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maestrowork
04-06-2006, 06:38 PM
Are writers the only people who care if someone is published or not? Seriously, most of my non-writer friends would care less whether I write and have a book or "things" published. It's not even a "job" for them, let alone a "career." One even goes to say that if there's no "moving images" he wouldn't even bother. Or maybe I just hang out with the wrong crowd, one that doesn't read?

Jcomp
04-06-2006, 06:41 PM
maybe I just hang out with the wrong crowd, one that doesn't read?

maybe.

poetinahat
04-06-2006, 06:44 PM
I'm not in your league, Ray. But tonight, I was talking with good friends. They know I've never really liked my work, but get satisfaction from the rest of my life. I told them that I'd been writing, and had actually published a couple of poems.

Blank stares.

You impress the bejaysus out of me -- and, obviously, a lot of people around here. And on and on. Doing book signings? That's unreal!

maestrowork
04-06-2006, 06:46 PM
But that's the thing, Poet, you're a writer. One of my friends just told me, "Book signing? If you happen to do one in my neighborhood, I may show up if I have nothing else to do." He lives 5 miles away from me.

Grrrrr.

William Haskins
04-06-2006, 06:50 PM
this is more or less the theme of a poem (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30547) i wrote last night. that writers see writing (specifically poetry, in this case) as an escape for like-minded people, while the problem really is that writing should ideally function in the real world where, unfortunately, most people just don't give a damn.

jenngreenleaf
04-06-2006, 06:50 PM
I'm surrounded by people who don't really know what being a writer is. They often say, "why do you just sit at home all day? How do you earn your income? Why don't you work like the rest of us?"

Constantly. Almost daily. That's what I hear. :cry:

Someday, I hope to meet up with a non-writer who really understands and really cares . . . because this IS work. Isn't it? Or else how would all these people be able to read what they read, learn what they learn and do what they do?

jst5150
04-06-2006, 07:02 PM
This can be chalked up an economy of means, on more than one scale.

The cabal of military people have certain rules when they encounter each other. So do attorneys, doctors and MBAs. However, when doctors and military people get together, there's probably going to be some "so what?" factor that comes up on both sides.

The classic question when encountering someone in the Air Force is, "Do you fly?" How they gain their means dictates the social structure, level and interest in conversation. When writers get together, I suppose that's how we check if the water's cold and how deep it is (to reference an old Richard Pryor joke).


Finally, you're a published author, a fine person and you're admired by hundreds of people (literally). Trust your work. Don't worry about what others think. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are positive and suppoorting. Don't make seeking acceptance from others part of your self-esteem ecosystem.

Cathy C
04-06-2006, 07:23 PM
Yep. Pretty much. Most of my non-writing friends don't really care. They're surprised that I actually AM making a living at it, because they think of it a lot like movie stars. There are a very, very few people at the top--the Stephen Kings and Danielle Steele's of the world, while the rest publish for pennies and keep their day jobs.

But it doesn't even hit the radar screen of most people. Published, not published. Hobby or career. Doesn't matter. :Shrug:

aadams73
04-06-2006, 07:29 PM
I find most people don't care either. They can kiss my behind ;)

Actually, true story, my husband and I were in buying him a new truck last Friday. The dealer--being a friendly salesman sort--asked what I did for a living. I told him I was trying to be a published writer.

He blinked then asked, "How much does that pay? About a million dollars?"

I was polite enough to control my hysterical laughter--but barely.

aka eraser
04-06-2006, 07:39 PM
Most of my friends and family are as interested in my work as I am in theirs - i.e. not a whole heck of a lot. If they get a promotion or a raise, we high-five. If I make a good sale or crack a long-desired market, we high-five. Then we go on to the important stuff, like fishing or baseball.

September skies
04-06-2006, 07:42 PM
Most people I know think this is a hobby for me. Especially my sisters. It is something I do for fun. They really think I have nothing better to do but sit around. In reality, half the time I take on more assignments than I can handle at one time -- I'm looking at two due tomorrow and five more by the w/end. AUUGHHHH! I've actually been working full time with freelance writing since January.

I have one supportive friend I love very much that I talk to daily. He calls me Lois Lane and asks daily what I'm writing about now, etc.

