How to know you're not a writer?

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

Post by sierramcconnell » October 27th, 2010, 9:39 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:Don't take general advice too specifically and personally, Sierra. None of us claims to be infallible, unless one of us is Pope Benedict in disguise...

And readers often skim and miss things. Even with books they love.
Eh, it's alright. Since I don't think I'll be doing this much more anyway.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by polymath » October 27th, 2010, 9:49 pm

There's not much use in perpetuating misunderstandings.

I'm sorry if I personally offended you. It was not my intention. The good that's come of it is I will no longer publicly engage in any negative valence constructive criticism here or elsewhere that's not assigned, hired, or required. Because, no matter what, someone's going to take my good intentions personally.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by J. T. SHEA » October 27th, 2010, 10:24 pm

Gee! Looks like Sierra and Polymath are both gone off in a huff. Any room for me in that huff? I'll sit in the back...

Rereading the Nigel Bottomtooth thread (as I call it!) I still like Sierra's short excerpts more than Polymath did. And, elaborating on my last post here, a reader can miss something without there being any significant fault in either the reader or the book.

Readers, like writers, are fallible. Though you do sound a bit Bavarian at times, Polymath. You sure you're not really Pope Benedict?

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

Post by polymath » October 27th, 2010, 10:32 pm

Mr. Shea,

The comments addressed to me aren't helpful.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by sierramcconnell » October 27th, 2010, 10:47 pm

polymath wrote:There's not much use in perpetuating misunderstandings.

I'm sorry if I personally offended you. It was not my intention. The good that's come of it is I will no longer publicly engage in any negative valence constructive criticism here or elsewhere that's not assigned, hired, or required. Because, no matter what, someone's going to take my good intentions personally.
I looked valence up (because remember, we're not all linguistics majors here) and that makes no sense.

va·lence

–noun
1. Chemistry .
a. the quality that determines the number of atoms or groups with which any single atom or group will unite chemically.
b. the relative combining capacity of an atom or group compared with that of the standard hydrogen atom. The chloride ion, Cl–, with a valence of one, has the capacity to unite with one atom of hydrogen or its equivalent, as in HCl or NaCl.
2. Immunology . the number of determinants per molecule of antigen.
3. the capacity of one person or thing to react with or affect another in some special way, as by attraction or the facilitation of a function or activity.

Are you saying you want to attract negative constructive critism? That you want people to be attracted to negativity through constructive critcism?

And if you had good intentions in posting in that thread, you would have answered the question outright instead of critiquing the work harshly. The original question, "What to take and what to leave" was not answered. I was asking, "since everyone else got it and she didn't, what does that mean?" and you replied basically, "Dear God, woman, if I had to read another line of your drivel I would publically hang myself".

How would you feel at the bottom of the barrel, barely hanging on, to hear that?

Though I'm sure you've never been in that position, have you? Oh, no. Never have you felt what it's like to be pulling at the dregs of inspiration, because you've only so much energy left. Flattened out on the couch with four stitches but you've never felt better because you're writing, and it's wonderful! It feels so great to put words on the screen despite the fact that you haven't eaten much in days, not for lack of trying but for the fact that your body can't digest it.

And then someone decides to tell you that the words you put there are nothing but the ramblings of some horrid, unlearned creature. It takes a dictionary to even understand half of what the person even tried to tell you. And then after that...well...what's the point?

You don't understand how what you say affects people because you can't see the words you use. It's sort of like how you can't see the forest for the trees. What you speak is a foreign language. And you use it to confuse people and make them feel inferior. Meaning to or not, but the attitude is in such a way as it makes them feel as if you mean to. Almost as if you wish to chase away people so that they will not be there to become your rival.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by J. T. SHEA » October 27th, 2010, 10:57 pm

polymath wrote:Mr. Shea,

The comments addressed to me aren't helpful.
They were jokes, Your Holiness. But, as you so rightly pointed out an hour ago, someone is always going to take good intentions personally.

