's parent, in that he's an idol and an elder in his field.)

To me, at worst, it was a failing of courtesy. Like you say "Fine, thank you" when someone ask how you're doing as a greeting, you don't actually tell them.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:18 AM   #17628
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Dragon - enjoy the tippy-typing! (Is that because you're typing while drunk?)

Mornin' Maryn. Still flumphing around?

Cindy - WOOT for Chinese beauties! Paintings, that is...

* Fluffs Clovia's pillow *

(((Blond))) Glad you got a pay raise, but so irritating that you aren't getting paid what you're worth. Cuisinarting a Cullen for JL. (Spoiler Alert - after watching Breaking Dawn with kiddo last night, there might be a few less Cullens to cuisinart.)

(((Dys))) Get some sleep. Not that we mind your filter-less emoting in the meantime, though...

(((Fire))) for the family woes.

(((Ink))) Keep plugging - I'm confident you'll get published.

Hi FruitTree! How are things going?

Roth's comment? I think it has merit and is worth considering. I guess it comes down to what your dream is. If it's to "be" a writer, then quitting when you're on top isn't an option, since that's counter to your dream. But if it's to "be published" or to be "a successful writer", then quitting while you're ahead is certainly a way to go. In a business where success is fleeting and more often than not leads to disappointment, discouragement, and pain, there's something appealing about leaving on a good note.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started writing. I knew it would be hard and the odds of success were slim to none, but I had no idea how tormenting the process was and how much difficulty I would have dealing with the rejections and passes. I was so tied up in knots while I was searching for an agent, and again while I was on sub, that when everyone passed on the 1st round, I was "this" close to telling Agent to pull Book 1 - I couldn't deal with it any more. I was just going to self-publish Books 1 and 2 and be done with it. Time to move on and spend my time doing something that didn't turn my insides into goo.

So, yeah, quitting while you're having success sounds pretty appealing to me. Do I want to put myself through all that again? Not really. But if I quit, what will I do with all that extra time? Probably write another book, right?
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:34 AM   #17629
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callalily61 View Post
Amarie, I've always told my kids to dream big AND get a degree in something that will pay the bills while they're working toward the dream.

I'm the practical one in the family.
My parents gave me the same advice and I'm glad for that. They've always encouraged me to write, but told me to pursue a practical degree and a day job. (I could turn this into a long post about how amazing my parents are but I'll resist.)
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:40 AM   #17630
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I think the problem with just setting low standards in writing is that it goes against the very nature of what it means to tell a story. Sure, if your dream is just to write a novel, nothing else, then no problem. But if your dream encompasses communication, then you've got issues.

A musician who doesn't make it big can still play the local scene, or at worst, can stand on a street corner and play. She'll have an audience for her art.

A painter who doesn't make it into a major gallery can still sell or share his work locally or online. Hell, they can give their stuff away and people will appreciate it because it requires little or no effort on the recipient's part.

But a writer... unless you can convince someone to take the time to read your stuff, you're not sharing your work. And unless you find someone willing to publish it, your odds of getting an audience are slim.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:42 AM   #17631
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I've always been a dreamer. BIG BIG BIG dreams, my parents did the "Oh follow your dreams" until they learned my dreams didn't line up with what they wanted for me then I got talked down to a lot... Grandparents where always like "just do what will make you happy".

Anyway lot of the time I trip and fall and get beat up and beat down but you know it's when those dreams start falling into place, even just the first steps, I get such a rush and a high from it. No matter the dream I'll take my lashings for it because it's mine and I want it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:43 AM   #17632
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clovia View Post
I think the question splits in two at the root.

