For the "losers".

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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polymath
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by polymath » February 3rd, 2011, 12:53 pm

Sometimes what seems a life's calling is a steppingstone to a true calling, without which the true calling would be undiscovered.

I try on things that I might be uniquely able to do best, maybe not the best of the best but in the running. And I know for me to rise above the fray means hard work, blunt self-assessment, and unwavering dedication.

My doubt demon is that pursuing writing will be a steppingstone to some other as yet undiscovered true calling. Never mind, it's just a doubt, one that keeps me on task and optimistic someday I'll acheive satori.

I'd almost gotten there with professional cooking, but fate and my own foolish recklessness took that away. Woodworking, close. Creative writing, an epiphany horizon seems farthest away when it's nearby. Editing, at least it pays some of my way.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 3rd, 2011, 1:05 pm

polymath wrote:Sometimes what seems a life's calling is a steppingstone to a true calling, without which the true calling would be undiscovered.

I try on things that I might be uniquely able to do best, maybe not the best of the best but in the running. And I know for me to rise above the fray means hard work, blunt self-assessment, and unwavering dedication.

My doubt demon is that pursuing writing will be a steppingstone to some other as yet undiscovered true calling. Never mind, it's just a doubt, one that keeps me on task and optimistic someday I'll acheive satori.

I'd almost gotten there with professional cooking, but fate and my own foolish recklessness took that away. Woodworking, close. Creative writing, an epiphany horizon seems farthest away when it's nearby. Editing, at least it pays some of my way.
I've tried sewing clothing. Jewelry making. Woodworking. Doll painting. Dollhouse making. Restoring antiques. Writing. Editing (apparently I scare people away as they simply stop answering, I'm too blunt). I've been a dispatcher, I was told to resign because I had too much heart for the job. I've been in fast food, and I loved it but it doesn't pay the bills. I've been in IT, and I hate it really because I feel like such an idiot and everyone is trying to make me look like I'm some terrible rude person who doesn't know what they're doing. Lemme think...

Yeah...no true calling there. I can't get married. I can't have children (parts are broken). So there goes that.

Hm...that leaves a broken, useless, shouldn't really be here, futureless, purposeless human that really should just get everything over with.

It must be nice, knowing what to do. I certainly don't.

I thought writing was supposed to be it. It was nice telling stories and trying to polish them. I've only been telling them since I was old enough to talk, reading since I could remember, and writing since I was in school. Nothing serious. But it's okay. I'll just try to find something else.

Crap. There is nothing else. I'm a 29 year old dying woman and no one wants to hire me because I'm a 29 year old dying woman with too much experience and education. Well, there is always that dying thing...

/sarcasm

But I'm serious. What else is there to do? Once you graduate they expect you to figure everything out. They forget that all your life they've been telling you where to go and when to pee. What now, when everything else has failed?
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by polymath » February 3rd, 2011, 1:26 pm

Though there are many different kinds of people, there are two kinds in one sense, those who want to be told what to do and those who think for themselves. Of course, they're the extremes of a spectrum. There are areas where we must abide society's laws or suffer unwanted consequences. There are areas where consequences be damned, flank speed ahead. There are areas where only we can think for ourselves all the while some misguided tyrrant is telling us what we must do, though it be against our best judgement. Negotiating those shoals without guidance is running boulder-strewn rapids in a glass canoe.

My advice, because I've been there, make the best of what you've got. Everything esle will take care of itself somehow. My mantra, All that doesn't kill me makes me stronger. If it does kill me, problems unequivocally and irrevocably solved.

My acquaintances who've been in straights similar to ours found their true callings helping themselves come to satisfactory and satisfying accommodations by helping others help themselves navigate their shoals.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Emily J » February 3rd, 2011, 2:45 pm

@sierramcconnell

You know, I can't really say that I know what you're going through, or have been in the same boat (except for the part about writing) but I do think you are being awfully hard on yourself. It sounds like you are demanding that you be the best at everything. It may be cliche to say it, but its true that there is always somebody better, at everything. And to expect yourself to be better than everyone else is setting up a ridiculous standard for yourself.

I mean, when I was a kid, my mother made me try just about every musical instrument out there as she was convinced that I would be a prodigy at something (I proved her wrong). So after I discovered I can't play the violin because the E string hurts my fingers and that I stink at the trumpet because I have the lung capacity of an asthmatic smoker (seriously you should watch me try and run a mile, its laughable) eventually she settled on the piano. Not because of any real talent, but because I had long fingers. Almost twenty years later I still play the piano, and I enjoy it but I realize there are five-year-old kids that could play circles around me let alone people my own age. But, I still play the piano anyway, because of the way it makes me feel, not because I'm so good at it (trust me, I'm sub par at best and I've been playing for two decades).

