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Judg
05-07-2009, 07:51 PM
Here is the single best article on the topic of when it makes sense to quit (http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/10/15/when-to-quit/) that I have ever seen.

And here's the naked link, just in case.

http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/10/15/when-to-quit/

So, do you agree? Did he miss anything?

ChaosTitan
05-07-2009, 07:57 PM
I have to say, this was my favorite quote:


If you can make your ordinary experiences fantastic, why do you need to save up for a party?

Having dreams and goals is still important. Goals and dreams give you directions and they help you chart the unexplored territory of your own growth. But they have no value in themselves. Becoming a millionaire, marrying a supermodel, winning the Olympic gold. If the journey to these destinations wasn’t fantastic then the reward is only dust.


Wise words.

Bubastes
05-07-2009, 08:13 PM
Excellent article. Thanks!

Judg
05-07-2009, 08:39 PM
The whole article bears reading, but I think this is the heart of it:

Your dream had two outcomes, either you reached it successfully or you didn’t. Success or failure, these were the two outcomes and the primary source for your equation. Unfortunately the difference between these possibilities on your total level of happiness is negligible in the long-term. Your outcome based thinking has been sabotaging your happiness and destroying your ability to make effective decisions.

The answer to this problem is to shift the way you look at your life. Instead of judging whether or not you should quit pursuing your dream based on your chances of success you ask a different question. Would I like to experience working to become a famous actor? Would I like to experience building a business from the ground up?

In this perspective goals are merely lighthouses in the distance with no intrinsic value of their own. These lighthouses merely guide your travels through interesting waters. By taking up this mindset the question of whether you will fulfill your dream becomes irrelevant. By focusing on the outcome you are putting all of your emphasis on the tiniest portion of life’s journey.

So if you are pursuing your dream and you don’t think you are going to make it, the question of whether or not to quit doesn’t depend on your chance of success. The real question is whether pursuing this dream is causing you to grow? Does this path fill you with passion and enthusiasm? Do you feel alive? If the path you are on currently is giving you the greatest growth, passion and fulfillment it doesn’t matter whether you ever reach your destination.

I have to admit, this is going to take some time for me to process. In the meanwhile, I'll keep writing... ;)

scarletpeaches
05-07-2009, 08:44 PM
Ironic that he tries to burst the self-help bubble while the webpage advertises his own self-help books.

Also that it links to another article, 'how to think for yourself'.

blacbird
05-07-2009, 09:00 PM
The real question is whether pursuing this dream is causing you to grow?

Nah. What's mainly causing me to grow is I eat too much.

caw

Judg
05-07-2009, 09:14 PM
Scarlet, I got the impression that he was trying to balance the self-help message, not pop the bubble. I'd be more inclined to take him seriously than most other self-help types. They drown any good advice in so much hype and marketing I can't be bothered to waste my time. Hype and marketing make me gag.

OK, now I'm diverting my own thread. How lame is that?

Phaeal
05-07-2009, 09:37 PM
He's saying what I say all the time in these forums, so I agree. ;)

Oh, in case you missed what I always say, or rather quote from Bhagavad-Gita:

You have a right to work. You don't have a right to the fruits of work.

So if the work itself isn't reward enough, yep, time to look for other work. By work I mean your perhaps woefully unpaid bliss, not the job that pays the bills. Bill-paying jobs you just have to shoulder through many times, remembering you have your real work waiting on the other side.

Mr. Anonymous
05-07-2009, 11:02 PM
I think it's a very good article (thank you for sharing) but I disagree in part about the whole "the journey is important, the end is not" idea. The end would be nothing without the journey, but similarly, the journey is in many ways redefined and brought into a different light by the end, whatever it may be.

I DO want to become successful through writing, and I DON'T think that my life would be the same if I get there. Yes, I'd look to set new goals, yes what I have accomplished would eventually lose its extraordinary quality and become ordinary. But I would be able to make a living doing something I want to do, which would be pretty sweet no matter how long I've been at it.

Barrett
05-07-2009, 11:23 PM
I always considered writing to be a self-correcting process, meaning that if you are writing because you dig storytelling and writing narrative, you'll eventually finish a number of works, and the chances are good that some will be quality. People who love an activity learn every facet of it that they can. It's like eating chips - one is never enough. That addiction will lead to improvement because you're constantly writing and reading and studying grammar and sentence structure, etc.

If you're writing to get to the end, I believe it will show in the finished piece. That may not be too big of a deal for small works, but I'd think it would kill the normal sized novel, draining it of it's passion and depth. Even life-long bestselling authors like King and Steele suffer when they just phone it in.

Claudia Gray
05-07-2009, 11:47 PM
I think this is very well-said. If you don't love writing when you're fighting hard to grab an hour or two of writing time a day after work, who's to say you'd love it if and when you made the big time? If the process alone makes it worthwhile to you, then it's definitely worth doing.

(Obviously there are some parts of the process you're not going to love, but chances are, parts of the achieved dream won't be as shiny as you first thought, either.)

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 12:11 AM
He's saying what I say all the time in these forums, so I agree. ;)

Oh, in case you missed what I always say, or rather quote from Bhagavad-Gita:

You have a right to work. You don't have a right to the fruits of work.

So if the work itself isn't reward enough, yep, time to look for other work. By work I mean your perhaps woefully unpaid bliss, not the job that pays the bills. Bill-paying jobs you just have to shoulder through many times, remembering you have your real work waiting on the other side.

...which is the exact opposite of what the Bible says. (That there is nothing finer than for man to enjoy the fruits of his labour).

KTC
05-08-2009, 12:23 AM
Here is the single best article on the topic of when it makes sense to quit (http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/10/15/when-to-quit/) that I have ever seen.

And here's the naked link, just in case.

http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/10/15/when-to-quit/

So, do you agree? Did he miss anything?


I was about to scream my face off at you...then I realized it wasn't a 'boo hoo whoa is me' thread and I calmed down a bit. (-;

For me...I have no goals. I have no expectations of failure or success. I only pursue one thing...the line that takes me from the birth canal to the grave. It's all we have. I enjoy writing...it's a huge connection into the magical world of the mind. I will always write. I'm not chasing a dream so I have no reason to consider a quit time...a make or break time. It is what it is. I am merely filling in the spaces between birth and death, Grasshopper.

blacbird
05-08-2009, 12:40 AM
For me...I have no goals. I have no expectations of failure or success. I only pursue one thing...the line that takes me from the birth canal to the grave. It's all we have. I enjoy writing...it's a huge connection into the magical world of the mind. I will always write. I'm not chasing a dream so I have no reason to consider a quit time...a make or break time. It is what it is. I am merely filling in the spaces between birth and death, Grasshopper.

So . . . you don't try to get your writing published?

caw

KTC
05-08-2009, 12:44 AM
So . . . you don't try to get your writing published?

caw

I knew somebody would say that. Yes...I am trying to get published. But I'm not hanging on the rejection/acceptance thing. Writing is a pastime for me...a hobby. I take it very seriously...but if I write 100 novels and never get one of them published I will still be winning...because I'm doing something I love. The final goal for me is not publication...even though I'm constantly achieving publication and receiving rejections. Big whoop. I'm just playing the game. The final piece to every game that every one of us is playing isn't success or failure. It's death.

bettielee
05-08-2009, 12:44 AM
Well, didn't the bible mean literal fruits, as in the harvest?

KTC
05-08-2009, 12:45 AM
Well, didn't the bible mean literal fruits, as in the harvest?


lol...was anything in the bible meant to be taken literally.

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 12:47 AM
Well, didn't the bible mean literal fruits, as in the harvest?

Maybe. I think God said, "Plant the seeds but you're not allowed to eat what grows. You're supposed to just enjoy the process of tilling the soil."

KTC
05-08-2009, 12:49 AM
Maybe. I think God said, "Plant the seeds but you're not allowed to eat what grows. You're supposed to just enjoy the process of tilling the soil."


That's what I love about the whole thing...tilling the soil. I prefer gristing the mill. (-;

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 12:52 AM
In other words, yes, I enjoy writing. But I want to slap anyone who suggests I shouldn't look for rewards and should just stick to enjoying the process. What utter, utter, unadulterated, pure, 100%, 24-carat shite.

I want payment. I want rewards. I want awards. I want money and groupies and fans and readers.

Would I write anyway, if someone said I wouldn't have any of these? Maybe. If I did, I wouldn't enjoy it as much.

Enjoy the process? Enjoy sucking my left one.

KTC
05-08-2009, 12:57 AM
In other words, yes, I enjoy writing. But I want to slap anyone who suggests I shouldn't look for rewards and should just stick to enjoying the process. What utter, utter, unadulterated, pure, 100%, 24-carat shite.

I want payment. I want rewards. I want awards. I want money and groupies and fans and readers.

Would I write anyway, if someone said I wouldn't have any of these? Maybe. If I did, I wouldn't enjoy it as much.

Enjoy the process? Enjoy sucking my left one.

If you would like me to enjoy sucking your left toe, I suppose I will. If I have to. I'm saying the process for me is the most important thing. This is not to say that I am not fully immersing myself. Hell, if I didn't think it would help my path I wouldn't be jumping on a plane to Africa this winter to attend a writing program. I have a whole lot of things I could be spending that money on...but I'm pursuing it...it's just that I don't need that finish line. It's cherry on the pie, but I like pie without the cherry on top too. That doesn't sound right. Maybe I mean it's the icing on the cake...but I don't really like cake without icing. I think you know what I mean...so, whatever.

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 12:59 AM
I would not dare to rant at the Messiah. I was merely ranting in general at the navel-gazers who claim to have risen above such material pursuits.

Me? I am base. I want material rewards.

Also, I stuck my left toe in your cherry pie.

KTC
05-08-2009, 01:01 AM
I would not dare to rant at the Messiah. I was merely ranting in general at the navel-gazers who claim to have risen above such material pursuits.

Me? I am base. I want material rewards.

Also, I stuck my left toe in your cherry pie.

There is a lesson in there somewhere. I don't know if this means that you just stepped on my dreams or taught me that the dream is not a dream but a metaphor for dying without regrets. Maybe the toe being stuck in the cherry pie is my redemption.

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 01:04 AM
Promises are like pie crusts - made to be broken.

By my left toe.

