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The worst pep talk ever.

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Talespinner View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Talespinner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 2018 at 6:24pm
I refuse to allow writing to "suck". I think writers who tell new writers it's hard work should examine themselves. 

Are they not interested in their topic? Do they not love language, words, etymology? Is research boring? 

Do they like their audience, wish to connect? What's their mission in life? Why do they write? 

Why do they address new writers? Do they understand the power of suggestion?

To make writing fun, I only write stuff that engages me: subjects that arouse my curiosity, characters I love, or love to hate.

Now that's a tall order, especially here at NYCM, writing to prompts. But I've learned that a bit of research always turns up something. 

E.g. one of my prompts was a creamery. It wasn't long before the internet came up with a creamery in New Zealand way back when, owned by a co-operative of farmers who fell out. 

"Aha!" I thought. Conflict = story. And I wrote my very first mystery. Not a great one, but a story, and an MC who will almost certainly return some day...

That's the other part of writing that most definitely doesn't suck. The joy of discovering one can rise to the challenge.

Not to mention the characters who talk to one; who channel their story through their writer... 

Well, that can suck: I host a character who is a kestrel, and when she's annoyed, she flitters around and pecks at my skull--from the inside! 

I insist upon tools that are aesthetically pleasing: nice Parker pens, nice paper, decent word processor. A typing pit surrounded by authoritative dictionaries and thesauruses, a trusted encyclopedia, fine style guides, a book on fonts, favourite reference books; many on a bookshelf my son helped me to make when he was a kid. Comfort movies and background music on demand. 

Some might say, "Too many distractions." I say, "Only for one with neither focus nor commitment; they all have off switches; covers to close."

Throughout my working life (software engineer, management consultant, auditor, guitarist) I've found that if it sucks, something's wrong. 

In my book, only I, not writing, suck--at candies, chocolate, and whisky bottles.

And if my writing sucks, I can fix it, learn, and ask someone to...

... pass the single malt,

Pat


Edited by Talespinner - 15 Nov 2018 at 6:28pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 2018 at 6:30pm
THANK YOU, PAT!!!

Your wish is my command. Beer
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Talespinner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 2018 at 6:32pm
Originally posted by Zelda Zelda wrote:

THANK YOU, PAT!!!

Your wish is my command. Beer
< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_off">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_highcontrast">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_highcontrast_back">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_grayscale">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_grayscale_back">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_invert">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_invert_back">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_invert_grayscale">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_yellow_on_black">< x="0" y="0" width="99999" height="99999" id="hc_extension_yellow_on_black_back">

Be careful what you wish for, Zelda Wink

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GGreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Nov 2018 at 11:34am
Originally posted by Talespinner Talespinner wrote:

I refuse to allow writing to "suck". I think writers who tell new writers it's hard work should examine themselves. 

Are they not interested in their topic? Do they not love language, words, etymology? Is research boring? 

Do they like their audience, wish to connect? What's their mission in life? Why do they write? 

Why do they address new writers? Do they understand the power of suggestion?

To make writing fun, I only write stuff that engages me: subjects that arouse my curiosity, characters I love, or love to hate.

Now that's a tall order, especially here at NYCM, writing to prompts. But I've learned that a bit of research always turns up something. 

E.g. one of my prompts was a creamery. It wasn't long before the internet came up with a creamery in New Zealand way back when, owned by a co-operative of farmers who fell out. 

"Aha!" I thought. Conflict = story. And I wrote my very first mystery. Not a great one, but a story, and an MC who will almost certainly return some day...

That's the other part of writing that most definitely doesn't suck. The joy of discovering one can rise to the challenge.

Not to mention the characters who talk to one; who channel their story through their writer... 

Well, that can suck: I host a character who is a kestrel, and when she's annoyed, she flitters around and pecks at my skull--from the inside! 

I insist upon tools that are aesthetically pleasing: nice Parker pens, nice paper, decent word processor. A typing pit surrounded by authoritative dictionaries and thesauruses, a trusted encyclopedia, fine style guides, a book on fonts, favourite reference books; many on a bookshelf my son helped me to make when he was a kid. Comfort movies and background music on demand. 

Some might say, "Too many distractions." I say, "Only for one with neither focus nor commitment; they all have off switches; covers to close."

Throughout my working life (software engineer, management consultant, auditor, guitarist) I've found that if it sucks, something's wrong. 

In my book, only I, not writing, suck--at candies, chocolate, and whisky bottles.

And if my writing sucks, I can fix it, learn, and ask someone to...

... pass the single malt,

Pat

I LOVE THIS!!! Couldn't agree more. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NellieKendall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Nov 2018 at 3:29am

Originally posted by Talespinner Talespinner wrote:

I refuse to allow writing to "suck". I think writers who tell new writers it's hard work should examine themselves. 

Are they not interested in their topic? Do they not love language, words, etymology? Is research boring? 

Do they like their audience, wish to connect? What's their mission in life? Why do they write? 

Why do they address new writers? Do they understand the power of suggestion?

To make writing fun, I only write stuff that engages me: subjects that arouse my curiosity, characters I love, or love to hate.

Now that's a tall order, especially here at NYCM, writing to prompts. But I've learned that a bit of research always turns up something. 

E.g. one of my prompts was a creamery. It wasn't long before the internet came up with a creamery in New Zealand way back when, owned by a co-operative of farmers who fell out. 

"Aha!" I thought. Conflict = story. And I wrote my very first mystery. Not a great one, but a story, and an MC who will almost certainly return some day...

