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Author Topic: Am I serious? Are you?
Wordcaster
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Instead of writing in my spare time this morning, I was on the internet... Anyway, I came across two things:

Dean Wesley Smith in the latest WOTF anthology (okay, this one wasn't the internet; it was on my kindle app on my droid):

quote:
"You have to make your writing a priority... Over the years I have watched many, many, many talented writers talk about wanting to become full-time professional writers, but then I would see them sitting in bars, or talking with friends about a television show, or constantly spending all their extra money on sports equipment or non-writing trips. They would talk one game and act a different one, then wonder why nothing happened with their writing.

Great comment -- and it applies to me (well maybe not the "talented" part). Is this just a hobby or do I have goals? I need to think real hard about this -- because it is a big decision.

Then secondly, I read a somewhat recent interview with Gene Wolfe where he (on the spot) gave his top five pieces of writerly advice:

quote:
1.) Get up early and write.
2.) Read what youíre trying to write, for Godsakes! (Donít read enormous fantasy series if youíre trying to write short stories.)
3.) Remember that it is characterizing that puts your story heads and shoulders over the others in the slush pile.
4.) You do not characterize by telling the reader about the character. You do it by showing the character thinking, speaking and acting in a characteristic way. You simply show it and shut up.
5.)Do not start a story unless you have an ending in mind. You can change the storyís ending if you wish, but you should always have a destination.

What struck me here was number 2. I read very diverse stories and novels -- classics, fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, historical, thriller, horror -- the list goes on... But he makes a good point. Even reading time, while crucial to the writer, is valuable and it should be done in a way that will help the end goal of a writer -- producing the best quality writing that he (she) can write.

Today I will reflect whether or not I am serious about this hobby and what I need to do to make the next steps...


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Crank
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My only comment about...

quote:
...but then I would see them sitting in bars, or talking with friends about a television show, or constantly spending all their extra money on sports equipment or non-writing trips.

...is that the people you meet and places you see and experiences you become apart of during your stints in bars or on 'non-writing' trips have the potential to give you that much more reference material when you finally do get back to your writing. This has been the case for me more times than I can remember. But, just for the record, I get DWS's essential warning: talking about writing should be replaced with actual writing. I'm happy to report that I've cleared that hurdle.

S!
S!


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Robert Nowall
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If all your time and all your thought is consumed by writing, if it's the first thing you think about when you get up and the last thing you think about before you go to bed, if it's all you talk about, if you swing your whole life around so that you write...what will you ever write about?
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Wordcaster
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One of the most prolific authors is Stephen King, and he is (was?) in a rock band. I think DWS's comments can be taken somewhat hyperbolic, but judging from his blog, perhaps he means just what he writes.

Regardless, I believe success requires commitment. Something I have not done to a great enough extent beyond filling a handful of hours a week in my spare time. Brandon Sanderson wrote something like 12 novels before being published. I'll be 90 before I get that far at my current rate. It all depends on what a person's goals are and if it is a few token published works in magazines, then a lower level of commitment will suffice.

[This message has been edited by Wordcaster (edited February 26, 2011).]


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Tiergan
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I think for the most of us, writing does take time. Most will not have their first novel sell, or their second. And if truth be told, most of our first novels probably shouldn't. It takes time for the majority of people to build their craft. And becoming a professional even harder.

Writing a novel is easy for me, even polishing to the point I am satisfied. Query letters are not. Synopsis even harder for me.

My main thoughts are this.

On quote 1)Dedication will get you there quicker I believe. You don't have to write everyday, but the more days you do, the better you get, the faster you get your project and submitted and on to the next. But---while I would love to make a living writing. I can do that when I am sixty and my kids want nothing to do with me. Right now, my family will take precedent. And getting up early or staying up late only works if I am not cranky and taking it out on my loved ones.

On quote 2)
point 1- Getting up early or staying up late only works if I am not cranky and taking it out on my loved ones. But point taking, find what is important in your life. I don't watch movies but rarely anymore, I gave up golf. Why, I would rather spend the 6 hours a weekend with family, which then frees up time for writing.