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 01:06 AM
I think I can enjoy the tilling, but I'm an attention whore--I like rewards. It doesn't have to be big.

nevada
05-08-2009, 01:28 AM
He doesn't say you shouldn't look for the rewards and the end of the journey. He says that if it looks like you might not get the reward you want to get, should you quit? Only if you're not enjoying the journey. If the journey is fulfilling and offers you growth, then enjoy that without getting hung up on the outcome. If however, you hate the journey and you probably wont get the reward, why bother? That's what he's saying.

blacbird
05-08-2009, 01:41 AM
I knew somebody would say that. Yes...I am trying to get published. But I'm not hanging on the rejection/acceptance thing. Writing is a pastime for me...a hobby. I take it very seriously...but if I write 100 novels and never get one of them published I will still be winning...because I'm doing something I love. The final goal for me is not publication...even though I'm constantly achieving publication and receiving rejections. Big whoop. I'm just playing the game. The final piece to every game that every one of us is playing isn't success or failure. It's death.

I'm not disagreeing with you philosophically, but the bolded phrase above does tend to shine a qualitatively different light on the journey.

caw

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 01:51 AM
All I've ever wanted is for someone to read my writing and like it--I mean really like it. That's the thing. I want someone to see what I write as important--not for me but for them.

So there's no beginning except birth because I feel like I was meant to do this--and if I really do get people to read and to think, I've won but the journey is never over until I am dead.

How do you quit if you feel like it's all you have to offer?

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 01:52 AM
All I've ever wanted is for someone to read my writing and like it--I mean really like it. That's the thing. I want someone to see what I write as important--not for me but for them.

So there's no beginning except birth because I feel like I was meant to do this--and if I really do get people to read and to think, I've won but the journey is never over until I am dead.

How do you quit if you feel like it's all you have to offer?

I think you just said what I've felt all my life.

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 01:58 AM
You quoted me before I changed it, but you get me kiddo.

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 02:00 AM
It would be nice to have a book survive me too. It would be like part of me is still alive.

KTC
05-08-2009, 02:00 AM
I'm not disagreeing with you philosophically, but the bolded phrase above does tend to shine a qualitatively different light on the journey.

caw

My point exactly. I was once slapped in the face by the Dalai Lama for being a 'f*cked up Buddhist'. His words, not mine. I try.

KTC
05-08-2009, 02:01 AM
How do you quit if you feel like it's all you have to offer?


I can't quit you.

Judg
05-08-2009, 02:51 AM
I want publication too. And validation. I'm shallow that way. ;)

But he has a point. If I hate the process leading to publication, I really should find something else to do with my life.

For me writing is a form of communication and if nobody is reading it, there's not much point. Publication is a means to that end, and getting paid for it is how I can feel that I am contributing materially to my family's well-being and not being self-indulgent. Otherwise, I'd just syndicate my books on my blog or something. Which I will do if no publishers step up to the plate.

But I think he's dead right when he says if you're not getting joy out of the process, you should find something else to do with your time. That doesn't mean every single minute, obviously, nothing in life is like that. But if writing is a drag, your beta readers say meh, you're not making progress craft-wise, the professionals keep rejecting you... there's no shame to moving on to another dream.

I'm sticking to this one for the time being, myself.

KTC
05-08-2009, 03:15 AM
there's no shame to moving on to another dream.


I once had a dream that I would one day be the world's best horse. I gave up on that. I don't know why it has to be a dream...why not just something that occupies your time while you're drawing breath. Meh.

CaroGirl
05-08-2009, 03:41 AM
I once had a dream that I would one day be the world's best horse. I gave up on that. I don't know why it has to be a dream...why not just something that occupies your time while you're drawing breath. Meh.
How about, then, instead of a dream we call it an aspiration. I aspire to getting my work published. I aspire to having readers who enjoy my work. I don't see anything wrong with that, and the reason I aspire to that is because I enjoy writing and feel like I might have something to say that's worth reading.

I'm not writing for the money or to feel like I contribute financially; I have a job (that I'd gladly give up to write full time). If I never got paid a cent, I'd still aspire to publication.

I work damn hard at everything in my life: my job, parenting, housework, my health, writing. I get the greatest joy out of being a parent and being a writer, in that order.

Oh and cooking. I really enjoy cooking.

Hey, Kev, if you can't be the world's best horse, I think you're doing a fine job at being the world's best pickle-shaped reindeer (and I mean that sincerely).

KTC
05-08-2009, 03:47 AM
lol. Um...just as I was shopping around for a new avatar too.

CaroGirl
05-08-2009, 03:52 AM
lol. Um...just as I was shopping around for a new avatar too.
Go ahead and change it. That'll make my comment really cryptic and enigmatic. I'll seem all mysterious-like.

KTC
05-08-2009, 03:55 AM
ooh. You're so cryptic and enigmatic. I would even go as far to say that you are all mysterious-like, even.

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 04:36 AM
I don't like the phrase 'aspiring writer'. It puts the writing in the future.

Don't aspire. Be. Do it now.

thethinker42
05-08-2009, 04:37 AM
I don't like the phrase 'aspiring writer'. It puts the writing in the future.

Don't aspire. Be. Do it now.

I agree. Call yourself a writer, do what a writer does (you know, write), and BE a writer.

Judg
05-08-2009, 04:39 AM
Caro, if I had your energy levels, I could hold down a job and write too. I would have earned the right to be self-indulgent. ;) But seeing as hubby has been holding that fort pretty much on his own for so many years I would like to be able to at least bring in a complementary income. So, as weird as it may seem, in my case not looking for publication would be self-indulgent. That doesn't necessarily apply to anyone else.

I don't think that the fellow who wrote the article was saying that we shouldn't aspire to publication. But if that's the only part of the process that will give us pleasure, then we have a problem, especially because it's such a difficult goal to reach.

My main goal in posting that article was to give the people who treat writing like it's some kind of religious vocation something to think about. And the people who have been writing for years without any validation. So many times they're told they should continue, absolutely. And I don't think it's that simple. Nathan Bransford touched on a similar theme recently in his writing as an identity post. There really is a time when it's OK to let go. I think sometimes as writers we are a little too gung-ho. It's great to encourage one another, but if writing has become something that is draining your life (speaking abstractly, not about you personally, of course) it might be good to step back and re-evaluate. I would not write if it caused me to become cut off from my family, for example. There's no reason anybody else should suffer because I want to write. Or if discouragement has stolen all the joy away, it isn't necessarily a cop-out to say, "I think I'll put my energy elsewhere." In our zeal to encourage, I wonder if sometimes we aren't moving closer to bullying. (Again, I'm speaking abstractly; I don't have any individual in mind.) Maybe some people need permission to let go and move on and I think that article would have been a good way for them to evaluate if they've reached that point.

OK, enough rambling. Write on, if that's where your heart is. Move on to other things with honour, if that's what fits your life best.

KTC
05-08-2009, 04:43 AM
For what it's worth, I enjoyed the article. I just have to be difficult. I'm made that way.

blacbird
05-08-2009, 09:53 AM
If I hate the process leading to publication, I really should find something else to do with my life.

So what do you do if you enjoy the actual writing process, but find the "process" (if you can call it that) of seeking publication for your writing an abysmal atrocity?

Or is it okay to accept that you're a horrible failure at something you've tried for many many many years?

I remain astounded at how often this advice comes from the well- and often-published writers.

caw

Judg
05-08-2009, 10:27 AM
For what it's worth, I enjoyed the article. I just have to be difficult. I'm made that way.
Yet for some strange reason we love you anyway.

Judg
05-08-2009, 10:51 AM
So what do you do if you enjoy the actual writing process, but find the "process" (if you can call it that) of seeking publication for your writing an abysmal atrocity?

Or is it okay to accept that you're a horrible failure at something you've tried for many many many years?

I remain astounded at how often this advice comes from the well- and often-published writers.

caw
I would hesitate to tell anyone what to do. If you're having fun writing, why not? I have a friend who is totally uninterested in publication. She writes for the joy of making up stories and editing, querying, et al sounds to her too much like work. I figure as a hobby writing has a lot of advantages: it's cheap, it's creative, and you can meet some pretty cool people. No way I would tell her to give up.

I did much the same thing as a musician for years. I had no intention of becoming a professional. I played at home for myself, at church, at occasional events like weddings and small concerts and that was fine. I didn't consider myself a failure because no record labels were knocking at my door. I don't see any reason why writers can't do much the same thing, especially now that we can so easily put our work out there on the Internet.

And I'm not published yet, for what it's worth. Nor am I telling anybody to quit. I'm just saying that it's not some holy obligation to continue if it's become a negative in your life. And it's an unfortunate fact that there are far more aspiring writers than the market can support. If we're all looking for a career, some of us are going to be bitterly disappointed. On the other hand, there are those who persevered for years, through hundreds of rejections, and eventually made a career of it. Hats off to them. I don't think I would have the stamina to do that. And I wouldn't presume to tell anyone which way they should go. I just thought the article would be helpful for anyone wanting to evaluate it themselves.

thethinker42
05-08-2009, 12:29 PM
I did much the same thing as a musician for years. I had no intention of becoming a professional. I played at home for myself, at church, at occasional events like weddings and small concerts and that was fine. I didn't consider myself a failure because no record labels were knocking at my door. I don't see any reason why writers can't do much the same thing, especially now that we can so easily put our work out there on the Internet

I went professional as a photographer and discovered that while I love photography, I hate the business of photography. So, I went back to being an amateur. I'm enjoying it more than ever, and wouldn't dream of going pro again.

As far as writing goes, it's always been a given that I would be a writer. Professional? Maybe. Published? Maybe. Writer? Absolutely. It's simply not something I can give up.

Now I have the opportunity to do it full-time for at least the next 3 years, so I'm taking full advantage of it. I work more hours now than I ever did when I was employed, and haven't seen a thin dime from it, but I'm absolutely loving every minute of it (well, almost every minute of it). Even though it's now - for all intents and purposes - my job, I love it. I actually get excited about going to work in the morning (hey, it may just be my living room couch with a laptop, but it's still work). I was afraid I would get burned out quickly, but 10 months and 8 books later, I still love it.

The photography business very nearly killed my love of photography, but the writing and publishing business has done nothing to lessen my love of writing. Some people don't want to (or can't) mix business and art, some can. To each their own...I would never encourage someone to give up writing simply because they never wanted to be published, any more than I would want someone to tell me to give up photography because I'll never make money with it again. If you love it, do it. If you hate it, don't.

(and for the record...I loathe and despise the process of querying with every fiber of my being...but accept it as a natural progression between writing and being published, so I do it)

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 01:59 PM
If none of you are quitting then I'm not quitting either.

So there.

CaroGirl
05-08-2009, 04:09 PM
I don't like the phrase 'aspiring writer'. It puts the writing in the future.

Don't aspire. Be. Do it now.


