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Rant: Non writers live in a dreamworld.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Annoyingkid, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    It's taken me 12 years to master drawing, to learn how to write well, to get a degree and to write and illustrate about 2/3rds of my graphic novel trilogy. These are long stories with high detail.
    I think that is realistic progression.

    Bear in mind I do not live with my mother and I have my own place, so this is'nt about "getting me out of my mother's basement".

    But people in my family love to mock that my art is not pulling in income after so long. They haven't written a thing themselves, don't care to read any of mine, don't know anything about it. That's how they judge worth: income. Be all and end all. My brother proudly claims he has no ideas, my mother considers herself a "songwriter" even though she hasn't sold a single song. So it goes to show the hypocrisy involved.

    She thinks i should quit and work on a masters degree instead. Cos that's right, when something is hard, you quit. Non writers seem to unanimously think they can write a bestseller in a couple of years, only to be shocked that their school education didn't prepare them for writing fiction at all.

    A writer or artist who has yet to break through gets NO respect in this society.
    But when you break through you get all the respect in the world and people want to pretend that they were with you the whole time.

    But if I do make it? I'll remember who my doubters were. And I'll remember the people who supported me.
    and I will have the last laugh. At them. Who ha ha's last, ha ha's best.
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  2. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

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    I hear you there buddy ... I really do. There was a bit of a PR scandal with Josh Groban several years back when some people told him he was lucky/blessed to have such a nice voice and he apparently went off on them saying it was from practicing 8hrs+ each day. He was rude about it but definitely had a point. Society seems to think everything is easy and likes to forget the years of work going on behind closed doors before someone "makes it". As to income, it's a difference in personal values (I suspect). If you're getting something out of it (stress relief, fun, creative expression) its worth it regardless of whether or not it brings any money in.
     
  3. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

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    I am only beginning to write seriously, but I think I can relate to this. I have been drawing/painting continuously since I've been old enough to hold a crayon. I find people all the time expecting to get a feel for it just by going to a class or something, and then knocking me by showing off some trick I don't know, or getting upset when I tell them to "Just put in the colors that fit.", or tell me that balance and tension are meaningless or can be learned on one foot. Even today someone made a jab at me that I spend so much time on my art and am yet to make a penny on it, so it must be a waste of time. Even worse is, "Oh, you're colorblind? Your painting must be worth nothing at all." - after I have spent years getting what skill I have.
    It's not about learning some esoteric trick; it's about making the Art part of you.
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Oh man. So this. It drives me crazy. If you are good then it is because you are "lucky" or "have talent"... not because you worked your ass off. Drives me crazy.

    On the flip side, I have seen writers give up early on because they "just don't have talent." When really all they needed to do was just study some craft and practice, practice, practice.
     
    noob of the north likes this.
  5. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I find the most common reaction i get from those that find out i am a writer and have written things is a quick rendition of all the things they are planning to write, to which i most often think, ‘yeah, but you never will’. I do often wonder why it seems more important to discuss things they will never do than things i have already done. I think people think writing is just easy and when they are ready it will all flow naturally. I hate to burst their bubble but that aint how it goes.
     
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  6. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    You know what the sad part is? Writers in general sort of do this to themselves in a way. When they write artist characters, they rarely show what it's really like. Instead, they perpetuate that Hollywood vision of what it's like to be an artist, that it's somehow this magic gift of talent that lets a person make it instead of just plain hard work.

    Because of this, I think in a way it makes it harder for non-writers to respect the what an artist does, because they don't know or think that it's hard work.

    I remember watching this Stephen King movie, the Dark Half where the main character is writer on his way to writing his first novel. There's a scene where he shows his wife the first 10 pages and she starts to praise him for it, telling him how awesome the whole book will be, just based on friggen 10 pages. Ten pages is around 2500 words. That's like one chapter.

    Most writers can do that in one day. It's not some sort of magical feat. Plus rarely is the first draft all that good. This paints the picture that writers get right on the first try. No editing/work needed. It just magically comes out perfect. Besides, one good chapter doesn't mean a thing. It's about being able to put all the chapters together into something meaningful as a whole.

    Sadly, I see this all the time when ever a writer character shows up in movie or tv. And most of the time I just sigh.
     
  7. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    But, thats how its like for me, i just wave my brush and unicorns pop out. I dont understand this concept of rewriting, why destroy the beauty of art in its rawest form? Plus i dont make tupoz.
     
  8. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    You have my every sympathy, but probably not for the reasons you think.

    People value different things differently. Some people think money is the measure of all things, some are more focussed on other priorities. That doesn't make either side superior to the other. People are going to have different opinions and values than you in this life and you getting so wound up about them AK is not going to go you any good at all. In fact it might just make your profoundly unhappy in the long term. I think you need to find a way to better handle people disagreeing with you.

    Writing, like acting, is a profession with a tough career path, and where only a small number of the practitioners are successful. There is nothing inherently insulting about people suggesting to you that at some point, your investment might not pay off, and that you might be better off trying something else as a vocation or career path. You don't have to agree with them, you can do what you want, but you should not get so disturbed by people talking about these things with you.

    Part of the problem of respect for writers, and other artists, these days, is that everyone seems to claim they are one, are on the way to being one. Sometimes it seems that everyone with a word processor fancies themselves a writer, and everyone with a digital camera claims to be a photographer, when those vocations really are tough and hard won. We live in a world of posers, wannabes and self focussed individuals with little perspective on what certain vocations really mean and cost. Those people have little humility and shoot their mouths off with attention seeking behaviour far too much. It is no wonder when people become skeptical about certain people's claims when there is so much hot hair and selfies going on out there.