Point 2 -Yes, read what you want to write. That is why the last 2 weeks my books I have read have been Upper Middle Grade/Ya because my latest novel is resting before edits, and I want to be more familiarized with the genre.

points 3/4 well they seem pretty obvious to me, but I have always liked character driven stories and believe firmly in showing them not telling them.

point 5 - Yes, I have the first scene and the last in my head before I write my novel. They normally come instantly to me. Then, I just need the journey. The destination may be written but the journey is not. And that is where the fun begins.

[This message has been edited by Tiergan (edited February 26, 2011).]


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History
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All good points!
None of which I routinely follow at present.

I consider them as I do (and this may throw you) my advice to those (including myself) who strive to be good Jews. There are a book full of rules to follow (literally). So when someone asks, "Do you keep fully kosher? ...or go to Sabbath services each week? ...or give all you should to those in need?"...the answer is not "No".

It is "Not yet."

This similarly applies, in my humble opinion, to the requirements to be a professional writer given by Mr. Dean Wesley Smith and (the great) Mr. Gene Wolfe above.

"Do you make your writing a priority?"
Not yet. I have patients and partners and a medical practice that need take priority as an occupation. And I have a family, very precious to me; although the wife and I are now empty nesters, and I have thereby achieved more free time to read and write. However, I am better assured of being able to make tuition payments at my current day job than attempting to be a professional writer.

"Do you get up early every day and write?"
Not yet. Some days I do. Though almost never after a night of call.

"Do you make sure you always have an ending in mind before you begin writing?"
Not yet. But I concur I should. I find stories for which I have a fully conceptualized ending act as beacon, guiding the story toward its conclusion. Admittedly, sometimes I think and write, and sometimes I just write.

In any case, I feel no guilt. There will come a day, perhaps as early as three years from now, when I'll work part-time, tuition will be done, and I can then structure my writing time.

As a non-professional unknown writer, I have no deadlines, no editors or agent, and no clamoring public. Just me--though I have family and friends who occasionally push me for more stories and make me feel like a swine for not being more prolific, or more diligent in attempting to get published.
For now, however, I write when inspired and when I can .
And that will do.
Pig.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[This message has been edited by History (edited February 26, 2011).]


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MartinV
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quote:
2.) Read what you're trying to write, for Godsakes! (Don't read enormous fantasy series if you're trying to write short stories.)

Well, I'm in for writing fantasy series but I can't in my right mind start reading anything new. I'm back to George R R Martin because I can't anything that could compare with him. Any suggestions?


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genevive42
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Martin, I have to admit that I haven't read George R.R. yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying Joe Abercrombie's First Law Series. It's epic fantasy but gritty and he doesn't hold back. The characters are quite enjoyable.
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axeminister
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quote:
I think DWS's comments can be taken somewhat hyperbolic,
I believe he's complaining because he sees these same guys in the bar every night. wink wink.

I do have four of five on that list. Altho I read what I'm writing, I don't read much. (time wise)

#4 I'm shot. I have to learn how to do that and lower the percentage of idea down while raising character up. I suppose knowing is half the battle tho...

Good post Wordcaster.

Axe


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Ethereon
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History you make me smile.

I'm also paying tuition, but it's my husband who's the fulltime student.

Maybe writing will become a more serious persuit when my kids are in school and I'm not the only income earner. But for now I'm satisfied with my hobby that occassionally pays.


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Robert Nowall
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I'm waiting to read George Railroad Martin's series when it's finished, assuming it will be someday.

Did Gene Wolfe really use the word "characterizing?" I'm thinking "character" or "characterization" would be closer to what's meant.


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LDWriter2
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I am serious that's one reason I am here. And reading to learn more.

But I don't get up early to write. I do writer early sometimes during a certain time of the year when I have time before I leave for work.

I haven't stayed up that late, even though many times I have been tempted to writer beyond my bed time. But the few times I have written while trying not to fall asleep I end up with some really off the wall gibberish that even I can't understand.

It would be neat to have a career in writing where I could do all these wonderful ideas I keep getting not to mention having people read my stuff while at the same time getting paid for it.


And with Wolfe of course he made up a word he's a writer, he can do that.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited February 27, 2011).]


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enigmaticuser
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I agreed with the general sentiment of what was said, and like Dr.Bob I think I am not serious "yet."