That's the other part of writing that most definitely doesn't suck. The joy of discovering one can rise to the challenge.

Not to mention the characters who talk to one; who channel their story through their writer... 

Well, that can suck: I host a character who is a kestrel, and when she's annoyed, she flitters around and pecks at my skull--from the inside! 

I insist upon tools that are aesthetically pleasing: nice Parker pens, nice paper, decent word processor. A typing pit surrounded by authoritative dictionaries and thesauruses, a trusted encyclopedia, fine style guides, a book on fonts, favourite reference books; many on a bookshelf my son helped me to make when he was a kid. Comfort movies and background music on demand. 

Some might say, "Too many distractions." I say, "Only for one with neither focus nor commitment; they all have off switches; covers to close."

Throughout my working life (software engineer, management consultant, auditor, guitarist) I've found that if it sucks, something's wrong. 

In my book, only I, not writing, suck--at candies, chocolate, and whisky bottles.

And if my writing sucks, I can fix it, learn, and ask someone to...

... pass the single malt,

Pat

Now this is a pep talk!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2018 at 2:37pm
I still think the pep talk is horrible. I just think it's awful to bandy around the word "suck" ten times, especially considering all the work NaNo does with children. It lacks class and refinement. It shows a distinct lack of character. It proves that unworthy people succeed all the time where the rest of us fail. I don't care if very few people agree with me. I have standards. Yeah, I'm slightly insane right now. I'd rather be insane than trashy and scuzzy and low in character. Dead
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ankh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2018 at 7:52pm
Anyone who has sat down and seriously written a story knows that it is work. They are well aware of the frustrations and humiliations and triumphs and 'a-ha' moments of writing. Most things in life that are worth doing are painstaking work, require an investment of time to hone a craft, and the rewards are hard won. That's fine. I feel like I have a similar relationship to writing as I do towards my job. It's engaging and interesting, and it teaches me things, but I'm not always feeling joy when I'm doing it. I don't want it to be easy, I want it to be compelling.
I thought the pep talk sounded a bit...I don't know... self righteous or something. Or maybe it was for a different audience of people... those who have never written and are a bit naive about just how engaged you have to be.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2018 at 12:29pm
Originally posted by ankh Or maybe it was for a different audience of people... those who have never written and are a bit naive about just how engaged you have to be.<div><div>
</div></div>[/QUOTE ankh Or maybe it was for a different audience of people... those who have never written and are a bit naive about just how engaged you have to be.
[/QUOTE wrote:



The harshest truths I've even seen someone give on writing actually are whenever Mercedes Lackey answers questions about it on Quora as she's clearly been

The harshest truths I've even seen someone give on writing actually are whenever Mercedes Lackey answers questions about it on Quora as she's clearly been doing this long enough she pulls no punches (but while some of the professionals I know are sometimes less blunt, their message is the same.) And it's usually to people who've clearly never tried to write for an audience other than themselves or friends and family, and it's usually along the lines of: there is no writer's block (there isn't), pros don't have time to worry about it, authors don't muse around waiting for inspiration to strike because they have deadlines, ideas are worthless (true-every writer has a thousand ideas a day, the skilled labor is getting it into useful format on paper/screen) so no, no established writer is going to write your idea (ie do all the hard parts) and share credit...We both answered one question at about the same time about whether when authors put aside a finished book to 'let it stew' do they miss the characters and both of us said essentially the same thing--what is this 'putting it aside' you speak of, it's written for a purpose, sent off, and on to the next thing.

All of which sounds mean but is true. People have incredibly romanticized and rather silly views of writing. It's work. Much of it's not fun. The more "indie" you are the less fun it gets as you also have all the layout, design and marketing responsibilities. It takes time and it's not easy or about honing a craft (heck, THAT'S not easy, but when I want a craft I can dither at I oil paint, then I'm not procrastinating, I'm waiting for the glaze to set.) There are always things coming up you think you wouldn't have to deal with but you do. 

A lot of people want to write because they have this Hallmark-movie image of sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike and then pouring out your soul in creative bursts and it's poetic and perfect and the publisher is like "Of course we will publish it and make you rich and famous." If there's one thing NaNo is really good at it's learning you crank stuff out, go back, realize that it's mostly crap, but at least it's on paper, and you're going to have to rewrite, and then you discover no one wants to buy it, or yay they do, but here are the edits you need to make...and now, marketing! It's not any more glamorous than any other job and involves a lot of labor people aren't prepared for. It's like any other job that looks fun on the surface (no, being a cook isn't tons of fun, it's grimy and hot and unrewarding, but at least unlike writing it's a reliable paycheck! No, if you see people in a museum who clearly know their stuff, they probably aren't there for free. They may like their jobs, but it's still a job.)

Some of it's probably born out of frustration, too--especially some of what Misty posts sounds like, frankly, someone who has been working at this career for thirty years and is kind of tired of people assuming it's a cakewalk rather than a job, or having the whole "noble artist in a garret" image where it's all about suffering. No one who's successful during their lifetime does the 'DOING IT FOR THE ARRRRRTT" thing. Professor Greenberg, who teaches the Great Courses on classical music, called this notion out for musicians, pointing out that you can count on the fingers of one hand the pieces Mozart wrote for free, and described negotiating payment  with Beethoven as "trying to take a steak away from a hyena." Art sales are about self-marketing now and even in the good old days, van Gogh wasn't angsting that no one got his vision, he was angsting that he couldn't pay his bills. It gets old when you do something as a career and people come along thinking it's a piece of cake. 
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