I agree. Call yourself a writer, do what a writer does (you know, write), and BE a writer.
Just to clarify on this. I didn't say I'm an "aspiring writer;" I said I'm a writer aspiring to publication. I'm a writer now. I'll be a published writer (I hope) if I don't quit writing, and if I don't quit aspiring to publication.

thethinker42
05-08-2009, 04:14 PM
Just to clarify on this. I didn't say I'm an "aspiring writer;" I said I'm a writer aspiring to publication. I'm a writer now. I'll be a published writer (I hope) if I don't quit writing, and if I don't quit aspiring to publication.

Duly noted. :)

Juneluv12
05-08-2009, 04:28 PM
[quote=Wayne K;3568263]All I've ever wanted is for someone to read my writing and like it--I mean really like it. That's the thing. I want someone to see what I write as important--not for me but for them.

I really like what you said Wayne K, and lately, that is exactly how I feel about my writing. At first, I was all swept up in New York Times Best Seller list and Oprah book club aspirations, but it's funny that's all evaporated. I just want people to read my book(s) and be touched by them, entertained by them, etc.

I have to be honest and say that the whole querying/publication has killed most if not all of the writing joy I had. I totally feel like the lyrics in I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables, "Now life has killed the dream I dream." When I wrote my adult novel thsi past summer, it was one of the most exciting times of my life. Truly, a natural high. I held off on querying it to write my YA, and then I began querying my YA. Luckily, I have an interesting concept, and it's gotten a lot of millage. Unfortunately, I've gone through five rewrites of the opening and something still isn't clicking. The last rejection mentioned they didn't connect with "the narrative voice".

Then in the same token, my friend who is also a teacher several counties away gave it to some of her students to read to be objective audience. They loved it, and I have a fan club there. The fellow teachers and principal wanted to give me a tea and have me come and speak. Hearing that made me more excited than if I'd make a bunch of money, and the thoughts of talking with them about the book was totally exhilerating.

So, it's a hard road, one of the hardest I've been down. But like everything in life it happens easy for some and harder for others. I can't give up...not yet!

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 05:26 PM
I forget who said "A man is most happy when he is dreaming of being happy" but I've adopted the attitude that I'm going to enjoy the process--even the disappointments--in my newish writing career.

I didn't do that a lot in life and I've regretted missing out on things that were important. I've used all that as a writer recently to make myself better. I think I've been successful--but I want to be better than that.

If a person can look in the mirror and say "I'm not a good writer" then maybe there's something else calling. Maybe they're supposed to sculpt and write journals to themselves.

I can't say that to myself.

Phaeal
05-08-2009, 06:07 PM
Just to clarify my take on "You have a right to work. You don't have a right to the fruits of work."

At first read, this may seem anti-objectivist. However, it's the opposite. It doesn't mean you shouldn't try to sell your work. It acknowledges the fact that you can only control so much about whether someone buys. You do the best work you can. You market it to the end of your strength. But other people have to decide whether to rep you, edit you, publish you, read you. You can't control them and the fruits they hold. In fact, if you could control them, it would be wrong to do so. Remember, Imperius is an Unforgivable Curse. ;)

Self-publication isn't a way out, either, because the final fruit-holder is the reader, still out of your control.

So, if the satisfaction you derive from the process of writing itself isn't going to be enough, you may end up disappointed. No big whoop for some people. Reason for suicide for others. Everything in between.

I find that recognizing where your control ends and respecting the legitimate control of others is a liberation. I'll quit when the work itself isn't enough. Whether agents or editors or publishers or readers accept the work is irrelevant to whether I do it.

I have a day job.

scarletpeaches
05-08-2009, 06:49 PM
Just to clarify on this. I didn't say I'm an "aspiring writer;" I said I'm a writer aspiring to publication. I'm a writer now. I'll be a published writer (I hope) if I don't quit writing, and if I don't quit aspiring to publication.

As Lori said, duly noted.

"Aspiring writer" is a pet hate of mine, which I've carried into this thread from other conversations so I should have clarified earlier.

MaLanie1971
05-08-2009, 07:33 PM
I just posted on my blog of all the defeats and hardships President Lincoln went through before becoming the president that changed the US forever. That man is an inspiration for me when I want to quit. Even after several PUBLIC defeats and what looked like the worst luck ever, he got up the courage to run for president.

When you want to quit think of Lincoln.

Little Earthquake
05-08-2009, 07:38 PM
Then in the same token, my friend who is also a teacher several counties away gave it to some of her students to read to be objective audience. They loved it, and I have a fan club there. The fellow teachers and principal wanted to give me a tea and have me come and speak. Hearing that made me more excited than if I'd make a bunch of money, and the thoughts of talking with them about the book was totally exhilerating.

I would call that success!

I can say with confidence that my writing has already touched people through my blogs. On the one hand, that's enough for me - I am pleased that I've "made a difference" with my words at all. It's a relational success more than a professional one. That doesn't change the fact, though, that I would like to support myself as a writer. I want it to be more than a hobby - but if I never get to that point, I want to at least be able to say I gave it a shot.

Juneluv12
05-08-2009, 07:45 PM
Malanie,

You're right about Lincoln. I'm in the middle of the book Lincoln's Melancoly. I got it because I was so inspired by a man who was clinically depressed, but who refused to let it defeat him.

Little Earthquake,

You're right. It is a success to me. My own students wanted to start a Facebook and have t-shirts! They believe in me so much more than I do! Of course, I believed in everything when I was their age until life spit and trampled upon things...just kidding!

At the end of the day, if I have to self-publish, I will. I mean, I think of all the people who have great careers in small theaters or who play in a band every weekend at a club and make their own cds. I just want to be able to hold my book in my hands and talk to people about my characters, the symbolism, etc.

Not everyone is the Brad Pitt and Angelina of Hollywood, nor is everyone the on the Billboard top 100.

On the note of small time, I'm doing a plug for my cousin's band now. It's Incomplete Neighbor out of San Diego, and they have a CD release coming up soon!

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 08:15 PM
I was thinking about quitting drinking and this thread has cconvinced me to stick it out. Thank you all for your support.:tongue

williemeikle
05-08-2009, 08:42 PM
I agree. Call yourself a writer, do what a writer does (you know, write), and BE a writer.

I've just been told I can't be called a real writer. Seemingly I write too much. :)

MaLanie1971
05-08-2009, 08:46 PM
Wayne, you are awful! If I had a smiley face handy I would stick my toungue at you.

June, I think we have intuition for a reason. Go with your gut. I believe every one of us has some creative form that wants to be birthed through us. Where it goes who knows, it just our job to bring it forth and let the universe do with as it wishes.

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 08:56 PM
Update from my pal Manix:

My proposal is really good. Professional<-who knew?

I'll be sticking to the writing game today.

Who's with me?

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 08:57 PM
Oh, and chapter 13 is almost ready for SYW.

If someone doesn't kill this one I'll start not quitting more and more as time goes by.

Then who'll take care of me?

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 09:02 PM
If I make millions of dollars I'm going to buy a houseboat and visit all of you.

I may even buy a cell phone.

KTC
05-08-2009, 09:16 PM
If I make millions of dollars I'm going to buy a houseboat and visit all of you.

I may even buy a cell phone.


But I don't live on water. I've walked on it a few times in my time...but I do not live on it.

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 09:44 PM
I'll call you, you can pick me up.

DeleyanLee
05-08-2009, 09:52 PM
But other people have to decide whether to rep your work, edit your work, publish your work, read your work.

Corrected, since the author as an individual is never repped, edited, published or read in a personal way.

Make that distinction is also the way I keep from getting upset or depressed by rejection letters, reviews or comments--it's the work they're judging. They still don't know me at all.

KTC
05-08-2009, 10:20 PM
I'll call you, you can pick me up.


I once bench-pressed a chimpanzee. Are you heavier or lighter than a chimpanzee?

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 10:25 PM
Does the chimpanzee keep himself up?

Wayne K
05-08-2009, 10:25 PM
Some of them let themselves go to hell.

KTC
05-08-2009, 10:33 PM
Some of them let themselves go to hell.


He was an athletic chimpanzee. No fat to speak of.

blacbird
05-08-2009, 11:44 PM
I don't like the phrase 'aspiring writer'.

I'm an aspirin writer. It's not uncommon for my writing to make me need an aspirin.

caw

scarletpeaches
05-09-2009, 12:51 AM
Ba-doom TISH!

I hate your negativity sometimes, blacbird, and your lack of K, but...you're cute, so I'll let it pass. :D

scarletpeaches
05-09-2009, 12:51 AM
But I don't live on water. I've walked on it a few times in my time...but I do not live on it.

I can turn wine into water.

Judg
05-09-2009, 01:07 AM
I've just been told I can't be called a real writer. Seemingly I write too much. :)
People who are consumed by the need to define real writers drive me around the bend. They are generally trying to find a way to exclude people who displease them. There are plenty of writers who displease me, but that doesn't give me the right to define them out of existence.

I will however draw the line at celebrities who hire ghost writers. If you hire somebody else to do it, you're not a real writer. In all fairness, I don't think most of them consider themselves writers either.

KTC
05-09-2009, 01:15 AM
I've been a writer since I started writing. I've been a painter since I've started painting. What I do defines me...sort of. I write, therefore I am a writer. I will never call myself an author until (if) I'm published.

dclary
05-09-2009, 01:52 AM
I've just been told I can't be called a real writer. Seemingly I write too much. :)


Maybe if you'd stop publishing so much, Willie.

;)

blacbird
05-09-2009, 02:02 AM
Ba-doom TISH!

I hate your negativity sometimes, blacbird, and your lack of K, but...you're cute, so I'll let it pass. :D

What's K? Other than the baseball shorthand for a strikeout and the chemical symbol for potassium? How do I know I don't have any if I don't know what it is?

caw

Wayne K
05-09-2009, 02:04 AM
If you don't know what it is, how do you know you know when you do have it?

blacbird
05-09-2009, 02:07 AM
Well, if it's anything like virginity, you need to know what it is in case you lose it, and need to go looking for it. I mean, it could be just misplaced.

caw

Judg
05-09-2009, 02:22 AM
I've been a writer since I started writing. I've been a painter since I've started painting. What I do defines me...sort of. I write, therefore I am a writer. I will never call myself an author until (if) I'm published.
Author does sound more professional, doesn't it?

I am comfortable with calling myself a writer now, but not if it's in the context of what I do for a living. That seems to me to be presumptuous until I start making a noticeable income from this. I never would have defined myself as a guitarist in that context either, even if I had earned a wee bit giving lessons. If the discussion centered on music, then I would have called myself a guitarist without batting an eye. In that context, it was appropriate.