And I have one friend that goes overboard with me. It's almost embarrassing. If I stop by to see her at work, she'll squeal and hug me (we've been best friends since age 12) and then brag on and on to her co-workers as she holds up the day's newspaper and points out my stories on the front page. She constantly tells me how much she admires me and that she is so proud of knowing me every time she reads one of my (newspaper) stories. LOL

When it comes to novel writing - I'm no where near close to any of you and I admire you all. I wish I were.
I can't wait to be published! (book)

NeuroFizz
04-06-2006, 08:02 PM
I come from a very different angle here, and yet it's exactly the same. In my primary business, some jerk attached the phrase "...or perish" after "publish..." Actually, I derive great joy from my research. I find it just as creatively stimulating as writing fiction or poetry. But, here's the kicker. I'm closing in on 70 published papers in scientific journals, and what do I get asked by John Q.? When are you going to write a textbook? Well, a textbook is something non-research active professors write, or texts are written late in a researcher's career when the research program is winding down (or has withered). If I hit them with publishing poetry or fiction, the reaction is much the same. If you have all that time, why not write a textbook? Because either publishing original research or publishing fiction/poetry is like fantastic sex, while publishing a textbook is like having my pud rubbing on my underwear all day (on an emotional level, or course). It's frustrating that others can't catch the tremendous personal gratification we get from doing our kinds of creative activities.

"What kind of professor are you if you haven't written any textbooks?"
"Well, right now I have a good idea for one on practical proctology."

CaroGirl
04-06-2006, 08:07 PM
I write for a living, so telling people I'm a writer is no biggie. Thing is, I'm a technical writer, which somehow seems more legitimate to casual acquaintances than being a fiction writer. Only people I'm very close to, and the members of my critique group, know I write short stories and am working on a novel. And I find them all tremendously supportive. If I got anything published, I'd be telling everybody, all the time. I don't know what their reaction would be, whether they'd be elated or indifferent. I'll letcha know. ;)

maestrowork
04-06-2006, 08:09 PM
When I was working as an IT consultant, my friends didn't care about what I did either, but they did care about the fact that I got to travel a lot, had a business expense account, and made $$$. LOL. I guess my friends are very practical.

jst5150
04-06-2006, 08:17 PM
Thing is, I'm a technical writer, which somehow seems more legitimate to casual acquaintances than being a fiction writer.

Maybe its that blue-collar mantra our parents and their parents grew up permiating again. "Honest day's work," and all that. Remember when parents told their children they couldn't make a living playing video games.

Jealousy. He can juggle. I can't. He can string pretty words together and evoke and image. I can't.

To quote Chaucer and Dante: Bizitch, don't hate the player; hate the game.

CaroGirl
04-06-2006, 08:21 PM
Maybe its that blue-collar mantra our parents and their parents grew up permiating again. "Honest day's work," and all that. Remember when parents told their children they couldn't make a living playing video games.
Indeed. I wish my parents hadn't subscribed to that blue-collar mantra or I might have started writing creative fiction long before this. A desk job was just expected. I love being able to blame my parents for every shortcoming in my own life. It's fun. (j/k, btw)

NeuroFizz
04-06-2006, 08:26 PM
Wow. Another button pushed:

[Father to me] What the heck will you do with a graduate degree in biology? You need to get down to the shipyard. They're hiring electricians and welders.

(truth, although paraphrased)

maestrowork
04-06-2006, 08:35 PM
[Mother to me] Computers? Why would you want to go to college for that? Why not become an electrical engineer?

(and I didn't even talk about wanting to write and perform and draw!)

PattiTheWicked
04-06-2006, 08:40 PM
Most of my nonwriter friends assume that because I'm a writer, I just MUST be published. When I tell them, "Well, I've got a few short stories out there, some magazine pieces, a self published novel, and oh, in the fall my children's book comes out," they're really impressed.

What tweaks me is the ones who say things like "Oh, I'd love to write kids' books -- they're so EASY!"

Maryn
04-06-2006, 08:42 PM
Wow. Another button pushed:

[Father to me] What the heck will you do with a graduate degree in biology? You need to get down to the shipyard. They're hiring electricians and welders.

(truth, although paraphrased)On the flipside, my parents, who encouraged me to study whatever took my fancy for its own sake, which led to a degree with virtually no applicable skills, a.k.a. constant underemployment in jobs where a high school diploma was the only requirement. It sucks to know you're way, way smarter than your boss.