But one thing stood out to me that I might disagree with. Read what you're wanting to write? I can see that in terms of the format (short, novella, novel etc...), but if we only read the genre we are writing, won't our display of that genre be as limited as what was already out there?

How do you learn to cook new dishes when you spend all your time with the old spices? I say read from all over, and employ it.


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LDWriter2
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I think I understand the rule about reading what you are writing. Not only are you seeing how it is done but that style is in your brain. It is something for your learning center to think about.

But at the same time, I see these rules as more guidelines than 100 percent, always do it that way rules. In other words don't just read what you writing but make it most of your reading.


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KayTi
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I am serious, but like many serious folk, I balk at the generalizations around what it means to be serious about writing.

I'm serious in that I believe my work should earn money. I believe in the quality of the work I do.

But I don't fit into a nice square box where I wake up early and write 60 minutes a day and finish 4 pages a day and...

Instead, I write intensely, occasionally. I write in bursts of a thousand, two, three words at a time. I write like a maniac some of the time. I think about writing almost all of the time. But I have a complex life with people counting on me for other things, so I have to juggle it all. And it turns out I'm just not one of those drip dribble every day writers. Which is *fine*. But I'm still dang serious. Really.


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micmcd
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I agree with most people here, though I find it odd that I hit 5 out of 5 on the checklist, and yet I still completely fit into the first quote's rather derisive categorization of people who will never be serious.

I have a friend who really wanted to be an actor. She went to school to be a lawyer, got her law degree (from Yale, no less), but after all that decided her real passion was acting. She decided to go all in and quit her firm (public works lawyers, not the crazy rich kind of law firm) and tried to make a living from what parts she could get in plays.

I really admire her for going for it, but at the same time it's just not a level of commitment I could put in. It has taken me three years to near completion of my book, and I'm okay with that. If it sells like Stephen King, sure I'd quit my job and just write full time. I couldn't conceive of actually quitting a very nice job just to gamble on it though; I have other marketable skills that pay immensely more than what I could make writing. The idea of having a conversation with my wife where I tell her she's the only one that's going to have a salary now is another roadblock in the way of me going all in.

I'm confident in my writing, but not so confident that I'd throw away everything else. There are a lot of writers out there. There are plenty of good writers that don't make it, and it would be nothing short of the pinnacle of arrogance for me to assume I'm better than all of them.

Not going "all in" does mean you're less serious as a writer than my friend is as an actor. I think... I'm okay with that. I envy her freedom, but I don't envy her buying health insurance on the individual market, having no income, or scrambling from audition to audition. If the sacrifice is that I'm less likely to ever get published... I'm okay with that. I like rare (and expensive) craft beer, writing software, and watching TV with my wife. I like writing too, but not enough to cut out all the rest of those.

Getting up early and writing every morning is enough for me.


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Robert Nowall
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For about five years or so, about after college till I started work at the post office, my main focus was writing---but, even then, there was never a time I didn't have to earn something, so I can't say I was a Simon-pure writer.

And, since there was no money in writing, and since I also like to eat, and need money to keep doing that, I had to do something that made money. Part-time writing may dull my edge, but I've got to eat, too.

[edited to add a single letter---and this]

[This message has been edited by Robert Nowall (edited March 01, 2011).]


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MAP
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I'm as serious as I can be.

I got little kids who consume a lot of my time, but they are what is most important to me.

I write everyday. Sometimes a lot, sometimes just a few sentences. I think about writing whenever I do mindless tasks. It's the best I can do for now, but my kids won't be little forever.


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shimiqua
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The problem with serious people is that they aren't any fun.

They sound like those serious dieters out there, who only eat carrot sticks for a week and then expect to lose fifty pounds. What happens a week in, when they are starving, and have actually gained 3 ounces?

Being serious about writing to the point that you don't have a life, isn't a good or healthy goal.

I think getting published is a lot like trying to lose fifty pounds. The only way to do it and keep it off, is to do it the healthy way, with moderation.

Make healthy habits which you do consistently, but not religiously. Make healthy choices, like not mindlessly eating foods that you don't really like, and snack instead on things that approach your goal.