The rare times that I discuss my writing outside of a writing community, I just say "I write" or "I have written". We'll leave the noun for a later time.

Now I think I'll go write.

RiseBeauty
05-09-2009, 05:46 AM
Although the article mentioned various career paths I thought it was spot on in terms of writing. You have to love this work to do it. Like raising kids, you put your heart into it hoping your kid will be president or cure cancer, but at least you hope you raise a decent human being that makes you proud and commits no serious felonies.

To be a writer one has to be a be a craftsman, an artist, an entertainer, and a mule. Then you have to hone all those skills to mastery. And even when you do there is no promise of an agent, publication, good reviews, or readers who will repeatedly lay out enough money for your books to support you, let alone in a lush rock star worthy lifestyle.

Sure we all have these hopes in varying degrees. But I liked that the article reminds people to enjoy the ride because the dreams never stop coming no matter how far up the ladder you climb--there is always some other new lovely shiny thing in the distance if that is what you do it for--you get an agent (now you want to get published), you get published (now you want to get readers), you get readers (now you want reviews/awards), you get reviews/awards (now you want to sell the film rights). I love the process because the process is what is available to me now for as long as I can keep it up. The funny part is that the highly successful novelists I know have one thing in common no matter how diverse their work is--they are all focused on the love of the work and they go at it like oxen.

When I started out I knew a woman that would only settle for winning a Pulitzer Prize. She worked meticulously, going over every word and line during first drafts with great frustration. Me? I wrote 5-20 pages a day grinning like I swallowed a shovel as I watched my stories go from my head to the page and then to readers. I worked like a mule and said eff it, I love this work--I get what I get. But I love big dreams and said more power to her!

Now years later I am still writing and she gave up and went into product licensing. When I saw her again she told me she gave up writing completely. She said it was too hard and not worth it and she has NO desire to go back. That said, I worked like a mule because I'd be working anyway (in an office, a restaurant, making a home, exercise, a relationship). What mattered to me was whether or not I loved the field I was plowing. I didn't want to postpone joy for something in the future. I'm selfish that way. I want to be happy NOW. That mindset makes a world of difference. I like what the first comment below the article read: “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way” That says it all.

And that's my 2 cents minus a penny ;)
BTW, I hope this post make sense. I am sleep deprived today :(

Wayne K
05-09-2009, 05:01 PM
If people want to call me an unpublished author I can live with that.

There are great athletes who don't make it to the major leagues. There are great musicians who never play a single date.
Gloria Estefan used to sing at kids birthday parties and then fly to other countries and play in front of sold out stadiums..

At this point my writing is all I have to offer the world--I think it's good enough to call myself an author.

Sure it needs work--what doesn't?
.
You may not be recognized until after you're dead. Then what?

scarletpeaches
05-09-2009, 05:03 PM
I love your avatar, Wayne. I mean, it's...MADE OF WIN.

Judg
05-09-2009, 06:11 PM
RiseBeauty, that makes a lot of sense.

Wayne, I think that article was aimed at people like RiseBeauty's friend who sucked all the joy out of her writing by being fixated on a goal (and one that was not at all in her control). I don't think people like you need to read it so much. And sure, call yourself an unpublished author, I have no trouble with that. I will admit to raising my eyebrows a bit when I see those MySpace profiles for Author So-and-So who obviously knows nothing whatsoever about the business, and who puts up stuff on their MySpace blog that reads like the first round of American Idol. I don't say anything, but they look really, really silly. And I've seen a few of them. Needless to say, they aren't on AW, because people who come here usually have a clue or at least get one pretty quickly.

Wayne K
05-09-2009, 06:43 PM
If I do get published (looking good) I will contribute that to AW.

Without you people I'd be spinning my wheels.

Judg
05-10-2009, 12:40 AM
Oh yes, AW gets a mention on the Acknowledgements page, for sure.

CoriSCapnSkip
05-10-2009, 02:43 PM
My big fear is that I'm searching for something that absolutely doesn't exist. I keep hoping to find this huge talent to transform events, observations, and experiences into something greater and deeply meaningful. (Like when people thought Moby-Dick was a book about whaling no one would read it, until someone discovered how much it says about life.) Trouble is, people have DIED going on quests even for things which DO exist, let alone which DON'T. As long as I don't come up with "proof" that this talent in which I've believed so long exists, I feel that I, on some level, don't exist, which is really creepy. Of course, sometimes a search turns up something else interesting. (Like Columbus "discovered"? America.) I guess I'd like to know, how much do I have to write before I can accept "proof" that I really suck? Then, if I believed that, what would I have to live for?

Ken
05-10-2009, 03:05 PM
... the main reason people fail at things they attempt to achieve is because they don't try hard enough, imo.

blacbird
05-10-2009, 10:01 PM
... the main reason people fail at things they attempt to achieve is because they don't tried hard enough, imo.

Somebody should have said this to the Donner Party. Maybe then they wouldn't have been so focused on the goal, and enjoyed the journey more.

caw

Ken
05-10-2009, 10:23 PM
... the Donner Party would lie outside of "the main." Sometimes effort is simply not enough :-( But an all out effort can go a long way in surmounting nearly impossible odds and obstacles. The one that stands out most in my mind is a track and field runner who broke the record for fastest runner, way back when, after losing several of his toes in a fire. Then there was this guy:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/sports/Phil_Wood_The_hand_of_change.html

... and countless others.
99% of the time, it can be done.

Scribhneoir
05-10-2009, 11:14 PM
Somebody should have said this to the Donner Party. Maybe then they wouldn't have been so focused on the goal, and enjoyed the journey more.

caw

Unfortunately, the Donner Party enjoyed their journey through the plains far too much. If they hadn't, they might have avoided that disastrous "shortcut" and not reached the Sierras so late in the year.

The Donner Party reminds me of writers who get all their information about how publishing works from PublishAmerica. Things would have worked out so much better for them if they'd researched a little more.

Swordswoman
05-11-2009, 12:43 AM
My big fear is that I'm searching for something that absolutely doesn't exist. I keep hoping to find this huge talent to transform events, observations, and experiences into something greater and deeply meaningful....As long as I don't come up with "proof" that this talent in which I've believed so long exists, I feel that I, on some level, don't exist, which is really creepy...I guess I'd like to know, how much do I have to write before I can accept "proof" that I really suck? Then, if I believed that, what would I have to live for?

But how do you know you don't have it? What's the proof of that?

When we're writing in isolation we can't possibly know if we have the talent to transform, because for us the shift in perception has already happened. What we're looking for is is only proof that we can communicate it. We're a bunch of Helen Kellers groping for that one person who'll understand and make happen that single flash of communication, when one word can make the world make sense and help us realize we 'exist'.

We 'exist' when someone else sees us. It doesn't have to be a million people, we don't have to be published, we just need someone, somewhere to see us.

One person is all we need. Just one. And even that's a journey worth taking.

Louise

PS - And btw, CoriSCapnSkip, you obviously don't suck, because I just read this whole thread and yours was the post that hit me blam between the eyes. Just sayin'...

KTC
05-11-2009, 01:00 AM
... the main reason people fail at things they attempt to achieve is because they don't try hard enough, imo.


Wrong. I say that respectfully. Some can try forever and ever and still not achieve something. This isn't just in writing. If somebody wanted to be an artist...they could try their entire life to break through and not achieve any success. They could try until their fingers bleed and it won't help any. They would need to also possess in inborn talent. I don't care what anybody says...I refuse to believe that one without talent could achieve a level of success just because they tried and didn't give up. That's a fallacy.

I tried and tried to figure out the automobile. I remember trying for years. You know what I know about the car to date? WHERE THE GAS GOES. That's it. I'm hopeless...and I tried hard enough to learn more. Really, I did...

Ken
05-11-2009, 01:56 AM
... I concede your point, KTC. Some talent is an essential requisite to a good number of pursuits, like art, music, sports, and maybe writing to a degree, too. Drive and discipline are still vital, though, and without them a lot of tolerably talented and intelligent individuals who'd otherwise have the ability to succeed, drop off along the wayside. They shouldn't. If they tried harder they would get what they're after, or at least a fair portion of it.

scarletpeaches
05-11-2009, 01:57 AM
Drive is what separates the journeyman from the superstar.

KTC
05-11-2009, 03:27 AM
Drive is what separates the journeyman from the superstar.

word

scarletpeaches
05-11-2009, 03:29 AM
Kevin. Did you just...word me? :eek:

KTC
05-11-2009, 03:31 AM
Kevin. Did you just...word me? :eek:

Yes. I believe I did.

scarletpeaches
05-11-2009, 03:41 AM
I feel violated.

KTC
05-11-2009, 03:42 AM
I feel violated.

I feel manipulated.

scarletpeaches
05-11-2009, 03:48 AM
I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes.

Wayne K
05-11-2009, 03:59 AM
I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes.
Word.

scarletpeaches
05-11-2009, 04:01 AM
Stop wording me, goddamnit!!!:rant:

Christ. Three !s in a row. Someone call Medievalist.

thethinker42
05-11-2009, 04:24 AM
Stop wording me, goddamnit!!!:rant:

Christ. Three !s in a row. Someone call Medievalist.

Word.

Judg
05-11-2009, 07:35 AM
My big fear is that I'm searching for something that absolutely doesn't exist. I keep hoping to find this huge talent to transform events, observations, and experiences into something greater and deeply meaningful. (Like when people thought Moby-Dick was a book about whaling no one would read it, until someone discovered how much it says about life.) Trouble is, people have DIED going on quests even for things which DO exist, let alone which DON'T. As long as I don't come up with "proof" that this talent in which I've believed so long exists, I feel that I, on some level, don't exist, which is really creepy. Of course, sometimes a search turns up something else interesting. (Like Columbus "discovered"? America.) I guess I'd like to know, how much do I have to write before I can accept "proof" that I really suck? Then, if I believed that, what would I have to live for?
Well, if you're making progress year over year, that's already something.

I know how you feel. I wanted to write something great too. But that is something that comes from deep within, and it's really for others to judge. I decided to get out there and do something at least, and if even a few readers considered it worthy of their time, that was a good start.

Don't expect to achieve greatness in a single quantum leap. But you can slug away and get up to pretty darn good, which is already pretty darn good.

Seriously though, if your whole existence is tied up in the idea of being a good writer, you need to expand your horizons. That way madness lies. Get involved in a soup kitchen. Or how about spreading the word on child slaves harvesting 70% of the world's cocoa supply? Or helping out in a literacy program? There's a lot of life out there and a lot of things worth doing and a lot of things worth living for.

colealpaugh
05-11-2009, 09:26 AM
Wrong. I say that respectfully.