Maryn, who did secretarial and customer service work

WVWriterGirl
04-06-2006, 08:56 PM
Strangely, I get a lot of people telling me how much they admire me for writing fiction and saying how hard it must be to create quality work. I'm unplublished, too, except for a couple of short stories, but I work hard and keep at it.

Maybe they're just being nice, and internally wondering why I don't do something "productive", but all I can judge by is what they tell me. Both friends and strangers have made these comments.

Strangely, it's my family (aside from my husband) who is completely un-supportive. Almost all my friends ask about my writing when I see them. I've had to remind my mother that I'm not just a stay-at-home mom these days, I actually _do_ work...

rich
04-06-2006, 09:08 PM
I've gone through a career outside of writing. Most friends and relatives, when we meet, generally ask how my writing is going. My next door neighbor, if she sees me leaving the house with a manilla envelope always asks, "Who's it going to?"

What all that may be about is that I'm already retired, and anything I do after that is gravy--not so much money wise, (I could never live on my writing.) but just the fact that I can do something interesting at an age when the synapses tend to misfire. It's much tougher when you're trying to survive by putting thoughts on paper.

brokenfingers
04-06-2006, 09:39 PM
Are writers the only people who care if someone is published or not? I would say the only people who are gonna care if you're published or not would be writers and readers. Which is as it should be I suppose.

Nobody that I know even knows that I write and it would probably freak them out if they did. And I feel no need to tell them I write either. They're mostly not reader types and I sure as hell wouldn't want to listen to their stories about working on their car or their squirrel-hunting exploits either.

Anyways, my point is - since I'm not writing to recieve any type of overt recognition (I don't use my real name for any of my writing anyway) it wouldn't bother me.

I write both for me and for my intended audience so I have no problem with the fact that my friends don't know about my writing or being published nor would they care. As long as the readers know I'm published and I can cash those paychecks - it doesn't bother me at all.

Though they would probably come to a signing, if only just to give me a hard time and maybe pick up some girls...

reph
04-06-2006, 10:12 PM
Talking to nonwriters about writing will get you misunderstood. So will talking about any experience to people who haven't had it and know nothing about it.

NeuroFizz
04-06-2006, 10:50 PM
Talking to nonwriters about writing will get you misunderstood. So will talking about any experience to people who haven't had it and know nothing about it.
Like talking to pre-teens about sex. Or talking to freshmen, just away from home, about good study habits.

Stew21
04-06-2006, 11:04 PM
No they don't completely get it. Usually I get met with that eyerolling, "silly little hobby" look. Then I had someone show genuine interest and she was one of my first readers when I started the novel. It was the encouragement I needed to keep going because, still, most people didn't get it at all. One day she said some not very nice things and it stopped me cold. I even stopped working on the MS for a while because it seemed like everything she had ever said encouraging before that was a load of crap. It took a couple months and heavy convincing by another friend to get back to it. Then as people heard I had finished my novel (it isn't finished, just this draft of it), people started giving me the eyerolling "wow, that's a lot of effort for a hobby" look. And now, when the occasional person asks me about it, they usually want to know if I am getting it published. I tell them it isn't ready for that yet, and then of course there is the query, agent, find a publisher *thing* I have to do. THis earns me the dissmissive eyerolling "it can't be good if it isn't going to get published" look. Which is puzzling...how do they think you get a book published? Find a publisher, tell them you'll start working on it right away and get it to them when its done? uh? Isn't writing it the first step?
Altogether, not a serious business for anyone but the writer. People can be supportive and still have no idea and it is impossible to explain because the only ones who will listen that long are other writers!

Kida Adelyne
04-07-2006, 12:11 AM
and now, when the occasional person asks me about it, they usually want to know if I am getting it published. I tell them it isn't ready for that yet, and then of course there is the query, agent, find a publisher *thing* I have to do. THis earns me the dissmissive eyerolling "it can't be good if it isn't going to get published" look.

Same thing here, except my friends are more like "But your writings awesome, it HAS to get published."

blacbird
04-07-2006, 12:40 AM
Tell somebody you're a writer and, guaranteed, the first question they'll ask is "Are you published?" or some similar configuration. They may not care if you are, but if you're not, you're better off not even mentioning that you write.

I got my name published in the phone book three or four times.

caw.