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

Post by polymath » October 27th, 2010, 11:00 pm

It's not a good practice to stir up a scorched pot. Leaves a burnt aftertaste.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by J. T. SHEA » October 27th, 2010, 11:09 pm

Fair enough, Polymath. When a joke no longer evokes laughter, it has outlived its usefulness.

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

Post by polymath » October 27th, 2010, 11:10 pm

Ms. serriamcconnell,

The depth of my well of despair is a private matter anymore, otherwise I'd share the litany of my many troubles, though I once wanted others to share in my miseries. Misery loves company, but good company soon departs from misery. I learned that lesson the hard way. Anymore, my life is much more pleasant from developing healthier coping strategies and reestablishing encouraging and supporting relationships.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by Margo » October 28th, 2010, 1:07 am

A few quick comments...

You're already a writer. You write. Not hard.

As soon as you make money, you're professional. That can be hard.

Making a living solely from writing is the really hard one, and very very very very very few people can do this. However, writing can still be very fulfilling, even if you're only bringing in enough to pay for the little emergencies of life or the kids' music lessons or the family vacation. In fact, the money I've made so far has been nowhere near as sustaining as finding out a person in a country half the world away not only read and liked the story but then wrote a very nice review...even if it was in a language I had to have translated by a coworker. :)

Try to move away from the idea that writing might be an 'out' for a difficult situation. The pressure can lock up the creative process but good, and I speak from personal experience there. LOTS of personal experience.

Also, it takes a long time and a lot of sucky words to start getting published. Yes, there are flukes, but that's exactly what they are. On this forum someone mentioned something like 10,000 hours, and I read it takes 500,000 words of writing practice before the craft and the art start to meld in the technique. Surely, those numbers are not hard facts, but it's a good indiction that it's not the end of the trail just because book one, two, or three still sucks. Each new project makes the failure of the previous one look less disasterous.
Last edited by Margo on October 28th, 2010, 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by TigerGray » October 28th, 2010, 1:23 am

polymath wrote:Ms. serriamcconnell,

The depth of my well of despair is a private matter anymore, otherwise I'd share the litany of my many troubles, though I once wanted others to share in my miseries. Misery loves company, but good company soon departs from misery. I learned that lesson the hard way. Anymore, my life is much more pleasant from developing healthier coping strategies and reestablishing encouraging and supporting relationships.

I actually agree.

However: "It's not a good practice to stir up a scorched pot. Leaves a burnt aftertaste."
"Who knows themselves better than the blind?' - for every thought becomes a tool." --Luis Borges

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

Post by sbs_mjc1 » October 28th, 2010, 5:31 am

J. T. SHEA wrote:And readers often skim and miss things. Even with books they love.
Truth.
There can be a lot of factors in someone not liking your work-- personal taste, being in a bad mood (I know I give harsher critiques if I'm, say, having a bad day at work), cultural differences...You can look up lots of works of ''great literature'' and find that many of them had a strong contingent of haters in their day, and some still do.

And at the end of the day, someone's opinion is just that. An opinion. It's your writing, and you can decide if the reader has a point or not.
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Re: How to know you're not a writer?

Post by oldhousejunkie » October 28th, 2010, 9:15 am

Making a living solely from writing is the really hard one, and very very very very very few people can do this. However, writing can still be very fulfilling, even if you're only bringing in enough to pay for the little emergencies of life or the kids' music lessons or the family vacation. In fact, the money I've made so far has been nowhere near as sustaining as finding out a person in a country half the world away not only read and liked the story but then wrote a very nice review...even if it was in a language I had to have translated by a coworker. :)

Try to move away from the idea that writing might be an 'out' for a difficult situation. The pressure can lock up the creative process but good, and I speak from personal experience there. LOTS of personal experience.
Exactly. I can't imagine wanting to depend solely on my writing as a means of support. How many stories have been writtten about published authors who crack and can't deliver because they've already received an advance and just can't deliver? OK, I can only think of one, but there must be some more.