I think you can (and should) eat a slice of birthday cake at your child's birthday, or go without exercising when you are sick. But small and steady steps will get you there when you are ready and able to stay there.

~Sheena

[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited March 01, 2011).]


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Brad R Torgersen
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Folks,

It's not about not having a life.

I know Dean well, and have spent hours talking to the man face-to-face. Believe me, he's lived enough life for three people combined. So I hope nobody here is seriously thinking Dean says you have to have no life in order to be a successful commercial fiction writer. Because he's not.

What Dean is saying is that the people who don't make it are the people who never find a way to move writing up to the top of the list. They always find ways to bump writing down the priority scale, assuming they will get to it when it's convenient or when the muse hits or when life is not as chaotic, or they have more time and money, etc.

It was only three years ago I joined this forum as an unpublished writer. Now I'm multi-published and get to sit on panels before packed crowds, talking alongside guys like Dave Wolverton. How did it happen?

I'll tell you how.

In 2005 my wife stuck her finger in my chest and said, you're never going to be a successful writer if you keep making excuses to not do the work. It's been 13 years, bub. What have you got to show for it?

It was a simple conversation, but it woke me up. In 2006 and 2007 I started to slowly change how I structured my time. I also began to work on short fiction again. In 2008 and 2009 I did more of this, every month, and now that I am making money at it, I'm still perpetually trying to find ways to maximize my schedule so that I can get the words in. Because when words = money, your whole paradigm begins to shift. A hobbyist no more.

Dean isn't saying you have to give everything up, and neither am I. But if your writing isn't somewhere in the top 3 on your list of things that absolutely must be accomplished every day, you're drastically reducing your chances of making it. If you keep giving yourself excuses, then that's the dividend you will get in the end. No way around it.

Finally, if you're not investing in some kind of top-shelf writing education, you're also reducing your chances. Scott Card runs workshops. Dave Wolverton runs workshops. Dean Wesley Smith runs workshops. If you're doing science fiction or fantasy, you have the chance to win Writers of the Future and do that workshop too.

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my first ten years trying to get published, was living and writing in a closed box. I never spent the time or money to get out of my box and go talk to actual bestsellers and get the real story on how it's done. My first ever workshop I ever did was in 2009. That same year I won Writers of the Future, and suddenly all kinds of nice things are happening. Coincidence? Nope. I still find ways to do workshops, because learning is eternal. If you're not growing as a writer, you're risking it all.

Okay, enough soap box for me.


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izanobu
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Um... what Brad said.

Do you want to make a living with your writing? If yes, then you have to stop making excuses and WRITE. Writers write. Period.

I have a life. I read 300+ books a year, have a husband, a regular gaming group with my friends, spend plenty of time going to movies or going dancing or hiking or playing video games or other fun things. I've started working out regularly and will likely get back into rockclimbing and snowboarding and horseback riding.

I also write 60,000 words a month or more. Because I put in the time to do it.

Writers write. If you want a career, you have to put in the work. No one just "gets lucky", they work their ass off and good things happen because they are writing and submitting and writing more.

If writing is just a hobby, then sure, write if you feel like it. But don't get mad when the guy coming up the ranks next to you suddenly has tens of thousands of dollars and his/her name everywhere and you still have three token sales.


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Brad R Torgersen
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Kevin J. Anderson made the time to write. He still makes the time to write. He also has a life. And he has millions of dollars he gets to spend living that life, because he made the time.

izanobu is 100% correct. It's not about giving stuff up as much as it's about making sure writing takes precedent and gets done; as a major component of your daily, weekly, and monthly routine. And not just poking around on the same old story. Fresh production. New words.

People flamed me for saying this in 2008 but I stand by it: you will learn FAR more writing fresh prose, than you will "polishing" the same handful of pebbles, over and over and over again.

Wait, didn't I say I was off the soap box?

(jumps down)


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MAP
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quote:
Dean isn't saying you have to give everything up, and neither am I. But if your writing isn't somewhere in the top 3 on your list of things that absolutely must be accomplished every day, you're drastically reducing your chances of making it. If you keep giving yourself excuses, then that's the dividend you will get in the end. No way around it.

I think everyone here is saying this. Somethings have to be more important than writing, like family especially if you have children and working because you need money to live. But no one put other hobbies or TV watching as a priority over writing.