How essential are our dreams to the people we become? (which splits again according to whether they are ever attained or not.)
this is interesting to me, because I never had a specific all-consuming dream for a particular type of career. I wanted to be a doctor, but when I didn't make it into medical school, it wasn't crushing, so clearly that wasn't an important dream.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:49 AM   #17633
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ink wench View Post
But a writer... unless you can convince someone to take the time to read your stuff, you're not sharing your work. And unless you find someone willing to publish it, your odds of getting an audience are slim.
There was a lady I met on my vacation back in February. She's a poet. No one wanted anything to do with her poetry. Nothing. SO she published a few books through vanity type publishers and sold them on street corners. Then she used that money to buy more... and more... and more... Each batch she put back some money. In the end she bought a store. Used a more legit form to self publish her poetry, started selling art and others poetry out of her store then bought the store next door and started a coffee shop. She's still trucking along nicely... I keep in touch with her and her husband. Actually she gave me one of her poetry books for free after I spent time just talking with her.

Anyway what I'm getting at is there are many avenues. Writing has just as many options as music, or painting, or dance. It boils down to risk tolerance and what does each person want individually.

What are we as writers willing to risk for our art form, our ideas, thoughts, desires... Is it a pay check? A way of life? A hobby? I mean so many ways to take it. So many options. Some just require more of our own blood and sweat personally
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:49 AM   #17634
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inkie, i'd have to disagree to
a certain extent.

i think that when you are an artist,
and you are creative, and your craft
is the product, it's hard to be: seen,
heard, read, etc.

it is not easy in any of these mediums.

i've got a few #cuteasianboy friends
who have been acting for decades. you can
imagine how long they've tried to get on stage
or on tele or on film. and how hard it's been.

(having said that, it is hard to be in that
field for *anyone*. it's just that a casting agent
asking for asian dude is more rare than not.)

i think self publishing is definitely hard.
but it doesn't mean that you can't be read
if you work on promoting yourself. we've had
successful puglets doing it, and some trying,
and some learning, and some considering.

and i never mean that i lower expectation
of my own craft when i lower expectation of
how to get my work out there. the latter is
simply a matter of it being out of my hands
on many levels.

me writing the best book that i can?
that is not out of my hands.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:55 AM   #17635
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We live in the town we do because the schools are excellent. But I butted heads more than once with teachers who told impressionable kids that if you worked hard you could achieve any dream you had.

That's such bullshit, I told our kids. I'm 5'5", female, of a certain age and weight, and my dream of being a power forward for the Celtics simply is not going to happen, no matter how much I work toward that goal.

We tried to teach our kids to have dreams, but to examine them for reality, too. Maybe I can't play center, but maybe I could coach. Or be a scorer, or a scout, or call play-by-play on the radio. I could be involved in the dream.

Our son's dream of being a rock star? Unlikely. Can he self-produce a couple of CDs and sell a few hundred copies? Yes, absolutely. And we were big on planning a financial security, a day job which paid enough to let you go after your dreams at some level.

Maryn, dream-stomper
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:56 AM   #17636
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Xiao, I'm not saying it's easy in any medium. Far from it. I'm just saying I think the avenues are more narrow in writing because it's an "art" that takes considerable effort on the audience's part. And for every person who has some success self-publishing, there are hundred, maybe thousands, who sell only to their friends and family. Personally, I couldn't give my stuff away to friends and family because they have no interest (they're lovely people, but reading what I write ain't their cuppa).

Anyway, I will just politely agree to disagree on certain things and leave for real now. Have a good weekend, all.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:58 AM   #17637
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The part that drives me to distraction is being demonstrably, empirically, provably bad at something I've invested so much time and hope into. I have a worse querying record than people who scribble their manuscripts on the backs of envelopes in crayon. That's a pretty stark assessment of my skill as a writer. It honestly drives me to drink (or more accurately chocolate). I hung in there for years not knowing if I was any good, but to have actual hard proof that I'm not is harsh. When you're desperately invested in something that isn't working out, you have to walk away to keep your sanity. (Also my approach to ex-girls of my dreams.)
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:02 AM   #17638
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When you're desperately invested in something that isn't working out, you have to walk away to keep your sanity.
That's where I went wrong. That damn Albuquerque turn.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:05 AM   #17639
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I was asked to give "author advice" for a blog post recently. Here's what I said:

If you can do anything else - anything else in the world - and be happy, do it. Because this business is brutal.