Azure Skye
04-07-2006, 12:52 AM
I was baffled by a comment a female co-worker made a couple of years ago. I had just really started writing seriously. The wife of a male co-worker was into the paranormal and decided to write a book about it. When it got published the guy went around telling everyone about how excited he was for her. The female co-worker I mentioned couldn't understand his excitement. This whole thing puzzled her. She looked at me and said, "She wrote a book. Well, I guess people do that sort of thing." I nearly fell over backwards.

CaroGirl
04-07-2006, 12:55 AM
She looked at me and said, "She wrote a book. Well, I guess people do that sort of thing." I nearly fell over backwards.
Mmmm. Some people even read a book. It takes all kinds, I guess.

Anastacia
04-07-2006, 01:15 AM
My husband cares. He brags about my published writing to all his friends. Have I told you all just how much I love said husband? http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/Emotesnoopy.gif

My mom also cares. I send her a copy of everything I write and she runs around showing my clips to her friends. Growing up we had a really difficult relationship so her openly expressed pride really makes me feel great.

The rest of the world? Some of my friends think what I've done is just wonderful. Others smile, shrug their shoulders and turn the conversation elsewhere.

Me? I run around with a bit of a glow on my face. Not just because I've been published but because damnit I had the courage to submit in the first place. I had the courage to stare rejection in the face (and all the pain that comes with it) make rejection blink. I am so very, very, very proud of that courage because I took a long time to finally find it.

I think what we writers and would be writers know is just how hard it is to be a writer. Not just the actual writing but the true hope/bravery/fingers crossed feeling that makes you hit the send button on the email query or seal the envelope oh so carefully on the typed submission letter.

Published or not published. I think every writer who submits deserves a few claps if not at least one round of applause.

brokenfingers
04-07-2006, 02:58 AM
No they don't completely get it...

And now, when the occasional person asks me about it, they usually want to know if I am getting it published. I tell them it isn't ready for that yet, and then of course there is the query, agent, find a publisher *thing* I have to do. THis earns me the dissmissive eyerolling "it can't be good if it isn't going to get published" look. Which is puzzling...how do they think you get a book published? Find a publisher, tell them you'll start working on it right away and get it to them when its done? uh? Isn't writing it the first step?
Altogether, not a serious business for anyone but the writer. People can be supportive and still have no idea and it is impossible to explain because the only ones who will listen that long are other writers! Hahahaha! I hear you.

Unless involved in the business of writing themselves, people usually don't realize what it's like.

I myself, when I first decided to write a book, thought it was only a matter of sitting down for a few weeks, writing it, sending it out to a publisher and then kicking back and waiting for a paycheck. No big deal.

It wasn't until I began looking into it that I discovered exactly what I'd gotten myself into and all the hurdles involved - not just in the process of creating it but also after the manuscript is done!

I was shocked and amazed to discover that there was more to it than just writing it - structure, plot, theme, characterization, description, pacing etc. It was like a whole new world to me and totally fascinated me.

Now I am wholly in its grip (writing) but I truly enjoy it. But unless someone actually embarks on the journey themselves - they'll never know.

That's why I love this place so much. Everyone here knows the peculiar trials and tribulations that a writer faces - whether it be in the craft itself, the solitary nature of it, the writer's life or even in dealing with being a writer in society in general.

So I'd like to thank all of you - Jenna (for creating this oasis in the virtual desert) and all my fellow writers and travelers who frequent here and make it such a great place to stop and rest my legs occasionally while I make this journey...

Write On!

LightShadow
04-07-2006, 03:13 AM
My friends are more excited than me about the possibility, and are marketing my name for me before I've made it. I actually bump into friends of friends at gatherings and they say, oh, you're the writer.

Danger Jane
04-07-2006, 05:39 AM
I have a few friends who really do care about my writing because they understand that it really does matter to me. These are the closest friends. Some I don't bother mentioning it to. Since they've never experienced it, they can't understand just what it's like to have a story playing out in the back of your mind all the time...and that's okay. They just won't be my beta readers ;)

SpookyWriter
04-07-2006, 05:46 AM
Since they've never experienced it, they can't understand just what it's like to have a story playing out in the back of your mind all the time... ;)

Or people talking to you when nobody is around...;)

unthoughtknown
04-07-2006, 05:48 AM
Are writers the only people who care if someone is published or not? Seriously, most of my non-writer friends would care less whether I write and have a book or "things" published. It's not even a "job" for them, let alone a "career." One even goes to say that if there's no "moving images" he wouldn't even bother. Or maybe I just hang out with the wrong crowd, one that doesn't read?