Sometimes I feel that when people say that to get published you have to write, write, write; writing has to be a priority; bla, bla, bla, why should I even try then. Because I have young kids, and they consume massive amounts of my time, and I want to be a good mom who is actively apart of their lives. And I'd rather never get published than have them go on Oprah and tell her how I used to chuck cheerios at them because I couldn't pull myself away from my WIP long enough to feed them.

Sorry, Brad. I didn't mean to pick on you. I think we are really saying the same thing, but the way these things are worded really irk me, like you are not a real writer unless you can crank out 5,000 words a day.

Slow and steady can win the race. Put in the time you can, and you can still get published someday. That is what I believe.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited March 01, 2011).]


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Wordcaster
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I now regret that I omitted "not over your family, but a close second" from DWS's advice on prioritizing writing.

I am actually quite surprise that this post garnished such defensive postures. Publishing is so competitive and there are many people who are willing to put in the time. It's the same thing with sports, with executives at a company, with frankly anything.

You don't need to make writing a priority if you do it merely for enjoyment and don't have great ambitions. You can't be a vice president at a company, publish multiple novels and spend hours on end with your kids. Everyone is free to choose their own path, but I suspect few people have achieved great writing success without making the commitment.


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izanobu
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There are plenty of writers who manage to have careers while balancing family and commitments. Again, I must refer to the Scalzi post on finding the time:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/09/16/writing-find-the-time-or-dont/

As he points out, Jay Lake has a day job, a family, and CANCER, and still writes a lot.

If you want something as your career, you find the time. If you don't find the time, you probably don't want it enough. Which is JUST FINE. Not everyone can be a professional writer, just like not everyone can be a professional singer or artist or athlete. If your goal isn't to do this for a living, then don't stress about it.

If your goal is to make a career of it, then yeah, you need to get serious and see where your priorities are. Otherwise, you'll probably fail.


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Brendan
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If you have read the book Freakonomics, then you would know the similarity between Hollywood and drug gangs. Both industries have a few people at the top earning megabucks, and thousands at the bottom, not making enough from their endeavor to survive. It is the lure of the perceived "success" that keeps the ones at the bottom working for a pittance. It's a dream that works for a few, but inspires many more than it can adequately compensate, which is the essence of a pyramidal scheme. Writing is similar, which has led to the legend of the "struggling or starving writer".

That is why my writing is a hobby. The reality is, while some may get great success, and I cheer the fact that a number here have, the majority won't. I have to ask myself the question - is it fair on my family to spend so much time on writing? Answer - unless I was already moderately successful, then it is not fair to take it beyond hobby level, especially when I could provide for them in a less imaginative (imaginary?) endeavor. For perspective, I have earned more money winning fantasy football competitions, than I have in writing, so until my hobby starts to overtake my earnings elsewhere, I won't take it that seriously. (Having said that, I am all for spending money on this hobby, by self education, attending workshops etc.)

I'll take this one step further. It's fine to say "this is what brought me success. Until I was fully committed to writing I was kidding myself..." It's a whole different thing to say "words = money", because for most of the people that attempt to write, that statement is not true, even if they did commit to it full time. I am not against dreams, and inspiring people to dream, but I am not sure that it is fair to call people to ignore the reality of this business.


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izanobu
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And I think the point here was that if you treat writing like a hobby, it will remain a hobby. That's all.

I treat writing like a business and a profession. Odds are that I'll make a living at it if I keep that up. It's not a lottery or a crap-shoot. Thousands of people make their living writing fiction and I bet most if not all of them treat it like a job and make the time to do it.

words might not = money. But not words WILL = NOT money. No product, no sales.


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Brad R Torgersen
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I think the key here is that even with family responsibilities and other burdens, the ones who are successful are the ones who stick with it and manage to be consistent. Whether that's 5,000 words a day, or 500 words a day. If all a person does is write 500 words a day, in one year they've written 182,500 words, which is two 90,000 word novels. Two novels a year is the minimum production rate recommended by bestsellers like Brandon Sanderson. Not too shabby.

