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blacbird
06-16-2009, 10:25 AM
Not a critique of his work, or anything like that, but a couple of threads in different forums has provoked a thought, which I'm not entirely sure I can express properly: How did Grisham have the wherewithal/foreknowledge/whatever to get past the "other authors are so much better than I am" phase? Or did he ever have it?

Or Stephen King? Or (fill in the blank)?

Or did they? How many unknowns never did make it past that phase?

The latter of which, of course, we'll never know about.

Crap. It's late. I don't even know exactly what I'm asking.

caw

Vincent
06-16-2009, 10:33 AM
Not a critique of his work, or anything like that, but a couple of threads in different forums has provoked a thought, which I'm not entirely sure I can express properly: How did Grisham have the wherewithal/foreknowledge/whatever to get past the "other authors are so much better than I am" phase? Or did he ever have it?

Or Stephen King? Or (fill in the blank)?

Or did they? How many unknowns never did make it past that phase?

The latter of which, of course, we'll never know about.

Crap. It's late. I don't even know exactly what I'm asking.

caw

For King, just read his autobiography/writing book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

MacAllister
06-16-2009, 10:38 AM
It's late, Blac. Don't chew yourself up too badly, okay?

I suspect, at some point in our deepest darkest selves, we all secretly know just how bad we suck and what horrible impostors we are. Even Stephen King or John Grisham.

I'm going to take the god-given opportunity to quote TNH (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004307.html):



* This is all about me, isn’t it—me and my books? That is what you’re talking about, right?

* Oh my god, this manuscript is awful. Why didn’t I see that before I told them it was finished? What could I have been thinking? I can’t show this to anyone. If I let them read it, they’ll never respect me again. Nobody will. I’ll have to change my name and move to Lubbock to live in a trailer and work in a hardware store and never, never, never tell anyone ever again that I’ve had anything to do with writing or publishing.

Robert Legault came up with one that made me wail in-memory-of:

* I have a friend from my church/school/local bar who knows all about editing and is going to typeset/copy edit/proofread the book for me, so I don’t need to deal with your production staff.

Further additions:

* He wrote that how fast? And that’s his first draft? Aaaargh! He’s the real writer. I’m just a talentless plodder who’s put together a bag of tricks.

* I’m not a real writer. I don’t know what I’m doing. I just dash this stuff off. For some reason, people seem to like it. Or anyway, they’ve liked it so far.

* He’s a real writer. I just make stuff up. He writes from the heart. Alternately: He’s genuinely creative—a real writer. I just endlessly rehash my own experiences.

* Any day now, everyone’s going to see through me.

dgrintalis
06-16-2009, 10:54 AM
Blacbird, belief and perseverance. Believe in the story you are telling and persevere to make it as perfect as you can. Some people write great first drafts, some people need to edit twenty times over.

thethinker42
06-16-2009, 11:01 AM
Oh, man, do some of these ring true...



I'm going to take the god-given opportunity to quote TNH (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004307.html):

* Iím not a real writer. I donít know what Iím doing. I just dash this stuff off. For some reason, people seem to like it. Or anyway, theyíve liked it so far.

*scream* WHO LET YOU INTO MY BRAIN???


* Any day now, everyoneís going to see through me.

Yep, that's me all over. Any. Day.

I think insecurity is par for the course for writers. Maybe it's a good thing, provided it doesn't cripple your ability to write at all. My insecurity is part of what drives me to improve my writing.

blacbird
06-16-2009, 11:20 AM
I think insecurity is par for the course for writers. Maybe it's a good thing, provided it doesn't cripple your ability to write at all.

Well, that's the thing, isn't it? The "WTF am I doing this for?" Years of constant rejection, broken only by non-responses, don't help, I can assure you.

Oh, and those "almosts", you know, the "boy we really liked this, but . . . " kinds of rejections? Those are the worst of all, the big lollipops behind the unbreakable window, in the closed store with the locked door.

caw

Cranky
06-16-2009, 10:57 PM
"He wrote that how fast? And that’s his first draft? Aaaargh! He’s the real writer. I’m just a talentless plodder who’s put together a bag of tricks."

Ye gods, that's me! :eek: Okay, not, but it could've been. Minus the bag of tricks. I might have a coin pocket of them. Maybe.

NeuroFizz
06-16-2009, 11:23 PM
Every time we put a piece of ourselves out there for evaluation (submissions, reviews, contests), we essentially strip ourselves naked and stand on a busy corner, shouting, "What do y'all think?" Does it ever get to be comfortable? Not in the least, but it can become bearable due to its necessity. Do people have short memories? I certainly hope so. Is there anything one can do to make it easier? Realize every other author has been out on that street corner in the same nakedness, shouting the same invitation. What's the best way to deal with rejection? Put on your clothes and get working on your next chance to come back to the street corner. Or walk away and try, just try, to find an occupation where you will never be subjected to any kind of job evaluation.