The same is true of my writing. The only person I compare myself to is me. Has my writing improved since last year? Is this draft better than the one that came before? If I went around comparing myself to all my friends, the people on this forum or god forbid published writers I would be so depressed I wouldn't be able to get out of bed for a week. And that's the point, I write for me, because I love it.

I believe you should seek out and do what makes you happy (whether or not you make any money at it!) rather than just do something because you're good at it. On nearly every standardized test I've ever taken I have scored higher on math and science than english or writing. I even had a hand writing expert tell me that I am incredibly left-brained and must have a career involving math or science. Nope!

Anyway, the point I am trying and probably failing to make, is that you the decision to write or not to write is yours (God gave us free will and all that jazz) and that if writing makes you happy, if it is the ends and not the means, if you think about it going to bed and waking up in the morning, then you should stick with it. Just adjust your expectations and not set that bar so high.

And hang in there! I think we all struggle with feelings of inadequacies or just can't figure out what to do with ourselves.

::hugs::

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 3rd, 2011, 2:49 pm

polymath wrote:Though there are many different kinds of people, there are two kinds in one sense, those who want to be told what to do and those who think for themselves. Of course, they're the extremes of a spectrum. There are areas where we must abide society's laws or suffer unwanted consequences. There are areas where consequences be damned, flank speed ahead. There are areas where only we can think for ourselves all the while some misguided tyrrant is telling us what we must do, though it be against our best judgement. Negotiating those shoals without guidance is running boulder-strewn rapids in a glass canoe.

My advice, because I've been there, make the best of what you've got. Everything esle will take care of itself somehow. My mantra, All that doesn't kill me makes me stronger. If it does kill me, problems unequivocally and irrevocably solved.

My acquaintances who've been in straights similar to ours found their true callings helping themselves come to satisfactory and satisfying accommodations by helping others help themselves navigate their shoals.
I don't have anything really. That's the problem. And apparently my helping others isn't very helpful at all. I've been told I have an attitude problem, I'm too honorable, too truthful, and I care too much.

And wow, I love how anon basically just stuck their tongue out at everyone. How...disrespectful. Sort of a 'screw you and everyone else, LOL' sort of statement. I'm sort of glad I gave up writing. I would hate to be around people like that if that's what authors are.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 3rd, 2011, 2:51 pm

Emily J wrote:I believe you should seek out and do what makes you happy (whether or not you make any money at it!) rather than just do something because you're good at it.
And if nothing makes you happy? What then?
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Emily J » February 3rd, 2011, 3:02 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:
Emily J wrote:I believe you should seek out and do what makes you happy (whether or not you make any money at it!) rather than just do something because you're good at it.
And if nothing makes you happy? What then?
I find it hard to believe that nothing makes you happy. It sounds like you enjoy telling stories in some way, shape, or form. I have a feeling that by setting up crazy expectations for yourself you are sucking the joy out of things that could make you happy and intead focusing on these exaggerated failures. If that makes sense.

But you know yourself better than I do.

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by polymath » February 3rd, 2011, 3:12 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:And wow, I love how anon basically just stuck their tongue out at everyone. How...disrespectful. Sort of a 'screw you and everyone else, LOL' sort of statement. I'm sort of glad I gave up writing. I would hate to be around people like that if that's what authors are.
Empathizing with anonymous, and giving the benefit of doubt, registering a user name with Blogspot is a daunting prospect. What personal motivations for not posting under a factual name I can imagine: fear of rejection, fear of the public spotlight, fear of disapproval, fear of premature personal debut. I suspect anonymous weighed the decision to post anonymously and the pros outweighed the cons. Regardless, the proof is in the pudding. The paragraph's merits stood entirely on their own without an identifying moniker to influence voting. Although I'd like to put a name to the winning paragraph, it doesn't matter to me in any meaningful way.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 3rd, 2011, 3:17 pm

Emily J wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:
Emily J wrote:I believe you should seek out and do what makes you happy (whether or not you make any money at it!) rather than just do something because you're good at it.
And if nothing makes you happy? What then?
I find it hard to believe that nothing makes you happy. It sounds like you enjoy telling stories in some way, shape, or form. I have a feeling that by setting up crazy expectations for yourself you are sucking the joy out of things that could make you happy and intead focusing on these exaggerated failures. If that makes sense.

But you know yourself better than I do.
Nothing makes me happy because how do I have a right to be happy if I'm not succeeding at what I do?

I have to be succeeding at one of the big three:

1. Make a name.
2. Make money.
3. Move up in the world.

And since writing isn't panning out for any of those, I can't do it, I can't use it, and I can't be happy with it. Therefore, nothing makes me happy because I can't do anything sufficiently enough to succeed at it. If you can't succeed at it, you're wasting time. Or at least I am, I don't have that much left.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Margo » February 3rd, 2011, 3:33 pm

I've said before that the tone you take with yourself is, in my opinion, harsh and self-destructive.