What I see happen all the time is people don't even try to write 500 words a day. They let weeks or even months go by without putting down a single word. I know this because I used to do this too. Heck, I'm still catching myself doing it all the time. It's natural. Life is work, and when you're tired and the kids are cranky and your spouse is cranky and the boss is cranky and you have fifty different things demanding your attention, it's the easiest thing in the world to say, "Screw it, I can put the writing off."

Problem is, a majority of writers -- even the very talented -- allow this pattern to continue until they've procrastinated and excused themselves right out of the game. Ergo, most people who give up on writing never really wrote at professional consistency levels to begin with. They dabbled a bit, maybe even sold some stuff, then got busy with other things or declared the project hopelessly too difficult, and walked away.

As izanobu says, no shame in walking away if writing doesn't burn in your soul. In fact I'd encourage anyone for whom writing does not burn in the soul, to consider if it's worth it or not to put in the time. But then, I'm not speaking to this sector of Hatrack. I'm speaking to the ones for whom it burns. If you have the fire in your soul for writing, and cannot imagine not writing, and you think it would be awesome to get paid to write your fiction, I think you owe it to yourself to stop schmutzing around and hemming and hawing and making excuses.

Again, 500 words a day. Every day. Two novels a year. Professional production rate, right there. It doesn't have to be huge amounts all the time. Just 500 words. Unless you're an endless polisher -- which is a whole other Oprah -- you ought to be able to find the time to write 500 words. The trick is to give up on waiting for the mood. Mood writers will almost always remain hobbyists. Professionals learn to write when they feel least like doing so.


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Brad R Torgersen
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Brendan, in our new world of publishing, with electronic direct-to-market distribution, anyone can make money if they're halfway good at their craft and know how to put stuff on-line. In addition to the phenoms like Hocking, there is also the fact that even writers who are not well known can make a significant amount by developing what I call the micro-audience: a select group of several hundred to several thousand readers who will happily plunk down a buck or two every time that writer puts a new piece of work on the market.

Does writing work on the "Star System" you described? Yes. But this is true of the entire entertainment industry, from movies to television to sports to writing, and so forth. It's inescapable. And just because it's long odds of being a millionaire mega-star writer, doesn't mean people should hang their heads and cry or give up or console themselves that it's OK to be a hobbyist or fan fiction writer because nobody ever makes money anyway. Last year I made a couple thousand bucks on my writing, and I'm just clearing my throat. This year I stand to make a good deal more.

Is luck part of it? Yes. But as Kevin Anderson says, you make your own luck by being hard-working, prolific, and making sure you're putting yourself out there for the "luck" to find you. Every top-selling writer working today spent years and years trudging along as an unknown. Nobody explodes onto the bestseller lists instantly or without lots of prior work, much of it in the shadows or without significant pay or recognition.

Imagine if John Grisham or Nora Roberts said, nah, I won't take my writing seriously because the odds suck and I can't take it. Wow. Or Rowling. Imagine J.K. Rowling saying, nah, the odds are too tough, I will just write in my spare time and not send any of these wizard books to a publisher.

Again, the successful are self-selecting because they find a way to keep producing and put their work out there, and somehow the "luck" finds them.

Likewise, the unsuccessful are also self-selecting because they never put themselves our there and they never even give themselves a chance for the luck to strike. Because they let the odds and the fear talk them off the high-dive.


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Brad R Torgersen
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My apologies to the group if I seem to have my hackles up, because the honest truth is, I do have my hackles up.

izanobu and I just spent the weekend in a room with 40+ writers, and between all of us we had probably 1,000 published short stories and perhaps as many as 400 published novels. Out of that bunch, I'd wager none of you would recognize a single name.

Clearly, you don't have to be a mega-superstar for your writing to become both financially lucrative as well as creatively rewarding. All of those people in that room, we love what we do and none of us could ever imagine doing anything else, whether we were full-time writers or part time writers.

I spend time with a group like that, I get fired up!

Which is why I have a bad knee-jerk reaction if it seems like someone is trying to defend something that sounds to me like an excuse. Sorry.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

If you have read the book Freakonomics, then you would know the similarity between Hollywood and drug gangs. Both industries have a few people at the top earning megabucks, and thousands at the bottom, not making enough from their endeavor to survive. It is the lure of the perceived "success" that keeps the ones at the bottom working for a pittance. It's a dream that works for a few, but inspires many more than it can adequately compensate, which is the essence of a pyramidal scheme. Writing is similar, which has led to the legend of the "struggling or starving writer".
That is why my writing is a hobby.

