How to know you're not a writer?

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sierramcconnell
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How to know you're not a writer?

Post by sierramcconnell » October 26th, 2010, 10:18 am

Is there something cosmic I'm missing? Some note or article, some test out there that I should take to tell me, once and for all, to stop this mad chase for a career I will never have?

Just as not everyone can be a mother or an aerospace engineer, I believe I, too, do not have the salt for this.

I only wish I could find out what I'm supposed to do with this useless life of mine, instead of pittering away the last ten years of it on something stupid.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by Ermo » October 26th, 2010, 10:45 am

You know you're not a writer when you quit. And even then, you just might come back...

This board needs a "Blowing Off Steam" forum.

If you makes you feel any better, I will never be a mother (My Y chromosome makes me uterus-deficient), an aerospace engineer (math? wha?) and do not have a published book, just like literally millions of other people.

If you need a confidence boost - try getting some stuff published in a literary magazine. There are tons of them and that might just be the spark you need. Good luck.

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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by sierramcconnell » October 26th, 2010, 10:52 am

Ermo wrote:You know you're not a writer when you quit. And even then, you just might come back...

This board needs a "Blowing Off Steam" forum.

If you makes you feel any better, I will never be a mother (My Y chromosome makes me uterus-deficient), an aerospace engineer (math? wha?) and do not have a published book, just like literally millions of other people.

If you need a confidence boost - try getting some stuff published in a literary magazine. There are tons of them and that might just be the spark you need. Good luck.
I can't be a mother because I have exploded ovaries (technically I don't make good eggs) and I don't do math well despite being an IT major.

I really do feel like quitting. I have been in a depression over it for about a week now, and I just haven't gotten any better over the past couple days. Shouldn't a writer be able to write and edit the book to a point in which the majority of people who read it, understand it completely? They shouldn't be asking questions that are, for all intense and purpose, stupid?

I feel like burning a year's worth of work in the grill. I'm that upset about it.

I just don't understand why, if everyone else understood, if one person who doesn't comes along, it throws me into this kind of upset.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by dios4vida » October 26th, 2010, 12:44 pm

Hey Sierra,

Take a breath. Then get some cookies.

Keep breathing as you eat the cookies.

We all do this. I just got myself OUT of this exact feeling. I felt like after my last WIP got rejected (again) that I'd just lost my talent for writing. I didn't want to do it and when I did the BIC and forced myself to try, nothing came out. Not even drivel - nothing. It was terrible and I honestly thought that I would never write another word in my entire life. I was terribly depressed.

But I came back. Please don't ask me why, but I did. I couldn't help it. I think that's how we know we're writers. We try to quit and it lasts for a day, a month, or a year - but we come back. Or maybe it's that people that know us - and sometimes people who don't know us - listen to us and say "you must be one of those creative types, like a writer or something." I have to admit that reading your posts I always got the "she's a creative type" vibe from you. And the little loglines about your WIPS have always intrigued me. I don't think that will answer your question of "Am I A Writer?" but maybe that will just give you a little encouragement. I definitely think you're a "creative type."

I'm just like you, too. I can't be a Mom (connective tissue disorder that makes my body far too weak), nor an aerospace engineer (I finally passed college algebra on my fourth try, cause I got tutored by my sister every single night), nor many, many other things. But I want to be a writer. I think I am, but I'm not sure. I don't think any of us are ever 100% sure that we're writers. But we WANT to be writers, so we keep showing up and trying to get some words on the paper. If you're ready to quit, then I say give it a try. Just remember that if you decide you want to come back, then come back.
Brenda :)

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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by cheekychook » October 26th, 2010, 1:49 pm

Ermo wrote:You know you're not a writer when you quit. And even then, you just might come back...

[b]This board needs a "Blowing Off Steam" forum.[/b]

If you makes you feel any better, I will never be a mother (My Y chromosome makes me uterus-deficient), an aerospace engineer (math? wha?) and do not have a published book, just like literally millions of other people.

If you need a confidence boost - try getting some stuff published in a literary magazine. There are tons of them and that might just be the spark you need. Good luck.

I agree---I propose a stick thread entitled something accurate and relatable....like.... "GAHHH!!!! :thud"
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by gilesth » October 26th, 2010, 2:23 pm

Heh...writing can be quite depressing at times. Believe me, I've been feeling the same way for a few weeks, too. I even posted about in this forum. You're not alone in your frustration, and don't throw away your book. Maybe take a break from it, write something new, and then come back to it with that new perspective. That's what I did, and it helped me work on both books that I've written to completion.