Cranky
06-16-2009, 11:28 PM
Every time we put a piece of ourselves out there for evaluation (submissions, reviews, contests), we essentially strip ourselves naked and stand on a busy corner, shouting, "What do y'all think?" Does it ever get to be comfortable? Not in the least, but it can become bearable due to its necessity. Do people have short memories? I certainly hope so. Is there anything one can do to make it easier? Realize every other author has been out on that street corner in the same nakedness, shouting the same invitation. What's the best way to deal with rejection? Put on your clothes and get working on your next chance to come back to the street corner. Or walk away and try, just try, to find an occupation where you will never be subjected to any kind of job evaluation.

My coin pocket covers the stuff that I would be *really* embarrassed to show, so I guess I'll keep on strutting my stuff on every available street corner.

Pat~
06-20-2009, 12:34 AM
Not a critique of his work, or anything like that, but a couple of threads in different forums has provoked a thought, which I'm not entirely sure I can express properly: How did Grisham have the wherewithal/foreknowledge/whatever to get past the "other authors are so much better than I am" phase? Or did he ever have it?


Well, from what I've read, he had a family to feed, a law degree, a profession he pretty much loathed, and writing was Plan B. Basically it all comes down to will, coupled with gift, and sprinkled with a shot of good fortune.

Tasmin21
06-20-2009, 12:36 AM
I saw Jim Butcher at a book signing, and he said he's just waiting for everyone else to figure out he doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

I guess maybe you always feel like that a little, even when you ARE one of the big names.

Shadow_Ferret
06-20-2009, 12:51 AM
How did Grisham have the wherewithal/foreknowledge/whatever to get past the "other authors are so much better than I am" phase? Or did he ever have it?

Or Stephen King? Or (fill in the blank)?

Or did they? How many unknowns never did make it past that phase?

The latter of which, of course, we'll never know about.

Crap. It's late. I don't even know exactly what I'm asking.

cawYou know what? I think there are days when Grisham, King, Koontz or whomever, STILL have self-doubt on a project.

It strikes every writer. Some of us never shake it. I doubt very much that my own success (if I ever have any) will change my self-doubt. In fact, I think success will make it worse because then I'll not only be thinking other writers are better, but I'll also have the added fear of "how will I top my last?"

scarletpeaches
06-20-2009, 12:53 AM
It's not foreknowledge. It's resilience.

The desire for success is greater than the fear of failure.

Shadow_Ferret
06-20-2009, 12:55 AM
It's not foreknowledge. It's resilience.

The desire for success is greater than the fear of failure.

But what if they're the same?

Bubastes
06-20-2009, 12:55 AM
The desire for success is greater than the fear of failure.

Word.

scarletpeaches
06-20-2009, 12:55 AM
But what if they're the same?

Then you're screwed, Fuzzface. :tongue


Word.

I've made it - someone worded one of my posts! :D

NeuroFizz
06-20-2009, 01:36 AM
It's not foreknowledge. It's resilience.

The desire for success is greater than the fear of failure.
Or it's accepting it as an ongoing challenge.

Gatita
06-20-2009, 02:57 AM
TO answer your question, check this out. It's a post apparently written in 1990, a time when Grisham had just published his first novel but hadn't yet become a superstar.

"The first dozen publishing companies and about the same number of agents all sent their regrets. Through it all, though, Grisham said he never got depressed. 'I never thought of quitting. My attitude was: "What the heck, let's have some fun." Honestly, I believe I would've sent it to several hundred people before I would have even thought of giving up.' "

Here's the link: http://library.msstate.edu/grisham_room/writer/weknewhim.htm

Shadow_Ferret
06-20-2009, 04:21 AM
Then you're screwed, Fuzzface. :tongue


Actually, I have a fear of success AND failure.

NeuroFizz
06-20-2009, 08:39 AM
Actually, I have a fear of success AND failure.
Which one is the greater (better) challenge?

Shadow_Ferret
06-20-2009, 07:21 PM
Well, at the moment, fear of failure, but that's only because I haven't experienced any success yet. :D

icerose
06-20-2009, 10:18 PM
I remember hearing a quote from the author who wrote jaws. It was something to the effect of: "By the time I realized how bad I was at writing, I was too famous to quit."

Pat~
06-21-2009, 06:58 AM
It strikes every writer. Some of us never shake it. I doubt very much that my own success (if I ever have any) will change my self-doubt. In fact, I think success will make it worse because then I'll not only be thinking other writers are better, but I'll also have the added fear of "how will I top my last?"

This is quite true (for me, at least).

blacbird
06-21-2009, 07:49 AM
Actually, I have a fear of success AND failure.

I no longer have fear of either. The first I entertain no further illusions about, and the second, which is the steady state, just fills me with dismay.

caw