That about sums up publishing in my eyes.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:05 AM   #17640
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Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
We live in the town we do because the schools are excellent. But I butted heads more than once with teachers who told impressionable kids that if you worked hard you could achieve any dream you had.
I agree, and that kind of idealism does frustrate me. Some dreams are unattainable. Sometimes the cost of pursuing them is too high. Sometimes giving up on one dream helps you achieve another dream. But when you talk about giving up people think you're a pathetic loser who obviously didn't want it enough.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:07 AM   #17641
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inkie, if it's just a matter of being
read, i think if you made a novel d/l for
free, it would get read.

i mean, look at my friend who had the
free d/l for 3 days and got 11k downloads.
not sure how many read it, but not bad odds.

it's all a matter of expectation really.
will you sell an ebook for .99 or not less
than 2.99 or are you willing to share it for
free?

i'm not sure if the choices make it easier
for us as writers, either.

cindy, who needs another 100 words
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:10 AM   #17642
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondchen View Post
I was asked to give "author advice" for a blog post recently. Here's what I said:

If you can do anything else - anything else in the world - and be happy, do it. Because this business is brutal.

That about sums up publishing in my eyes.
i think i've asked this before, blondie.

but which is more so: opera singing
and performance or publishing?

or both brutal in their own ways.

maryn, i definitely believe in being a realist.
i've been accused by a good friend i undervalue
my writing, but i don't believe i do in respect
to the current market. i think i write good books,
doesn't mean the market wants them. ha!
(and i think many puglets might be at this place
as well. boo.)
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:23 AM   #17643
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Originally Posted by Blondchen View Post
I was asked to give "author advice" for a blog post recently. Here's what I said:

If you can do anything else - anything else in the world - and be happy, do it. Because this business is brutal.

That about sums up publishing in my eyes.
Agreed. There are shitfalls at every stage of the process.

Watching the annual Children in Need Telethon on BBC tonight, the stories that are being told, put a lot of things in life into perspective. A woman I've been following on Tw1tt3r for ages has recently learnt that her breast cancer has returned and spread to her bones, Stage IV. There is no cure, it's now down to how long the treatments can keep her alive. Stuff like that makes the big dreams seems trivial, makes the little things like autumn leaves, a bright frosty morning more than a little special.

A little perspective in all things diminishes the failure of achieving the Big Dreams. Sometimes it's good just to be alive.

Here endeth the lesson.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:24 AM   #17644
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Originally Posted by Amarie View Post
It's hard for me to know what to say when someone tells me it's their dream to be an author. I don't tell them not to try, but I am really honest about how difficult it is. And I don't know how others feel about it, but I actually tell kids and teens I wouldn't advise they pick a creative writing major in college.
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amarie, i was a sociology major
ha! it isn't much better than creative writing, i'm sure.
with a bachelors, it matters little unless you are
going into something specific like engineering
or computer science.
I was going to welcome myself to this thread to whine about that fine line between no response means no and no news is no news. But now I have to chime in.

I wanted to major in creative writing, but my dad, bless his never-finished-college heart, said I needed a practical degree. So I majored in psychology. I'm now getting my PhD in sociology so that I have a creative, fulfilling, bills-paying regular job. (Although how insane I am to go into academia is a different story!I tell folks not to go to grad school all the time.) I was a bitchy teenager about it at the time, but I'm so glad he told me that. It's definitely not the path for everyone, though.