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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by Louise Curtis » October 26th, 2010, 6:26 pm

Please don't kill me for this. . .

The writing life sucks. It does. If you can do anything else, DO IT.

I imagine that expressing yourself in words is a skill for you (especially since you mentioned "a year's work" - that's more writing than most people ever do). There are loads of real, paid, appreciated, useful jobs that involve either communication or editing. For example:
Anything governmental involving briefs (which often also involves changing the world in a real way, if you're into that sort of thing).
Proofreading web sites (I bet you've observed a need for this yourself).
Journalism.
Textbook writing (non-fiction pays much better than fiction, and is less risky).
Etc.

Go to a site that advertises jobs and do a keyword search for "edit".

In answer to your question, "How do I know I'm not a writer?" the answer is: Because you're sane, you pay your bills with a sigh instead of tears, and you are able to function in the real world.

Further discouraging facts at https://twittertales.wordpress.com/2010 ... novelists/

Please don't kill me for telling the truth. I wish someone had done the same for me before I was too far gone.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by sierramcconnell » October 26th, 2010, 6:35 pm

Louise Curtis wrote:and you are able to function in the real world.
Actually, I'm getting to the point where I can't. I thought for sure writing might be my out. Of all things, I can write on my back, in a chair, on the floor.

And I just blogged about how I'm just about useless at everything else I've tried. I can't paint, I can't take pictures (I shake), I can't sew well enough to sell, and I can't do much of anything else of value to the world. At least, when I try, they don't seem to care.

I'm an IT Technician, but I don't know for how much longer.

I know, [throws confetti] here's a pity party. But I'm thirty-years old, and I can't do anything right. I'm only in this profession because my parents told me to do it and said...it's where the money's at.

Yes, I'm just rolling in dough and doctor's bills.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by J. T. SHEA » October 26th, 2010, 6:56 pm

Sierra, never say never! And, even if you do 'quit' (for a while) never burn or throw anything away. How many published novels have been saved from the flames by a relative or friend of a depressed writer?

Ian Fleming often felt like destroying his writing. Luckily, his secretary used to grab each page after he typed it and hide it away until he felt better about it. Otherwise James Bond would be 'James who?'.

Louise, I won't kill you, but I do disagree regarding the writing life's suckiness. Mine does not suck. It IS difficult, but so are most worthwhile occupations, and I have found writing well worth my while for many years.

Ermo and Cheekychook, we could call this the Steamfunk Thread!

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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by Colonel Travis » October 26th, 2010, 11:37 pm

sierramcconnell wrote: I know, [throws confetti] here's a pity party. But I'm thirty-years old, and I can't do anything right. I'm only in this profession because my parents told me to do it and said...it's where the money's at.
Maybe you're genuinely realizing writing ain't for you, maybe not and you're just frustrated. I don't believe you can't do anything right. There's gotta be some passion for something in your life. Whatever it is, if you don't do it, and you are still thinking these thoughts when you are age 50, 60, 70, you will be far more despondent than you are now. I seriously cannot imagine doing something for a living that I didn't love.

Some writers, for whatever reason, are the most worrisome, depressing, timid, thin-skinned people I've ever known. I've been a writer my entire professional life, just saying what I've noticed. Let me also say that I'm not saying this about anyone on this forum. Trust me, I have my ups and downs. But you have to write A TON so you can:

1.) Be good
2.) Toughen your hide and realize that when you're rejected by an editor, agent, whatever, they're not slashing through your soul with this glorious, corrosion proof, antimagnetic, titanium beauty:
Image

If you want to be a writer you have to work hard at it. You need to study, you need to read, you need to write. Like I said, you need to write a ton. And by "a ton" I mean "a bunch" and by "a bunch" I mean "a $#!t-load", then multiply that amount by 4,149,095,812,773. You also need to find someone who will tear your work to shreds and demand better next time. I was fortunate enough to have newspaper and magazine editors and readers rip me a new one on a daily basis for a long time. Sometimes on a nanosecond basis if it was online. Find a publication and pitch an editor, find a writers' group, set small goals, work your way up to big ones. Take criticism seriously but not personally. OK, let's get two.

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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by Claudie » October 27th, 2010, 1:45 am

Colonel Travis wrote:If you want to be a writer you have to work hard at it. You need to study, you need to read, you need to write. Like I said, you need to write a ton. And by "a ton" I mean "a bunch" and by "a bunch" I mean "a $#!t-load", then multiply that amount by 4,149,095,812,773. You also need to find someone who will tear your work to shreds and demand better next time. I was fortunate enough to have newspaper and magazine editors and readers rip me a new one on a daily basis for a long time. Sometimes on a nanosecond basis if it was online. Find a publication and pitch an editor, find a writers' group, set small goals, work your way up to big ones. Take criticism seriously but not personally. OK, let's get two.
The critique group is important, but do find a Cheerleader too. A writer needs both.