Maybe. Also with respect.

I think most people fail because of their own choices, not necessarily from a lack of natural ability. Most people, including myself, often miss opportunities on our journey because we haven't done the research to recognize the possibilities. Maybe it dead-ends the journey, or maybe it just makes the journey longer. To be decided.

Tapping potential -- artistic, athletic, or whatever -- seems to take a series of events and even luck, but any person with moderate or better cognitive skills able to dedicate themselves to the writing process should write a novel equal to something on any B&N shelf. That is, if they take the class they need, use the betas available, and blahblahblah all the things the resident sages say over and over.

When I teach kids to ski race, they complain about drills where they ski only on one ski. "Coach, why do we have to learn this? We don't race on one ski."

Well, yes, they do. They just don't recognize it, yet.

Maybe it's not about writing harder, but learning harder. People fail because they haven't learned hard enough.

Eh, but what do I know? My dead end could be right around the next corner...

Dawnstorm
05-11-2009, 12:16 PM
Okay. I've been writing forever, and I've mostly produced fragments. I do have plenty of finished stuff, also, but considering how long I've been writing, it's not nearly enough. I'm not very disciplined. Especially if real life exhausts me, I have little desire to write. Sometimes I sit down and try to write anyway. Then it either works or it doesn't.

I have no filing system for finished stories. I keep finding handwritten loose sheets in drawers and boxes from years ago - sometimes of stories I don't even remember writing. I've even used story-pages of mine to start a fire in our oven.

To me, writing has always been about the process. My "goals" are: finish stuff, make it presentable. After that, I'm done with the stories and I lose interest in what happens to them. I keep a select few; sometimes because I think they're strong stories, worth of saving. Sometimes because I'm not satisfied with them but I don't want to forget an idea or concept embedded in them. Sometimes for personal, sentimental reasons. Most just get lost along the way.

Sometimes I remember writing something, know the details (e.g. around mid-nineties, handwritten on a loose sheet), would like to scavange it for something bigger, but can't find the thing. Well.

What I need is organisation, determination, these sort of things.

Writing - to me - has never been a dream. I'm currently parked before the finale of my novel-in-progress, and for the first time in my life I'm wondering whether I should be bothering to publish stuff. Why am I wondering this? Well, I've been sharing the WiP with a couple of people, to see where I'm going with it, to get fresh perspectives on it, etc. I found these people online, at writing sites. Everybody (with a couple of exceptions) just seemed to assume that my goal is pubishing. So now I have this idea stuck in my head, too. Is it worth it? What do I get out of publishing? And there's a creeping sense of guilt: have I been wasting my WiP-readers' time, if I'm never trying to get the thing published because I just can't be bothered?

See, I know that I'm a writer, but I'm not sure that I have the attitude to become a professional writer. Should I try to develope such a professional attitude?

This is the place I start out from. Along comes this article. I find myself nodding and shrugging. To me, the big mystery has always been: "Why would I want to transform something I like to do - even while I'm hating it - into a dream?" Or differently put: if I'm a freak, why would I want to work for a freak show?

So to me this is a pleasant little article with no impact at all on what I'm doing.

CoriSCapnSkip
05-11-2009, 01:35 PM
But how do you know you don't have it? What's the proof of that?

When we're writing in isolation we can't possibly know if we have the talent to transform, because for us the shift in perception has already happened. What we're looking for is is only proof that we can communicate it. We're a bunch of Helen Kellers groping for that one person who'll understand and make happen that single flash of communication, when one word can make the world make sense and help us realize we 'exist'.

We 'exist' when someone else sees us. It doesn't have to be a million people, we don't have to be published, we just need someone, somewhere to see us.

One person is all we need. Just one. And even that's a journey worth taking.

Louise

PS - And btw, CoriSCapnSkip, you obviously don't suck, because I just read this whole thread and yours was the post that hit me blam between the eyes. Just sayin'...

Thanks, you have hit the main point on one try. (My gosh, does that mean I actually said something someone understood? What a shock!)

Trouble is, I've spent waaay too long focusing on identifying, finding, and impressing the "right" person and spent a lot of time and money to gain some rather unsatisfactory experiences. (Let's just say it involves both written communication and face-to-face meetings.) Should I go into isolation and seal myself into a vacuum until I come out with something by myself with no outside input, or somehow shift methods without going too far the other way?

colealpaugh
05-11-2009, 09:22 PM
To me, writing has always been about the process. My "goals" are: finish stuff, make it presentable. After that, I'm done with the stories and I lose interest in what happens to them.

And there's a creeping sense of guilt: have I been wasting my WiP-readers' time, if I'm never trying to get the thing published because I just can't be bothered?

To me, the big mystery has always been: "Why would I want to transform something I like to do - even while I'm hating it - into a dream?" Or differently put: if I'm a freak, why would I want to work for a freak show?




If you were saying this about your work as a surgeon, I'd hope you told me this before operating on me.

There's nothing wrong with writing as a hobby. Millions of people do it. If you enjoy taking photographs, and who says you have to buy a professional camera and aspire to be Ansel Adams?

But if you hang out on MB's populated with aspiring writers who would sacrifice 10 years off the back end of their lives to hold their published novel before them, then it's incumbent upon you to keep perspective.

I see guilt about not having passion for something on a regular basis as a youth sports coach. The guilt is placed on the kids by parents, and I think it's a really sad thing. For my soccer clubs, I do my best to let the kids have fun. I see who is grabbed by the sport, can't wait to learn more. Passion needs to be developed naturally -- caught like a flu --, and if it doesn't happen, then it's perfectly fine for the kids to move on to something else. But they can still kick the ball around and have what they did learn a part of their lives.

Swordswoman
05-11-2009, 11:33 PM
Trouble is, I've spent waaay too long focusing on identifying, finding, and impressing the "right" person and spent a lot of time and money to gain some rather unsatisfactory experiences. (Let's just say it involves both written communication and face-to-face meetings.) Should I go into isolation and seal myself into a vacuum until I come out with something by myself with no outside input, or somehow shift methods without going too far the other way?

And who's a 'right' person?

I was an editor for a lot of years, and learned some highly unpalatable truths, which may not be very popular. These are obviously generalizations, and there are exceptions - but so few as to be 'statistically insignificant'. The two main truths were:

Those who never think they suck are the ones who suck most.
Those who never even consider quitting are the ones who probably should.OK, there are no big surprises there, because it doesn't take a huge brain to work out that:

1. A writer convinced of their own brilliance is someone saying 'Hey, I'm so interesting, the rest of the world must suck if they can't see it.'

and

2. A writer who's actually any good is someone saying 'Hey, the world is so interesting, other people are fascinating. If I write about that maybe someone else will get fun out of it too. If they're not getting it then I must suck in the way I'm putting it over.'

This is only for fiction, of course - I have less than a year's professional experience of non-fiction and no right whatsoever to comment on it.

Cornelia, you are so obviously in category 2 it is quite frightening. You have something you want to say - which ought to be a given in someone who's hoping other people will pay money for their words, but sadly so often isn't. You're hoping someone else will hear it. I don't mean you need to be giving 'messages' or writing heavy literary - sometimes it's just a story one's got to tell. That's all I had anyway, and it seems to have worked. Being accepted for publication was great - but the best, best, bestest moment in the world came long before that, when someone phoned to say 'I need to know what happens next, and if you kill J I'm going to burn your house down.'

Please forgive me for being a patronising cow, but you write so well and so clearly, you express feelings with an honesty that doesn't care about being 'cool', you're so obviously a writer it makes me want to hit things that you're even thinking about quitting. Don't go into a vacuum - our business is communication, right? Don't give up. Write in isolation, yes, but keep putting out those feelers, because the 'right person' isn't the one who puts you through a frustrating experience, the 'right person' is someone who hears what you're saying, and sooner or later I guarantee you are going to find one of those. That's the bit of the journey that matters - the rest, quite frankly, is a doddle.

Louise

PS I write historical too. If you ever want another 'wrong' person to bounce stuff off, you can always try me.:D

Dawnstorm
05-12-2009, 04:47 AM
But if you hang out on MB's populated with aspiring writers who would sacrifice 10 years off the back end of their lives to hold their published novel before them, then it's incumbent upon you to keep perspective.

Quite. It's hard, though, to understand the difference when you're new online. I've come online in 2003 specifically to talk about writing and learn more about it, but I didn't really understand the difference between a casual writer and a professional writer until I started sharing my work (a few years in).

I guess the point of my post above was that I'm not the target audience of the article. But why did I think that was interesting? Or, what sort of reaction did I expect?

If you're coming from the other end of the continuum, if you've never really dreamed of being published, but if you're still serious about writing, editing, the mechanics, if you're fiercly process centered, the question isn't so much: "When should I quit?" You know you'll always be writing. The question becomes, "When should I start?"

But start what? Having a dream? Making a decision? Acquiring determination? What? The article uses the metaphor of a beacon in the distance with no intrinsic value. Well, that metaphor doesn't help me. I don't have that sort beacon, yet I'm still writing. I even love editing, down to the word-flow line edits. Everything about writing is exciting.

What I'd need is a motivation to bother with trying to get the thing published. Would I mind more readers? No. If I'd get some feedback out of it that opens up a fresh perspective that'd be great. Would I mind the money? Certainly not (though I might spend more on postage, printer cartridges etc. than I get out of it).

The article is very general. It's not about the writing industry. So when we apply it to that we need to figure out what the dream is and what the path is. To me, it makes no sense to say the "dream" is publishing, but the "path" is writing. When I think about publishing, I think about researching the market. I think about query letters and the business end. I think about the need for agents, and that I'm no longer only working my own income. For example: if there's a deal that would mean more to me (because I love the books the publishing house publishes, for example), but there's also a deal that would make me more money - well, the decision has become harder because now there's an agent involved. (Can you tell that I tend to worry too much about things that in the end turn out not to be problems?)

All these things are results of a decision to publish, not of a decision to write. And I'm positive that I won't enjoy that process very much. So: is the article trying to tell me, that - since I hate the idea of trying to get my novel published - I shouldn't bother? Well, that's where I'm now. I'm writing, but I'm not submitting, even though I've got material I could submit.

The thing is, though, after five years of reading unpublished stuff, and reading writers talking about said unpublished stuff, I've found that - following that logic - the people that are most likely to quit submitting are the people I am most likely to enjoy reading.