Have you considered self-publishing? I suggest this because it removes some of the layers of judgment, layers that might be blocking you not because you're not good enough but because the right person hasn't seen the right sample at the right time while in the right frame of mind. There are many variables outside your control. If you try putting a book or a collection of stories up on the ebook sites, the only level of judgment will be the readers'. From what I can tell, there are readers for everyone. Maybe not a lot, but at least some. Someone out there is bound to like your writing, maybe a lot of someones.

Since you can do all the work yourself, which will take some studying, it need not cost anything. At this point, it doesn't look like you have anything to lose by trying.
sierramcconnell wrote: I have to be succeeding at one of the big three:

1. Make a name.
2. Make money.
3. Move up in the world.
Why? Who says?
Last edited by Margo on February 3rd, 2011, 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by polymath » February 3rd, 2011, 3:34 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:I don't have anything really. That's the problem. And apparently my helping others isn't very helpful at all. I've been told I have an attitude problem, I'm too honorable, too truthful, and I care too much.
Been there, done that most of my life. Attitude adjustment fixed me about the time yet one more of a lifelong series of ongoing existential crises signed and sealed my fate. Misery loved my company, but company shied from my misery, fled like a theater audience from a fire actually. I fixated on harsh realities in too heavy an emphasis and overlooked the importance of a positive attitude for the benefit of building rapport. The first step was accepting I needed help. Then baby steps toward a new and more contented normal. As long as I help myself as much as possible, outside help contributes its timely share.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Cookie » February 3rd, 2011, 4:49 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:
Nothing makes me happy because how do I have a right to be happy if I'm not succeeding at what I do?

I have to be succeeding at one of the big three:

1. Make a name.
2. Make money.
3. Move up in the world.

And since writing isn't panning out for any of those, I can't do it, I can't use it, and I can't be happy with it. Therefore, nothing makes me happy because I can't do anything sufficiently enough to succeed at it. If you can't succeed at it, you're wasting time. Or at least I am, I don't have that much left.
I'm gonna go with Margo on this one. Says who? Success in no way equals happiness. Look at Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Heath Ledger. They were all insanely successful and all committed suicide.
I draw and paint and will never make a future out of it, but that doesn't stop me from doing it. Well, I probably could if I really tried but I'm what you call a selfish artist. I only draw what I want. Someone will ask me for a portrait and it will take me a year and a half to finish it, but I can whip out a landscape in 3 days once I find a picture I like. Oh, and the portrait--I will hate every minute of it. Especially if its an animal portrait. I hate those. I groaned every time my father commissioned one for me(I was a teen at the time). And I find that I'm only good at it when I want to do it. When I'm not in the mood, I kinda suck. I would totally suck at being a professional artist. And sure, there are a million people that are better than me at drawing, painting, sketching, and writing too, but that doesn't stop me. If anything, it will just make me strive to be better.
What I'm trying to say is write for yourself. Write because you enjoy doing it, write because it makes you happy. Don't strive to please others because it will only make you miserable. And don't quite because you don't think it will make you successful. Success is totally overrated.

And stopping because you aren't gonna live much longer, well that's the lamest excuse that I've ever heard. Everyone is going to die, some people just get there a little quicker than others.

Oh, and I don't think you suck.

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Margo » February 3rd, 2011, 5:42 pm

Cookie wrote:Success in no way equals happiness.
I have to underscore this, especially when it comes to public recognition. One of the most satisfying, guiding aspects of my personal life is a part I do not talk about, mostly for personal spiritual reasons. Ego really has to stay out of this part of my life. I don't tell 99% of the people I encounter about this part of my life, which means they cannot be impressed or intrigued by it. They can't marvel at all the work and effort and years that went into it. It doesn't involve making a name. It doesn't involve making me money. And if anything it would probably hurt my social status if more people knew. But it is something that brings me a great deal of peace and a measure of resignation that keeps me steady and determined in other aspects of my life. And of course, after all that, I'm still not going to divulge what it is. For these purposes, it isn't even important what it is. What's important is that it doesn't involve getting something that may be out of my control - fame/respect, wealth, or social status. It doesn't involve other people - just me.

I think you might be looking for validation in places other people have told you to look, places that don't provide true validation even once you reach them.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 3rd, 2011, 6:06 pm

Margo wrote:
Cookie wrote:Success in no way equals happiness.
I have to underscore this, especially when it comes to public recognition. I think you might be looking for validation in places other people have told you to look, places that don't provide true validation even once you reach them.
Where else is validation supposed to come from, if not from other people?
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Margo » February 3rd, 2011, 6:45 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:Where else is validation supposed to come from, if not from other people?
The only lasting sense of validation comes from inside yourself. It's a knowing that no one else can give you. You aren't dependent on someone else for it, so they can't withhold it.

There's an old saying. If that which you seek you do not find within yourself, you will never find it without.

(I had to go look it up, cuz it was driving me crazy. The quote is a loose rendition of one from Epictetus, the Greek stoic.)
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