The main point is, Sierra, don't give up. Keep writing. Some people will like your work, and some won't. It's no indication of your abilities. Think about some of the big authors--Danielle Steele comes to mind. I think she couldn't write herself out of a paper bag, and yet she is perennially a NYT bestseller, so people obviously like her. What Harry Potter? I refuse to read those books (mostly because I have an axe to grind with popular culture, and to be honest, I don't care much for fantasy). But everyone else loves them. In the end, I'm just one person. And if you think about it, that can go for or against you. Against you would be running into that one person on here who doesn't like your style. For you could mean that ONE agent wants to represent you.

It's tough to have someone critique your work. It's your baby for all intents and purposes. But without critique, you can't get better. Pick out the pieces that make sense to you, and throw the rest out, or ask someone else what they think. Better yet, if you put something up for critique, pick one respondant who you most agree with. Take things off the board, hash it out... I remember being overwhelmed with all of the people responding to my query. I kept trying to incorporate everything suggestion, and it was tying me in knots. So I picked one and between us, I hashed out a pretty awesome query. I think the take home is that you can't take every word someone says on here to heart. We're just a sounding board, so don't let us to get to you. :-)

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

Post by saraflower » October 28th, 2010, 11:33 am

Don't stop writing!! Writers write. Try to remember what it was that made you want to sit down and write in the first place. And go from there.

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

Post by dios4vida » October 28th, 2010, 12:36 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:I have neuralgia, migraines (and though most people snort at that, mine are the kind that can knock you out), autonomic dysfunction (if you know what POTS is, it's like that only they refuse to call it anything but borderline since I don't present on tests), and autoimmunity that isn't diagnosed fully yet (they're at the 'wait and poke it with a needle' part).

I have to take a happy drug cocktail everyday that only marginally assists with the symptoms. The stuff that would really help, would make me sleep all day. I can't do that, because I have to work. I'm too proud to go on disability yet, though the brain is getting to the point that I'm probably going to need to.

I can sympathize. Last year the pain was getting so bad I wrote most the book's first draft on hydrocodone or alcohol. (Never both together, I'm not that stupid.) But then the liver gave out and I couldn't do that anymore. XD

Have you gone to a doctor? I have a friend who has EDS and she's in a lot of pain, too.
Hey Sierra, I know I'm coming in with this comment a bit late but it's funny you mentioned EDS because I have that, too. Praise God I don't have the vascular kind, just the hypermobility/super weak joints/freakin' buttloads of pain kind. This July I got fitted for bilateral carbon fiber braces on my knees and this December I'm (hopefully) getting some for my wrists. I have an entire drawer full of braces for my neck, ankles, etc. On top of that I also have migraines like yours and fibromyalgia, which is another "despite-what-people-say-it's-real-and-it-sucks" kind of disease. I finally broke down and applied for disability last year and getting my benefits has been one of the best blessings ever. I'd suggest you go for it. Don't waste your health, save it and savor it!

I wanna encourage you. Some of us, like me and commando, really do understand what it's like to have chronic pain conditions and still try to have a life. Heck, one of my WIPs I call my Vicodin Brain Child because I came up with the concept when I was half-asleep, half-high from Vicodin just trying to survive the drive home from vacation. It's life. It's not fair, sometimes it really sucks, and sometimes we all have to look around and say "how come my sister didn't get this stuff? She's out running 5Ks and hiking with a fabulous job and three kids and I'm here on the couch again because of stupid genetics!" (Notice that came out a bit practiced? I do this all the time.) But then we have to take a deep breath, chug some more meds, and get back on our feet. Struggling through pain and succeeding is much better than struggling through pain and letting it get the best of us.

You can do it, Sierra. Whether you decide you're a writer or not, you can do this thing called life. Take care and if you need a sympathy buddy PM me. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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