So, these people need the dream of seeing their book published to pull them through the query ordeal. But the problem is that the "dream" - the publishing dream - tends to spill over into the writing path, and that sometimes has story-mutilating effects. In an attempt to be "professional" and to "learn" they start to "normalise" their texts, getting rid of what makes the text interesting in the first place. This is unnecessary self-censorship, born of anxiety or the inability to find the right audience.

What if this spill over from perceived publishing demands (as opposed to real publishing demands) sours your enjoyment of writing? What if writing is no longer fun because you suck at marketing?

Mind you, this is not a problem I personally have. But I've seen good writers disappear again and again, and I often wonder if they're still writing. Probably, but who knows?

The question I'd ask the author of the article, then, is this: It is possible to write entirely for yourself, for the drawer. It is possible to write for people you know only. It is possible to make what you've written available online for free. In short, it is possible to write without going the publishing route. If you know that you will not enjoy the path to publishing, should you quit your dream to be published? Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good, and for many writers, I suspect, the path to being published is query hell. How then do you balance "If the path's not rewarding, quit," with "Gotta take the bad with the good."? Especially, when there's such an easy cut-off line, such as after the writing but before the submitting.

Does any of this make sense?

Manix
05-12-2009, 05:12 AM
Hey, just slap me if I ever say "I quit." Okay? 'Nuff said.:D

colealpaugh
05-12-2009, 06:29 AM
The question I'd ask the author of the article, then, is this: It is possible to write entirely for yourself, for the drawer. It is possible to write for people you know only. It is possible to make what you've written available online for free. In short, it is possible to write without going the publishing route. If you know that you will not enjoy the path to publishing, should you quit your dream to be published? Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good, and for many writers, I suspect, the path to being published is query hell. How then do you balance "If the path's not rewarding, quit," with "Gotta take the bad with the good."? Especially, when there's such an easy cut-off line, such as after the writing but before the submitting.

Does any of this make sense?

Some of the happiest, most fulfilled people I know are doing what they do simply for the love of their art or sport. A friend of mine is an ER doc who is a prolific painter of interesting, but mostly unsaleable pieces. I ski race in a league where we pay to compete. Maybe I'm just dense and can't appreciate what you're feeling -- wouldn't surprise me.

When my players are having self-doubt, I tell them the Julie Moss story. Here's a YouTube for the sake of brevity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRB1p89k7_I

If the query process is so petrifying, then ask a friend to do it. Why not? They could check your emails for the R's, and let you know when there's good news. Eh, every once in a while it's okay to be a live dog, rather than a dead lion. If it's fear of failure -- of rejection -- then maybe you're just not ready today. Maybe in a year, when other things in your life have buttressed your emotional state.

I suspect, though, that if submission was what you really wanted, then you'd find a way to do it.

Judg
05-12-2009, 08:37 AM
Dawnstorm, I think the writer of the article would say that you get it. You're enjoying the process.

Query hell is actually our nickname for the SYW query forum, where we put queries through hell. (I use "we" loosely, I'm not a regular there.) Querying itself does not necessarily have to be that bad, particularly if you're not so emotionally invested in getting published. I only sent out about 10 queries myself, and the third response was an acceptance. Writing the query was very difficult, but it also taught me a lot about my story. So in the end, it's all good.

It's ultimately up to each person to decide where their own priorities are and what they want to get out of it. But if a person is fixated, say, on winning a gold medal, to the point where they no longer enjoy their sport and where they would feel like a failure for getting a silver, that person needs to re-evaluate their focus. And perhaps they need to hear that it's OK to walk away and do something else. This is obviously not your problem, so the article wouldn't really speak to you very much.

I don't think it's my problem either, but it sure doesn't hurt me to remember to stop and enjoy the process more, even as I try to establish personal disciplines I'm going to need if I want to be a professional.

I guess I posted it because I'm a little worried how some people seem to be almost fanatical in their devotion to writing and never quitting no matter what. And sometimes more or less laying guilt trips on people who've decided to throw in the towel. I think that is misplaced.

And I certainly never anticipated this much discussion... ;)

blacbird
05-12-2009, 08:43 AM
Querying itself does not necessarily have to be that bad, particularly if you're not so emotionally invested in getting published. I only sent out about 10 queries myself, and the third response was an acceptance.

For those of us who have had zero success after many many many dozens, hundreds even, of queries, this says more, perhaps, than you intended to say.

caw

Judg
05-12-2009, 08:51 AM
Well, I was talking about my novel (and acceptance by an agent, not a publisher). I've never had a short accepted. I racked up a fair number of rejections there, although I've never made a tally. Not hundreds, certainly, because I didn't care enough to submit that many times. Publication of my short stories never mattered very much to me.

Do you still enjoy writing, blacbird?

colealpaugh
05-12-2009, 09:46 AM
For those of us who have had zero success after many many many dozens, hundreds even, of queries, this says more, perhaps, than you intended to say.

caw

Ha...let's see, if 30% of my queries landed me an offer, I'd have 120 agents to choose from.

Would it be bad etiquette to have them wrestle for it?

blacbird
05-12-2009, 10:21 AM
Well, I was talking about my novel (and acceptance by an agent, not a publisher). I've never had a short accepted. I racked up a fair number of rejections there, although I've never made a tally. Not hundreds, certainly, because I didn't care enough to submit that many times. Publication of my short stories never mattered very much to me.

Do you still enjoy writing, blacbird?

Yes. And editing/rewriting, all that craft stuff.

The submitting part of the "journey" is an abomination, a dive into the miasmal abyss. At least that's been my experience. Which is why I get exercised about reading platitudes about "the process" or "the journey". It isn't just one thing. And if that huge part of it just plains sucks it makes the rest of it pretty damn disheartening. Look, if I just wanted to "write for myself" I'd keep a diary and never worry about any art or craft issue, and I wouldn't frequent this site, and I don't believe that anyone who does can legitimately claim not to be concerned about or interested in achieving publication for something they've written. So I simply don't accept sentiments expressed to that effect, or advice from the well-published in that direction. Such may be well-intentioned and all, but it comes across as hypocritical.

I don't write "to please myself". Which is to say, the stuff I write is intended to please others. Now, I don't send anything out that doesn't please the reader part of me, in the sense that I think it might be at the stage of accomplishment that it might please others. Obviously I'm a poor judge of that quality.

But the utter failure to get anything past the gatekeepers has led me to the conclusion that I just plain don't have the ability it takes to get those others pleased. I don't know what other conclusion can be drawn. So it has become damn hard to continue with the "writing" part of writing, given that situation.

I just reread this post, and Christ, I don't know if I expressed what I mean or not. Which may say more than I intended.

caw

Dawnstorm
05-12-2009, 10:45 AM
I ski race in a league where we pay to compete. Maybe I'm just dense and can't appreciate what you're feeling -- wouldn't surprise me.

When my players are having self-doubt, I tell them the Julie Moss story. Here's a YouTube for the sake of brevity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRB1p89k7_I



Heh, if you're not properly appreciating what I'm feeling after two meagre forum posts, you're hardly dense. I'm living with myself 24 hours a day, and I still don't know exactly what it is that I'm feeling.

The thing is, though, that competitive situations - in real life, real time - don't motivate me. I can play competitive games to pass the time, but I can't play to win. When there's something interesting to try, I'll always go for that, regardless of whether that puts me at a disadvantage. Competitive players tend not to like that. It doesn't feel like winning to them, I suppose. But I'd always rather try the interesting thing than to win. (I was playing chess once with a local league champion. He told me that I was great at getting out of hopeless situations, but even better at getting into them. He'd never played someone like me.)


If the query process is so petrifying, then ask a friend to do it. Why not? They could check your emails for the R's, and let you know when there's good news. Eh, every once in a while it's okay to be a live dog, rather than a dead lion. If it's fear of failure -- of rejection -- then maybe you're just not ready today. Maybe in a year, when other things in your life have buttressed your emotional state.

I suspect, though, that if submission was what you really wanted, then you'd find a way to do it.

If I decide to submit, I'd rather do it myself, no matter how much I hate doing it. I'm not terribly stressed about this, actually, but articles such as this one always get me thinking. Am I scared? Am I lazy? Am I lazy and scared? Heh.


Dawnstorm, I think the writer of the article would say that you get it. You're enjoying the process.

Yeah, it's fun most of the time. Sometimes it isn't, but neither is not writing. Nothing worse than not to write when I should be writing. I can tell. I'm a certain shade of grumpy.


It's ultimately up to each person to decide where their own priorities are and what they want to get out of it.

My biggest problem isn't actually about priorities. It's about fitting in. Online's the only place to talk about writing I know. None of my real-life acquaintances care much. Less critical places on the web tend to pat you on back with a good job if you share, and do little of the technical talk. But on places like absolutewrite I find myself being mostly argumentative against perceived "rules/guidelines", which I generally distrust. I tend to think I have a point, but I always also feel a bit like a doomsday prophet, making a big deal of nothing. And then I start to think, what if I don't understand the mindset?

If there's one thing we can rely on, it's that people are different, and one-size-fits-all tends to favour those the size really fits. So, naturally, I'm now wondering what life is like, if you're pursuing a dream. Or perhaps I'm just stuck again in one of my semantic swamps?

*Shrug*

CoriSCapnSkip
05-12-2009, 01:35 PM
And who's a 'right' person?

Basically, one who inspires me in the right way--there are very few. Then when I find one, I have a very hard time explaining to them or anyone else where I am coming from--that is, why I do what I do and that I am not a pathetic fan or psycho stalker. Of course, no one has ever managed to convince me that I am these things, but I've seen and heard enough to know I make unintended impressions on some people.


Cornelia, you are so obviously in category 2 it is quite frightening. You have something you want to say - which ought to be a given in someone who's hoping other people will pay money for their words, but sadly so often isn't. You're hoping someone else will hear it. I don't mean you need to be giving 'messages' or writing heavy literary - sometimes it's just a story one's got to tell. That's all I had anyway, and it seems to have worked. Being accepted for publication was great - but the best, best, bestest moment in the world came long before that, when someone phoned to say 'I need to know what happens next, and if you kill J I'm going to burn your house down.'

It seems I've turned from writing to fanatical home renovation and gardening because in those activities it is possible to set a goal and, with or without help, achieve acceptable results within a reasonable amount of time. Since five sixths of my reading has been children's books, I wanted for awhile to write those, but if I did they'd probably have to be historicals or maybe fantasy because of the sort of lives kids live in today's world. And adult historicals present other problems (especially terrible hangups regarding romance and sex, but I also obsess about getting other things right, too) and I end up with a whole bunch of fragments. The more I do other things, the more it seems the main problem is simply dividing a story into manageable sections--as that's the only way I get anything else done.