A couple of hatrackers have already responded to this--they did it well-- but after letting the back of my mind think on it all day I decided to add something.

I think it depends on what your goal is. If your dream is to be like Rowling and Koontz, King than yes it will be very hard and you will have a large chance of failure. But if you want to be a pro meaning you get paid for "writing lies" but not necessarily being able to quit your job than there is a very good chance you will make it. Yes, not every dream comes true but if you put in the effort and fight for it there is a good chance you will make it. There are those who have made it who say if you work hard at this one, your dream will be fulfilled eventually.

Personally I never dreamed of being a huge bestseller. But at the same time I thought I would be able to quit my job some day. Or be able to find a part time job. I had a daydream about working as a radio DJ four hours a weekday and writing the other four--probably more like eight hours of writing. Or that when I retire I would sell one to five books a year along with two to ten stories to help supplement my retirement.

Now even though part of me wonders about that I still push on, I know I can write stories people will like to read and I know I can learn.

But in this field there are always people slipping out of it for one reason or another and publishers are always looking for new talent. And with the Changes happening in publishing, it makes it both harder and easier to fulfill the dream. Even if your dream is to become the next Rowlings.


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Robert Nowall
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The implication of "spending time with a group" as the path to success in writing, is that it's the connections made---not the intrinsic worth of the writing itself---that makes for success.

On writing vs. rewriting...I've done both, and neither has made much difference in terms of success. But neither is "correct" in the sense that you have to do one or the other. Guys like Heinlein and Asimov bragged about how little rewriting they actually did. But Tolkien wrote through version after version of "The Lord of the Rings" and there's the story of James Joyce inserting a comma at the beginning of an eight-hour writing session, at the end of which, he removed the comma. (Closer to home, Dean Koontz once talked of taking one of his novels through seven or eight drafts---before word processing.)

I think five hundred original words a day is an admirable goal---but I'm not obligated to make this goal to be a success. And, without an investigation, will the eventual reader know the difference?


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KayTi
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quote:
Because I have young kids, and they consume massive amounts of my time, and I want to be a good mom who is actively apart of their lives.

Just wanted to give a little working/writing/mom love. Being a mom is a really important job. The kids really benefit from all we do. But when they are small it's very brain-sucking work (just how many times do I have to tell Junior here that hitting his baby sister with Thomas the Tank Engine is Not Appropriate Behavior In Our House?) But on the flip side, there is IMMENSE creativity required in parenting, as any mother who has escaped the grocery store without buying the entire contents of the candy traps at the checkout desk can attest to. "How many green things can you count? Show me your toes. Show me your nose! What's that letter? What should we have for dinner? Let's sing Wheels on the Bus!" -- and now those of you who don't have children might better understand the slightly insane glint in our eyes as we exit the grocery store parking lot...

Immense creativity. I'm 100% convinced it has helped me be a better writer.

The most stunningly awesome amazing unbelievable thing that has happened? Context: I decided to start writing as a NY Resolution in 2007 when my youngest was just 3. My now 7 year old writes the most amazing stories, they are *unreal.* She is publishable at age 7 and you just have to believe me that I'm not being overly dramatic. We read stories constantly, we listen to audio books, we tell each other stories, she reads my stories, she is so immersed in the world of storytelling that she naturally tells beautiful stories in her 1st grade assignments. It's honestly astonishing. And when she fills in the little worksheets to tell her classmates about her family, you know what she puts by my name, even though I actually make my career elsewhere?

Author.

So don't for a minute doubt the time you're investing in your children while they are young. It is worth it, and there is time yet. And your creativity is sparked every day. And before long you find yourself writing the stories your children are begging you to write, because they're your biggest fans and you want to please them. <3


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Josephine Kait
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Iím about to embark on a quest. No really. That is how I see it.