Interesting topic, Ray.

If everyone believed Ray Bradbury's theory that most (or did he say all?) people are poets and artists but not necessarily able to express it, it would mean a publishing credit is needed to be taken seriously...

But I don't know.

LightShadow
04-08-2006, 04:14 AM
Most people are intrigued and supportive because they know it is difficult to become published, but don't place a lot of expectations upon the possibility because it is so difficult to become published.

William Haskins
04-08-2006, 04:31 AM
i like to tell people i'm a poet, and then when they snicker, i kick them in their uglies.

SpookyWriter
04-08-2006, 05:22 AM
i like to tell people i'm a poet, and then when they snicker, i kick them in their uglies.I think it's called butt-stuck in America.

T G McKenna
04-08-2006, 06:00 AM
Interesting topic, Ray.

If everyone believed Ray Bradbury's theory that most (or did he say all?) people are poets and artists but not necessarily able to express it, it would mean a publishing credit is needed to be taken seriously...

But I don't know.


Imagine every person who's ever painted a wall in their living room thinking they're a Rembrandt.

Everyone has written. It's required in our schools. Those dreary assignments long ago about 'How I Spent My Summer' color the term 'writer' in the mind of the general citizen, and make it seem somehow childish, as if we're stuck in an eighth-grade time bubble that they escaped.

Or I'm all wet, and should have my keyboard confiscated ...

SpookyWriter
04-08-2006, 06:46 AM
Imagine every person who's ever painted a wall in their living room thinking they're a Rembrandt.

Uh, you mean I'm not Rembrandt?

http://www.winnlederer.com/artshow/Electic/images/Klompen.jpg

Pat~
04-08-2006, 06:59 AM
Are writers the only people who care if someone is published or not?

You mean like when I get an email from an editor, and I have to read it twice because I'm stumbling over the words I'm reading too fast, and then I see the words "I have chosen your poem for our next issue...", and then I raise clenched fists and shout to my ceiling, "YES!!!" and can't concentrate the rest of the day--you mean does anybody else care like that?

No. But it is nice to have a place like this to come to, where you'll find a few people willing to jump up and down with you, simply because they've experienced a very similar hope or thrill.

maestrowork
04-08-2006, 08:09 AM
I have friends who are more interested in the Kung Pao Chicken they just ordered than my getting something published.


No. But it is nice to have a place like this to come to, where you'll find a few people willing to jump up and down with you, simply because they've experienced a very similar hope or thrill.

Hell yeah.

SpookyWriter
04-08-2006, 08:29 AM
I have friends who are more interested in the Kung Pao Chicken they just ordered than my getting something published.
Now that just plain sucks! Get new friends. Or buy an English reading dog because they're always happy to read a good story.

Cat Scratch
04-08-2006, 08:57 AM
I must have freakishly understanding friends, because most of them are supportive, ask about it, recognize that it takes work and dedication, etc. I get the occasional person who says off-handedly "I bet I could write a book. Doesn't seem that hard." But then it flashes in my mind that perhaps they will try it and in six months have a bestseller while I'm still pimping small articles and praying. Stranger things have happened.

I think the most surreal moment was when I co-worker asked why I hadn't quit my job yet when I had a well-reviewed play running in our city. Oh, dear...

underthecity
04-08-2006, 05:28 PM
My wife cares, but she's not a reader and she isn't interested in the subjects I write about. However, a direct result of my writing is that it brings in money, so she understands there is a means to an end. (On a side note, I was just unemployed for three weeks, and my royalty check arrived and literally saved our butts.)

My mother is thrilled, but I'm not sure about my father who seems ambivalent about the whole subject. He's not really interested in the subject matter either.

My closest friends always ask me how sales are going, and tell me about people they know who have read my books and enjoyed them. If I tell my coworkers they're interested at first but seem to forget soon after. When I started in my most recent department, I chose not to tell anyone I'm an author. Those who know me from previous departments always ask "how things are going" with the books and what my latest project is, and ask if I'm doing well enough to quit my day job. Answer: no, not yet.

As far as the general public goes, I don't think most people really care unless they're interested in the subject matter. When I do appearances and signings I usually meet people who bought my previous books and liked them, so they're the most important people who know I'm an author.

allen

unthoughtknown
04-09-2006, 05:34 AM
Imagine every person who's ever painted a wall in their living room thinking they're a Rembrandt.

No, I can't imagine it! :)