Your story reminds me of the best compliment I received, after self-publishing my historical novel. People always ask if I'm writing, but once this perfectly dangerous-looking Mountain Man at a Rendezvous asked me, "You haven't quit writing, have you?" and when I said no he said, "Good, because if you do someone ought to hit you between the eyes with something!"


Please forgive me for being a patronising nearly-50 year-old cow, but you write so well and so clearly, you express feelings with an honesty that doesn't care about being 'cool', you're so obviously a writer it makes me want to hit things that you're even thinking about quitting.

I am also approaching 50--gave up panicking somewhere on the other side of 40--and am really impressed to hear all this from a real editor!

What happened with me was, by about the age of 6 I realized that it wasn't enough to just "be," I had to "do something," to, you know, prove I was worth keeping alive. At age 10 I settled on writing. From age 10 to age 25 I was frustrated at being unpublished, also starting around age 17 at having no love life whatsoever. This was such a huge distraction many people actually thought I was not all there. (One of my sisters is still fairly convinced I'm an idiot.) I did finish and submit some works, but nothing accepted for payment. Finally had the opportunity to desktop publish and did so with a historical based on a true story.

This was my first disappointment. I had spent six years working, convinced that this true story (a false version is well-known, I believe is still in print and was made into a movie, which was one of my main reasons for writing mine) was so fascinating that I'd be lucky if someone didn't pick up on it while I was still working and dash off a better book than mine. (There actually had been several fictionalized versions published, but I wasn't totally happy with them--another reason for writing mine.)

THE STRANGE THING IS, once it was in print, almost everyone who read it, liked it. Those who objected mainly didn't like the violence--apparently, it is a "downer" because people die, but that's just the times in which we live, not anything wrong with the story or the way it was told. But it was a hard, HARD sell! It was considered un-PC (but not really by anyone who read it), then editors rejected it because it had more than one viewpoint, children's publishers thought it was an adult book, adult publishers thought it was a children's book, it was too factual for fiction and too fictionalized for non-fiction, and I liked it and didn't want to change it. Once I self-published and learned I actually could write, I did a revised edition and decided I wouldn't quit until I'd collected 365 rejections--WHICH I DID!

I then spent a lot of time floundering around deciding what to work on next, picking up and dropping projects, and dealing with personal issues. At the age of 43 I was HORRIFIED to learn (confirmed by a diagnosis at age 45) that I didn't just have personality quirks, nor were other people being deliberately difficult by putting me on--there had ACTUALLY BEEN SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY BRAIN SINCE BIRTH, and no one knew it! (I'm considering writing a memoir about this.) For the last couple of years I've had to rethink and reexamine EVERYTHING in my life--including this tendency to want to impress others. Believe me, the things I have done to do so have been elaborate and sophisticated in the extreme, to the point of impressing some people and alarming others--just usually not the intended recipients. One of the things I've had to question is, if I think differently than over 90% of the world, do I have any business writing about real people? It does seem my condition is a fairly mild borderline case, though, and it's perfectly possible I am not crazy ENOUGH to be a real genius.

In a way, the gardening is a form of goofing off, but I not only get compliments for what I've done, I KNOW I'm not going to be KILLED for doing it wrong (a fear I've yet to overcome regarding writing.) It's also a way to have fun which I did as a kid before my whole life became focused on getting successfully published OR ELSE. I've been able to have fun in other creative endeavors which do not involve life or death. If I could find some way to have fun writing and not be all life and death I would love to do so.

Judg
05-12-2009, 05:18 PM
This stuff can get very complex, can't it, with no simple answers. My admiration for those of you who have persevered so long. I don't think I would have what it takes. Just pushing myself all the way through writing a novel was a big deal for me, and I don't think it would have happened if my health issues hadn't closed so many other doors for me. I'm just way too distractable.

I'm kind of awestruck.

KTC
05-13-2009, 12:35 AM
Hey Blacbird...sometimes it's a matter of submitting to the RIGHT places. Finding the one that fits you right. I remember you posted something a while ago that absolutely blew me away...I think I told you so too. It was something about leaving and giving up...but you really told a wonderful story. I'm sorry my memory is too bad to pinpoint it exactly. Let's just say it showed your chops. Sometimes it's all in where you send your stuff. You have the goods...I saw it in that post.


Put that in your CAW and smoke it.

veinglory
05-13-2009, 12:40 AM
I would also say that there is a place for quitting. I have quit many endeavours in my life, including many types of writing. I have moved from areas where I was acheving less of what I wanted to new areas where I was acheiving more. Learning is about doing more of one thing and getting more success at it--but it is equally about doing less of other things because they are insufficiently productive. I pretty much gave up being an illustrator and a poet and it was the right thing for me to do--leaving time to finish and publish my novels and upcoming textbook.

KTC
05-13-2009, 12:45 AM
I would also say that there is a place for quitting. I have quit many endeavours in my life, including many types of writing. I have moved from areas where I was acheving less of what I wanted to new areas where I was acheiving more. Learning is about doing more of one thing and getting more success at it--but it is equally about doing less of other things because they are insufficiently productive. I pretty much gave up being an illustrator and a poet and it was the right thing for me to do--leaving time to finish and publish my novels and upcoming textbook.

Yeah. I gave up on my visual artistic pursuits. Just because, really.

Also, sometimes you can quit for reasons other than failure. I gave up a lot of my freelancing--and a lot of the money that went with it--to put more focus on my fiction. I found myself writing articles about topics I absolutely hated just to cash the cheques. It's all well and good, but I was writing for hobby's sake...suddenly it donned on me that I didn't give a shit what went into achieving a career in the medical field, or how to redecorate your family room or how to overcome sleeplessness or how to have a great martini party. I was going through the motions...but it wasn't fun anymore. So I QUIT so that I could write fiction.

rhymegirl
05-13-2009, 01:56 AM
For me...I have no goals. I have no expectations of failure or success. I only pursue one thing...the line that takes me from the birth canal to the grave. It's all we have. I enjoy writing...it's a huge connection into the magical world of the mind. I will always write. I'm not chasing a dream so I have no reason to consider a quit time...a make or break time. It is what it is. I am merely filling in the spaces between birth and death, Grasshopper.

I like this very much. Maybe this is the best way to look at it.

If you succeed (get published) that will be great. If not, you will still feel happy that you spent your time writing because writing is something you enjoy.

Very often I like to think that I'm still a writer no matter what I write and whether or not the whole world knows my name. My articles have been published in a few magazines, I've done local newspaper pieces, and one little play was performed by the community theatre. Maybe these are small accomplishments, but I have to think they're still accomplishments.

And I delivered a eulogy last Friday--some of my best writing I think. I didn't get paid for it, didn't get applause, but hopefully I inspired and comforted the people who were listening to it.

colealpaugh
05-13-2009, 09:28 AM
Ironic that he tries to burst the self-help bubble while the webpage advertises his own self-help books.

Also that it links to another article, 'how to think for yourself'.

Eh, yes.

If someone found his article useful, then more power to them. I've gotten inspiration from all variety of unusual things, and who am I to harsh anyone's buzz?

But, IMHO, Mr. Young is a kid who cut and pasted surface blather.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, love the journey. That's a new message? Makes me wonder if any of Mr. Young's high school teachers ever discussed Buddhism.

Did Mr. Young poll CEO's to find that they'd rather be back in the struggle?

An Olympic Gold medalists as an example of someone questioning their journey? Pfffftttt...

I don't know why that article p*sses me off so much. And I mean no disrespect to you, Judg -- I sincerely mean it--...it's just that it smelled incredibly phony and totally self-serving.

Judg
05-13-2009, 09:36 PM
No problem. I didn't take it personally. Nothing speaks to everybody.

As for the hype, I always ignore it anyway. The fact that this guy could even acknowledge a success bias was already impressive to me, because it was something that has bugged me for a long time. They don't seem to acknowledge that people could follow all their rules and yet not achieve their success. Perseverance is incredibly important, but it is not a guarantor of success. It's an essential ingredient in the vast majority of successes, but it's not the only ingredient.

At one point I was in sales. Not doing very well. My supervisor came with me and couldn't figure out the problem. I was doing everything right. I persevered. Still no success. When I got offered a teaching job, I took it. It did not have the same income potential, but neither did it have the potential for not eating. It was an honourable time to change tracks. Sometimes quitting is the only smart thing to do. But there are so many things to take into account, I would almost never tell somebody they should quit. All I'm really saying is that quitting is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. It depends on those other factors. In the case of writing, one of those factors would be if it's adding to or subtracting from your life. Also, again in the case of writing, it's not an irrevocable decision. We can always come back to it later if we change our mind.

Maybe I'm a little more sensitive to the "bullying" of people who exhort you to persevere no matter what because of my chronic fatigue. Unlike normal people, exercising a little more and increasing your endurance is not an option open to us. Doing a little more drives us into deeper fatigue. I, for instance, can handle 30-45 minutes of walking and still be semi-functional. When well-meaning relatives have hounded me into walking an hour, it could take me a couple of days to recover. They thought they were pushing me toward health, but they were actually breaking me down. Now I stand firm. Just because pushing forward a little more is the way to go for most people, doesn't mean it will work for everyone. And I fear that some people are feeling similarly hounded with writing, that they are being pushed into a negative space by the pressure to conform to a certain model. I guess I wanted to tell those people that it's OK to contemplate taking a rest from writing if it's tearing them down more than it's building them up. I am NOT saying that if you haven't achieved "success" you should move on. Each person is free to define their own success and decide for themselves what to do. The other thing I liked about the article is that it gave people the right to define success in terms other than publication. Again, it's like when I was a songwriter-musician. I wasn't interested in recording. I defined my success in the enjoyment I got from it personally and in how my music touched people who heard it. That was enough for me and pressure to record or perform more would have been most unwelcome. That was not what I wanted to do with my life. So why can't we broaden our common definition of what success means as a writer? I personally want publication, for sure, but I've come to recognize that not all people feel that way. Posting on their blog and getting a good conversation going could be perfectly fine for them and why not? It's much like the satisfaction I got out of playing for friends or at small concerts. Perfectly valid.

There I go again... I didn't realize this was such an issue for me. ;)

blacbird
05-14-2009, 12:08 AM
Hey Blacbird...sometimes it's a matter of submitting to the RIGHT places. Finding the one that fits you right.

Well, yeah. Sort of like picking the RIGHT lotto number.