I have this little story stewing in my brain, and while Iíve played with it; I have not written it. So hereís my deal. I have an outline that breaks the events in my story down into 13 chapters. I want it to be a novel, but not a long one. Another thread listed 40,000 words as the threshold for novel length. So if I shoot for 3k-4k per chapter that should be about right. I want to write one chapter a week for 13 weeks. (Plus one at the beginning to flesh out the outline, and a couple at the end for editing and writing the other little pieces like a summary/synopsis, cover blurb, and query.) If I write 500 words per day, that would be 3,500 per week. Still sounds about right, with what yaíll have been tossing around. Iím not sure that Iím organized enough to actually write 500 words each day, so Iím just going to shoot for that as an average. Iím planning on treating each chapter as if it is its own short story, much like the old serials. And if I donít get it done for any reason, then Iíll skip it and come back to it in editing. I really donít like the idea of skipping, so that will be added motivation to not miss my weekly ďdeadline.Ē If all goes well I will have it done by Independence Day.

This may end up as one more failed/scrapped plan, or it may end up as a novel. Even then it will be my first so it might not be any good, but then again it might. Wish me luck!

I remember something I heard once about the failure rates of new small businesses. They say only one in ten will make it through the first year. Of those, only one in ten will make it through the first five. But if someone told you that you had a 1:100 chance of winning the lotto, wouldnít you play? The odds only sound daunting if you are willing to be daunted.

Remember, the journeyís the thingÖ
-Jo


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posulliv
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quote:
My now 7 year old writes the most amazing stories, they are *unreal.* She is publishable at age 7 and you just have to believe me that I'm not being overly dramatic. We read stories constantly, we listen to audio books, we tell each other stories, she reads my stories, she is so immersed in the world of storytelling that she naturally tells beautiful stories in her 1st grade assignments. It's honestly astonishing

KayTi, this is so incredibly cool. Maybe it's not fashionable to admit it, but I've always wanted to be a writer to make the world a better place.

Seems like you've already done that. Congratulations. I mean that sincerely.

It almost makes me wish I had kids, but I don't think I'd be up to the job.


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MAP
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KayTi, thank you so much for that. You have no idea how much that meant to me...or maybe you do.

Sounds like you are an awesome mom with awesome kids. Thanks for sharing.

ETA: KayTi you've inspired me to include my kids in my writing. I think tonight instead of reading stories, we will write one together. One that will most definitely never be submitted for publication.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited March 03, 2011).]


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KayTi
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@Pos - that's an admirable aim, fashionable or not. I write because nobody wrote what I wanted to read when I was a young teen girl first discovering science fiction. Nobody wrote about smart girls who were good with tech, they wrote about alien battles and buxom aliens, or some mish-mash therein.

So I've got to write it now. And hey, that's okay. Tomorrow I'm shooting pictures for the cover of my next novel with a teen girl who I have taught writing to, and who has served as a first reader for me. She's an excellent writer, and whenever we see each other the conversation is 98% books and 2% weather and other subjects. And I'm thrilled to write stories for girls like her (and boys, too, but truthfully that slightly geeky but cool but unsure of herself 14 year old girl is who I write for, because I was that girl and I want there to be books out there in the world for her.)

And @MAP - I blogged this subject today (copying my post entirely and augmenting it a bit.) I'd love to connect with you on FB or elsewhere - there are quite a number of us awesome cool mom writers trying to do it all and not do it all poorly. And seriously, there are seasons to motherhood, and they change over time (and each changeover is exciting, terrifying, and bittersweet.) I think we can accept a different pace to our careers, our biggest goal just has to be to keep forward momentum. I'm finally where I want/can/need to give myself a push forward toward pro, via epublishing/indie publishing my own work - but it's taken me years to get here and that's perfectly okay (just as it's okay for the person who puts the pedal to the metal and goes from zero to internet phenom in 4 months, there's space in this new marketplace for ALL of us. We're not competing with each other, we are supporting each other.)


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MAP
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That sounds awesome KayTi.

Is there someway I can contact you privately on your blog since both you and I don't have our e-mail addresses available?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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MAP, please check the email address you used when you joined Hatrack. I sent you KayTi's contact information at that email address.

If, as happens, you no longer have access to that email address, please email me, and I can get the two of you together.


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MAP
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Thanks KDW. You are awesome!
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