A simple observation

I have two main passions in life, my writing and my fitness.  I have to admit, I do the fitness thing a lot better than I do the writing thing.  The first thing I want to do in the morning is work out, then I worry about writing, but that’s not the point of this entry.  The main point is gratitude.

Beginners on the path to fitness are looking for any tips that will help them and, for the most part, are willing to try just about anything from anyone.  Tell them you do 400 squats a morning and eat rutabega for breakfast and they’ll try it for a week. ( For the record, no I don’t do either.  I follow high lean protein, high fiber with a mix of strength training and cardio.)  The point is they’re grateful for anything you give them.

Writers on the other hand will out and out attack you for suggesting they change how they do things.  It could be their first day writing and they’ve written 400 hundred words, quite proudly, in crayon, on construction paper and they will throw their box of Crayola at you if you suggest they use paper and pencil.  And it doesn’t matter if you yourself are a beginning writer or a professional writer.  They have their ideas and how dare you threaten them, thank you very much.

Now professional writers are some of the most giving, generous, open people you will find.  They find no greater joy than telling a young writer how to get there.  They want the next generation to succeed because they want the craft to continue.  Simple, right?  Remember the crayons.  Most writers have an idea of how things should be and don’t feel comfortable when that idea is challenged.

Now, this is not to say that all writers are like this.  There are a very few, open-minded individuals and I am blessed to know some.  They drink in the sage’s advice and go in there little corner with their paper and pencil and carefully follow instructions.  Of course, they may find later in their career that they don’t like the advice, or it didn’t work for them, but at least they tried.

I  guess my point is that, for now at least, I’m tired of trying to help.  I am by no means a  professional, but I listen to the professionals and I try to pass on what I learn.  Some people just don’t want to hear it. As it stands, I have decided to ban myself from certain aspirant forums and focus more on my craft.  I will try to post my processes here and maybe, someone, somewhere will find a little success along with me.

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About amandamccarter

I am an aspiring writer. I spend most of my time balancing my work, my personal life and my craft. It is my hope that my craft and my work will one day be the same thing and I can spend more time on my personal life. I live with my boyfriend, my insane fluff ball of a cat, and two snakes. In what little spare time I have, I play video games, read, knit, and help out with the local conventions.
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2 Responses to A simple observation

  1. Amanda, could not have said it better. I think what you and I are both discovering is that the first “bozo filter” is not the agent wall, and it’s not even editors. It’s the writers themselves. People who get so totally locked into certain habits or certain modes of thinking, they positively refuse to accept that professionals — sometimes at a very high level — are doing it precisely the opposite.

    Sacrilege! Lies! Blasphemy!

    As with most people who talk about wanting to be fit — but don’t really want to do the work necessary to become physically lean and conditioned — too many aspirant writers want to reach professional status without actually doing all the daily work that’s necessary to get there. They think every word is golden and everything must be polished to a high glow and nobody can tell them they’re going about it wrong without their having a meltdown.

    I just kind of shake my head and conclude, well, there’s the bozo filter in action. Harsh to say it like that, but it seems true. People who can’t get over the fact that not every word they write is awesome, and that there is in fact no quick, easy road to publication, probably won’t make it. Sooner or later they’ll fatigue on the process, and either retreat to fan fiction, or bow out altogether.

    Take heart. You’re not going to be one of those people. You are driven. This is not a hobby. This is not a pretend dream. This is for real. And you’re going to do what it takes to succeed. Whatever work needs to be done. And if that bothers or frightens some people? Screw them. It’s not your job to make them feel good about their own screwed up myths and belief systems.

  2. Ben-M says:

    It’s great to see someone saying what I’ve been feeling. Not only am I finding it counterproductive to spend hours in these groups, but I regularly see good advice completely ignored while everyone jumps into whatever discussion reinforces their own belief.

    Your post reminds me of a vividly recalled first-grade discussion. The subject: The virtue of pencils vs crayons with respect to whether or not we coloured outside the lines. I don’t remember which side I was on – I probably defended crayons – but the interesting thing isn’t whether or not we used crayons or pencils. It was that we weren’t drawing for ourselves yet – we were just colouring in someone else’s drawing.

    If some good advice simply doesn’t register in someone’s consciousness, then maybe they’re not ready for it. And maybe it’s time for me to find a new writing group.

    Or spend more time writing.

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