I've never submitted anything to any place that seemed other than "RIGHT". Obviously I've been consistently WRONG. Or there just isn't any RIGHT place. The latter seems increasingly likely.

caw

CoriSCapnSkip
05-14-2009, 12:22 PM
After the response to my first self-published book, I decided it was no use writing anything unless I was so fanatically devoted to the work that I would write it even if nobody read it. So far I've worked on things but don't seem to have found something to which I'm that devoted. Sadly, I'm finding it very hard to really regard anything as important and seize on really dumb excuses not to write, such as that books, writing, even proper language, are all going out of style. But then I know if someone who knows how doesn't do it, these things really will die out.

possibleimp
06-02-2009, 03:26 AM
If you would like me to enjoy sucking your left toe, I suppose I will. If I have to. I'm saying the process for me is the most important thing. This is not to say that I am not fully immersing myself. Hell, if I didn't think it would help my path I wouldn't be jumping on a plane to Africa this winter to attend a writing program. I have a whole lot of things I could be spending that money on...but I'm pursuing it...it's just that I don't need that finish line. It's cherry on the pie, but I like pie without the cherry on top too. That doesn't sound right. Maybe I mean it's the icing on the cake...but I don't really like cake without icing. I think you know what I mean...so, whatever.

Hey! I write because I love it too! Glad there are others out there that write because they have to. I've been writing for over 30 years and I'm finally focusing on marketing, but it is so very difficult with all the red tape. I'm sure I'll go back into hiding and let my 2 girls be rich after I'm dead---because, of course, I'll turn oracle at that point. I've told them to bury me with copies of my manuscripts! *laughs

ORION
06-02-2009, 06:04 AM
I wrote when I wasn't published and I still write being published. I had to buy my own tiara when my book came out. I didn't suddenly loose those last 15 pounds. I couldn't play the piano any better (that is to say at all...) Is it satisfying? Yes. BUT the line shifts. Now it's not just a matter of having ONE book published, it's having another and another...
I totally agree with KTC.
It's the process. And I will tell you the finish line is a mirage. That's why it HAS to be the process...

Sean D. Schaffer
06-02-2009, 08:19 AM
Good article. I'm glad I read it. I don't feel as bad about myself as I used to, because of it. :)

Cassiopeia
06-02-2009, 09:21 AM
My main goal in posting that article was to give the people who treat writing like it's some kind of religious vocation something to think about. And the people who have been writing for years without any validation. So many times they're told they should continue, absolutely. And I don't think it's that simple. Nathan Bransford touched on a similar theme recently in his writing as an identity post.
There's a real danger in putting our identity into things we do. I had to learn a very hard lesson and it's taken me a very long time to learn it. 13 years ago I resigned my half of a company I had spent 15 years putting my heart and soul into. And when I left my employees and the company behind, I didn't know how to live my life. I was their mentor and they mine. I was that company. I was a partner and a wife and a mother. I gave up my company, my husband, and my church all in one year. (kept the kids). And I didn't know who I was anymore except that I've clung to the identify of a mother and now with my youngest moving out in two months I'm reliving that same terror of just who is Kim?

Some people want to treat writing as their holy graile. I think that's dangerous. I just want to caution anyone who thinks that what they do is who they are because let me tell you, there's a kind of insanity that comes when you no longer are rooted to your idea of what defines you and you've no idea where to turn.

Writing should be something we love to do. Judg is right. We shouldn't continue something if we don't enjoy it. And no, you still have to do the laundry and dishes cos that's not the same thing. ;)

If it's a burden that wounds you and you keep doing it, I suggest you look at how much you love the drama of feeling bad all the time.

I'm an aspirin writer. It's not uncommon for my writing to make me need an aspirin.

caw I mean this in the nicest possible way. But did it ever occur to you that you fail because you already believe you will? If you expect the worst going in, I can guarantee you that you'll find it, consciously or subconsiously and bloody hell, you sabotage yourself. Maybe your query letters reflect the very energy you post with. Maybe you should just try a new angle? In the entire time I've belonged to this forum you've never said a single word that's positive about your work. I really wish you'd shed yourself of that negativity and stop presupposing you know the outcome. I swear you are just sabotaging your own efforts.

Judg,

I have this amazing amount of affection for you. Did you know that? You are an amazing person and I want you to know that I get what you are going through with your CF and your thoughts in posting this. I'm here with you ready to hold up the banner and get people to maybe come down to earth a bit. People mean well, but they can't possibly know what's best for us.

I'm all for SP's idea of doing this for gain. She wants what she wants and there's nothing wrong with it. Just like the person who writes so his or her children will have something to share one day with their children. Some people do still write family histories and others write fairy tales for their children and their childrens' children; never to see the light of day in a publisher's hands.

Success is different for everyone. For me, it is all wrapped up in the kind of person I want to be, not the fame or fortune of a novel I might get publish. I pursue writing because its just a part of me and has been since I was 11. If I'm never published in the fiction world, I'm okay with that. My children will have my books and they will pass them on.

But more than anything when someone remembers me, I want them to know me for the person I was not what I did. I want them to remember my laughter, my smile, the twinkle in my eyes when they talked to me and I want them to remember that I loved them with all my heart. Because all of that, in the end is what matters to me. I once read a saying that people won't remember what you said, or did but they will remember how you made them feel.

If you can make your mark and make people feel good through your writing that's a great and lofty goal but how much better is it, to leave your mark in the heart and minds of those you love by being the wonderful person you are? The holy graile isn't writing, its in the lives we live and the people we love. Everything else is frosting.

Judg
06-03-2009, 02:18 AM
Great post, Cass. You're so right about how dangerous it is to pour all of our identity into one thing. As a Christian, I would make the exception with God: He will always be there. Anything or anybody else, there are no guarantees. It is particularly dangerous to pour our self-worth into something controlled by other people, which publishing, for the most part, is. I definitely want to be published, but if it's not to be, I'll find something else to do with my life. I don't mind throwing myself into something, but I've always got ideas of what else to do.

Best to all of you in your writing and in your lives. We all have to find our own point of balance. Just don't allow yourself to be bullied. If writing has become a burden to you, figure out why, and then you can figure out how to fix it.

Now I'm going to go do a little writing myself. Had to start my WIP over from scratch. It wasn't working... ;)

Cassiopeia
06-03-2009, 04:15 AM
You go girl! :D

blacbird
06-03-2009, 09:35 PM
how much better is it, to leave your mark in the heart and minds of those you love by being the wonderful person you are?

Well, this of course is dependent on one being a wonderful person. In the absence of that, one needs to look elsewhere.

caw

CoriSCapnSkip
06-09-2009, 01:32 PM
Those who never think they suck are the ones who suck most.
Those who never even consider quitting are the ones who probably should.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
William Butler Yeats

Cassiopeia
06-09-2009, 01:38 PM
I can not find the words to express my dismay in the face of such dim comments.

One would think that there is no hope for us all from the looks of it and yet, we persevere and perhaps it is in this, that we win the day!

CoriSCapnSkip
06-09-2009, 01:47 PM
Well, this of course is dependent on one being a wonderful person. In the absence of that, one needs to look elsewhere.

caw

Has anyone noticed how many phenomenally successful people are creeps in person, or how many with fantastic professional lives have disastrous personal ones? Just asking.

Ken
06-09-2009, 02:55 PM
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
William Butler Yeats

... the cruel irony of it :-(

CoriSCapnSkip
11-20-2009, 02:20 AM
...you write so well and so clearly, you express feelings with an honesty that doesn't care about being 'cool', you're so obviously a writer it makes me want to hit things that you're even thinking about quitting.

Swordswoman Louise, your observations have been backed up by scientific data! I just took an I. Q. test and scored in the 99.6th percentile verbally. I think I may have to reconsider staying with this writing thing!

Jamesaritchie
11-20-2009, 03:37 AM
In truth, the journey is terrible important, and should be one you love taking. But the destination is important, as well.

Those who preach the never, ever give up no matter what philosophy haven't been around enough old writers who tried for decades, failed miserably, and have relaized that it's now too late to move on to a different path.

When to give up is always an individual decision, but it's just silly to think never giving up, and then failing miserably, can't and won't turn any of us into embittered old people who have nothing but regrets.

I've given up on a couple of deeply held dreams because I reached the point where I knew beyond all doubt that the dream was never going to come true. It was tough both times, but only until I found a path that had both a wonderful journey, and a reachable destination. In hindsight, giving up those other dreams was the decision of my life, and a decision that led to happiness in every area.

The journey matters greatly, but without a reachable destination, it's ultimately a journey to nowhere, and all the rationalization in the world won't change this once the day arrives when it's too late to matter,

kaitie
11-20-2009, 12:30 PM
In truth, the journey is terrible important, and should be one you love taking. But the destination is important, as well.

Those who preach the never, ever give up no matter what philosophy haven't been around enough old writers who tried for decades, failed miserably, and have relaized that it's now too late to move on to a different path.

When to give up is always an individual decision, but it's just silly to think never giving up, and then failing miserably, can't and won't turn any of us into embittered old people who have nothing but regrets.

I've given up on a couple of deeply held dreams because I reached the point where I knew beyond all doubt that the dream was never going to come true. It was tough both times, but only until I found a path that had both a wonderful journey, and a reachable destination. In hindsight, giving up those other dreams was the decision of my life, and a decision that led to happiness in every area.

The journey matters greatly, but without a reachable destination, it's ultimately a journey to nowhere, and all the rationalization in the world won't change this once the day arrives when it's too late to matter,

I know most of this was written ages ago, but this is really interesting. I agree with the fact that the journey matters a lot, but I think the journey itself is an achievement. If you have grown and are a better, stronger, more well-rounded and understanding person because of it, then it was worth it.

I often tell people that we all make big plans for life, but life always takes directions that we don't expect. We might never end up where we planned to be, but that's okay. We might change our minds about our paths halfway there, and that's okay, too. For me it's about growing as a person.


When pursuing a dream you have the underlying assumption that when you reach it you will be happy.


That just really stood out to me as I was reading. I completely agree with this. My dream is to become a published writer. I don't pin my happiness on whether or not that occurs. I'm happy now, and I'm unpublished. My happiness depends on a number of factors, and whether or not I ever reach this goal is not one of them. In fact, I don't see being published as the end-all, either. I am hoping to continue writing for the rest of my life, and I hope that I am constantly improving and getting better. If I never "make it" as a writer then so be it. I've at least made the effort and enjoyed the path.

jerry phoenix
11-20-2009, 03:49 PM
interesting piece but i am glad i read it today rather than a few days ago.


if linky isnt working google 'defensive pessimism'.

http://www.defensivepessimism.com/

Judg
11-20-2009, 06:27 PM
I've actually used that tactic in my life quite often. I figured if I had prepared for the worst case scenario, anything better would seem wonderful. Maybe I should dust that approach off.