I pulled an all-nighter last night and it’s made me a little irritable, I think. Right now, I think I look a little like this:
It's oddly difficult to find a picture of Oscar looking grouchy, you know.
Normally, I get this way and I start thinking about things I’ve come across that have honestly bothered me. This is going to be a big one.
The Writer’s Spot made a post recently that detailed how to create your own writing club. I thought it was a great post, considering I had just started working with my local library director to put together my own writing group. Very convenient!
However, a man named Richard, with no link to a blog that I can provide for you, leaves this comment:
“Sorry to rain on your parade, but I think writing clubs are only good if you are going to “play” at writing.
If you want to get serious about writing there’s only one way to do it and that’s to sit down each and every day and WRITE! That’s all there is to it. There’s no easy path. You simply write and write and write. EVERY DAY!
And the feedback and criticism you’re going to get from other amateur writers is, well, amateur in that regards, too.
Want real feedback and criticism? Tailor your writing to a specific market, put it in an envelope with a SASE (self addresses stamped envelope) and send it to a publisher. If it comes back without comment then it either stinks or didn’t fit the market you were aiming for. Read it with your own critical eye and send it off again. And again and again.
If your writing has some merit then the rejection slip might actually have a hand scribbled note of encouragement.
Now, here’s the great part…if what you’ve written is actually good the people you sent it to will send you MONEY. That’s the best feedback of all.
How do I know this to be true? Because I paid the rent, electricity and put food on the table for years doing just what I said above. Eventually I realized writing wasn’t paying enough to buy that boat I wanted and sail off into the sunset on, so I got myself a job as a deckhand on a boat and after putting in the requisite time the Coast Guard requires I got my license and had someone pay me to sail off into the sunset in THEIR boats. And let me tell you, the sunset looks pretty good in Antibes, France, and Marbella, Spain, to mention only a couple of places I’ve been paid to be.”
I understand the opinion, to some degree. But how fucking rude, right!? Maybe he fails to see the benefits of hearing the opinions of peers “amateur” or not. Writers are readers. No exceptions. Have you ever met a writer that didn’t read avidly? No, right? Because how do you get a grasp on how to write a story if you’ve never read one? And in a writing group, you aren’t there to listen to the opinions of writers AS writers, you’re there to hear their opinions as readers. You don’t need a degree in creative writing to be able to tell someone “Your story isn’t popping off the page for me,” or “I’m not connecting with the main character and the sentence structure in the middle of chapter three isn’t flowing very well. Stop tipping back the margaritas while you’re writing,” or something, right?
What works for one writer doesn’t always work for another. A friend of mine is a list-maker. He makes list upon list upon list until he can piece together his plot.
I’m like… what the hell are the lists for? I don’t even think that organized. I throw my ideas on a cluster sheet, and I write freely until I find points that I like. Then I put them into a summary. And the post it notes? Omg, everywhere.
I dunno, man, then this guy goes on some rant about boats and getting paid to sail which has nothing to do with his comment, really. Aside from “I’ve gotten paid for writing AND I’ve gotten paid for sailing!” Um. Woo, man, good for you. What does that have to do with anything? o.O Anyway. There is my rant. Maybe I’m over reacting, but it BOTHERED me, and it’s been on my mind.
This is the part where I make up for it by hugging people. But I’m prickly. I’ll send you all “I’m sorry for being a whine-ass” flowers instead.