Sierra... take a deep breath. Relax. Don't burn anything.

I'm not in your shoes, and I may not be able to tell whether you are a writer or not, but in the short time I've been around these forums with you, I could tell you were a great person. It pains me to hear you say you doubt yourself as a writer, but not quite as much as hearing that you are useless. You're not.

Take a break from your current work. Either do something else that is silly and approach writing as a hobby this once, or take a break from writing entirely. You can always come back (again, don't burn anything). Take all the time you need to figure things out, and if at some point you hear the manuscript calling... well, then, you are a writer, with all the ups and downs implied.

I hope you'll get better, and find your way.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 27th, 2010, 8:27 am

I think you know you're not a writer when you stop writing.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by rose » October 27th, 2010, 11:56 am

They shouldn't be asking questions that are, for all intense and purpose, stupid?
I'm sorry, Sierra, but this cracks me up. I know this feeling so well. I always want to say, "Whadda mean, you don't get it? What in the Mackinac Island fudge do you think the preceding sentence/paragraph/chapter was about then??"

Instead, I mutter my mantra--there ARE no stupid question. there ARE no stupid questions--grit my teeth and embrace revisions. I have learned that the omelet will be done when it is done and not a moment sooner. But I find that for my own sanity I need to have a juggle of projects cooking at the same time, all in different stages of done-ness. Othewise, putting all my eggs are in one frying pan makes me uber-vulnerable to burn-out, too.

Also,when I have hit a wall with the big story, for whatever reason, I work on the ancillary writing pieces that the eventual book will demand. Once I have told a story in a one line hook, a one page summary, and a narrative outline, I am better able to measure my success in making words do what I want them to do.

But I also believe in taking lots of creative breaks. If you need to step away from the keyboard for a while, do it. It's a beautiful world out there. Enjoy it.


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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by sierramcconnell » October 27th, 2010, 12:07 pm

rose wrote:
They shouldn't be asking questions that are, for all intense and purpose, stupid?
I'm sorry, Sierra, but this cracks me up. I know this feeling so well. I always want to say, "Whadda mean, you don't get it? What in the Mackinac Island fudge do you think the preceding sentence/paragraph/chapter was about then??"

Instead, I mutter my mantra--there ARE no stupid question. there ARE no stupid questions--grit my teeth and embrace revisions. I have learned that the omelet will be done when it is done and not a moment sooner. But I find that for my own I need to have a juggle of projects cooking at the same time, all in different stages of done-ness. Othewise, putting all my eggs are in one frying pan makes me uber-vulnerable to burn-out, too.

Also,when I have hit a wall with the big story, for whatever reason, I work on the ancillary writing pieces that the eventual book will demand. Once I have told a story in a one line hook, a one page summary, and a narrative outline, I am better able to measure my success in making words do what I want them to do.

But I also believe in taking lots of creative breaks. If you need to step away from the keyboard for a while, do it. It's a beautiful world out there. Enjoy it.


rose
It's like the time when a character said, "No! I'm not going to let you go to Hell!"

And the beta asked me, "Why did Mikael stop him for?"

...
......
Really...? He just...he just TOLD you...and you're asking?

"Oh, I completely missed that, lol."

...it makes me question why I'm even doing this in the first place.

And the beautiful world had a tornado yesterday. Of course, I question that, considering it was at the Corvette plant, and we happen to have the transformer Bumblebee there this week, I hear. Tornado? Or autobot versus decepticon fight coverup by the government?

You tell me. [shifty eyes]
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by commando8 » October 27th, 2010, 3:28 pm

Look at it from another angle - sometimes you just need to be glad that you CAN write. I've wanted to be a writer for a long time now, but sometimes life has a way of making things as hard as they can possibly be. My challenge is physical - every keystroke, mouse click, moment I'm sitting down, and moment I'm staring at the computer screen is filled with horrible pain. I can't attend any writers conferences, conventions, or classes, and I can only imagine what would be like if I had go on tour and do some book signings! My body has given me every reason to give up, and yet I don't. Why? Because I WANT to be a writer, even if it's not in a professional sense, and even if it's as simple as writing a measly paragraph a day (which is about all I can do). Short of death, nothing is going to make me stop writing. NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Hope that helps a least a little bit...

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