How that fits into the very interesting conversation about writing and dreams, I don't know. It is my dream to someday publish a novel, but I'm dead-set on being realistic about my odds. I think that's why I'm so happy I have a different life outside writing and vice versa. I'm not in Camp You Can Do Anything If You Try Hard Enough. It's just not true. But I think you can be practical, work hard, and keep hoping.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:35 AM   #17645
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welcome may!

congrats on your getting a doctorate
in sociology! i've always wanted a phd.
(probably not in sociology.)
but that's a dream i never
pursued. but i've always been a little
envious of my friends who have.

academia is a crazy field in itself. but
it is a tremendous accomplishment, like
finishing a novel! and getting an agent.
and getting published. however and where
ever one may be in the journey.

i do very much believe and agree that one
needs to be a realist in the publishing game.

eta: 1097 faux nano words written today after
much procrastinating. as you can see here. =)
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:38 AM   #17646
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You can do anything vs realistic

I've seen a few chime in on that (Greetings May!) and I thought I would pepper my crazy on it.

I'm both

There is part of me that believes I can fly. Oh I can do it if I just try. It believes I can be a giant or an itty bitty little creature. That NOTHING can stand in my way.

Then there is the other part of my brain that says "No you can't fly gravity works and you know this." "No you can't change sizes" "And there are things you cannot over come"

So they scream at each other in my head and I fall off things.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:39 AM   #17647
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OMG, academia as a practical job? Maybe more in sociology than archaeology! I suspect getting a degree in creative writing with an eye towards being a writer would be more practical than getting a degree in archaeology with an eye towards working at a university (there are plenty of private jobs in archaeology, though, which is where the "practical" comes in).

This conversation is fascinating and I have a whole lot of thoughts that just won't cohere. But I'll link here (http://benhewitt.net/2012/10/22/the-...de-of-freedom/) because what Hewitt writes about having a sense of entitlement about time resonates with me, and seems relevant to a discussion about dreams.

Re writing and my own personal journey therewith (hi Rick!): I'm slowly recovering from my failed R&R, and figuring out where to go next. I still have some material out, so we'll see. But I am VERY VERY glad that I did not go into this with the "dream" of being a published writer. I just wanted to write a book - a book that I liked. And that, I have done.

To me, enjoying the day to day is the most important thing, always.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:44 AM   #17648
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One of my law school friends recently sent her brother my way because he wanted to drop out of law school to become a writer. He had never actually written a book or anything. It alarmed me.

I can't imagine the pressure of having to create while feeling as if your entire livelihood depended on it. Of course one day that's the hope. But only if I've been there and proved that.

I know my agent would like me to take more of a leap of faith and devote myself to my own books instead of ghostwriting and doing work for hire books. But I really like the collaborative process and the safety net of other people's ideas. And also, I got really burned out on the book of mine that we did pull through the submission ringer. I get way too tempted by the knowledge that when I write stuff for work for hire I know something will happen with them (for the most part.) I don't know. I'm slowly working on building back up the courage but it's tough!
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:47 AM   #17649
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fruit, an interesting blog post.
and i agree, time really is all we have.
and a limited amount of it, at that.

*hugs* on your failed R&R but congrats on
finishing a novel you like.

also, agree on your last statement.

it's the reason i stepped away from writing
for 5 months. i think it's part of my novel
writing process--i need long breaks in between
to refuel.

but also, i was trying to write and hated it.

i had the luxury of stepping away and i did.
and i returned rejuvenated.

am grateful for that.

cindy, YOU are allowed to write utter POO
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:52 AM   #17650
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A musician who doesn't make it big can still play the local scene, or at worst, can stand on a street corner and play. She'll have an audience for her art.

A painter who doesn't make it into a major gallery can still sell or share his work locally or online. Hell, they can give their stuff away and people will appreciate it because it requires little or no effort on the recipient's part.

But a writer... unless you can convince someone to take the time to read your stuff, you're not sharing your work. And unless you find someone willing to publish it, your odds of getting an audience are slim.
Self-publishing might just be the writer's version of playing in a subway station or selling your art at a street fair...
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