    I have had a totally different experience with non-writers than you have. When I see people speaking to working writers they are usually quite impressed with their accomplishments and quite aware of all the hard, lonely work that goes into it.

    If you want to be a writer, and you want respect for your writing, perhaps a place to start is by respecting non-writers and realizing that writers are not in any way superior to plumbers, or doctors, or carpenters or anything else. All those people work hard too. Understanding that the universe does not rotate around writing and writers, and that others are equally or more worthy than writers are of respect and support would be a darned good place to start. Humility seems undervalued these days.

    A writer or artist who has yet to break through gets NO respect in this society.

    Respect is earned, if you have not accomplished your goals why do you expect to get respect? And that is not unique to writers, nobody who has not accomplished much gets respect in this society. Should society respect you because you say you are trying hard? That's a pretty big ask.

    But if I do make it? I'll remember who my doubters were. And I'll remember the people who supported me.
    and I will have the last laugh. At them. Who ha ha's last, ha ha's best.

    Now that is just some bitter stuff man. Relax, get some perspective. If you do achieve success I would suggest you consider being grateful rather than vengeful when it happens. It will make you happier and healthier in the long run.
     
  9. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Hmm. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered the attitude you’re describing. Probably because I write as a hobby and don’t necessarily expect to make any money from it, much less more than my day job...and in regards to family my mother and my sister both write, so expectations aren’t wildly askew there, and when they talk about their writing process I am all ears. When people figure out that I write or draw, they either want to know what it’s about or want to see some of it, which...a) fantasy concepts are incredibly embarrassing to describe aloud, and b) noooooo. So still a bit of an uncomfortable conversation, but it’s not because of any malice on their part, just curiosity...
     
  10. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    You're correct in that we each have different values. You consider it bitter, I consider it motivating.

    "Respect is earned, if you have not accomplished your goals why do you expect to get respect?"

    Why should I expect to get mocked? In this life we can choose to either respect or mock each other, regardless of what we do.. Which one makes for a better society hm?

    "If you want to be a writer, and you want respect for your writing, perhaps a place to start is by respecting non-writers and realizing that writers are not in any way superior to plumbers, or doctors, or carpenters or anything else. All those people work hard too. Understanding that the universe does not rotate around writing and writers, and that others are equally or more worthy than writers are of respect and support would be a darned good place to start. Humility seems undervalued these days."


    I never said writers were superior. I said non writers sorely underestimate what is involved and therefore undervalue writing and art.
     
  11. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Short of getting laughed at, I've had every response under the sun when people find out I'm an author. It's mainly what I do with my life outside of family responsibilities. Sometimes I tell people, sometimes my family tells people. The only person who truly gives a *** is my husband but as my dutiful, loving other half, he's very supportive and I love him for it. He is understanding of my time to write and the work it takes to run a small book selling business. It took him time to come around but he's my #1 supporter now. My side of the family understands, too, since they've seen me write stories since I was a kid. It's who I am to them.

    Everyone else? I get varied responses. Most people ignore it or comment like my father-in-law "but you're making pennies." If there's one thing I've ever loved doing it's telling stories and I'm fiercely protective over my ability to do this. I do get made fun of sometimes. It hurts. But what can I expect? I know even if one day I end up making a living with my fiction people will still think it's stupid. No respect, like Russ said. Just something I'm used to by now, lol.
     
  12. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    Anyone who takes their shot, be it writer, actor, artist, dancer, musician, whatever, is worthy of respect whether they hit or miss. Because they answered the question of what if, and can live without regrets. People who think money are the measure of all things are entitled to their views. But it's certainly not something I need to become used to, as I am entitled to not associate with them.
     
    TheCatholicCrow likes this.
  13. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    That is a pretty low bar you want to set. Results be damned, here is your blue ribbon for showing up. That can be a very good strategy for helping children develop self esteem and a work ethic, but at some point results have to matter.

    They are your family. If you choose not to associate with them because they don't think enough of the graphic novel trilogy you are working on (but do apparently think you are smart enough to get a masters degree) that is your call. I think it is the wrong one.
     
    Heliotrope and Devor like this.
  14. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Sorry AK, I hope you are not really feeling to as strongly as some of the sentiments written above are sounding. You know, people are people. They don't all have to share your passions to still be people worth hanging with. Family in particular. Its okay, everyone gets annoyed by others at times (maybe a lot of the time) but it passes. I expressed some annoyance above, but truth is, I just observe the behaviors and file it away. Maybe move on to other subjects.
     
  15. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Actually we now know that is it a crappy way of developing kid's self esteem, lol. It was a big push in the 80's but kids know who is good at something and who just showed up and no ribbon changes that. (No attack at you, Russ, because I know you were being tongue in cheek, and really I'm supporting what you are saying). Kids don't get participation ribbons anymore at most elementary schools in my area. Educational research shows the best way to encourage self esteem is to encourage kids to develop skills, and this means pushing them through some uncomfortable learning curves until they get there.

    So that gets to what Russ is saying. Dude, this is a tough business. I've been writing for fifteen years, submitting little shorts and poems to publishers and writing while working on both my Bachelors and Masters in English literature and I have not broken into the game. It takes some serious time and work ethic. Don't even get me started on how hard self pub writers have to work with all their cover designs and marketing stuff. Good grief. I hope Chessie chimes in on that one.

    In other words, don't quit your day job. And don't give up on family because they are not as supportive as you would like them to be. They have your best interest at heart.
     
  16. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Ditto.
     
  17. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I listened to an interview between comedian Marc Maron and actor Bryan Cranston. In this interview, Cranston said that he would been happy if he never got any better roles than the background and commercial roles that he started out with. He said that life wasn't easy, he wasn't make much money, but he was doing what he loved doing. His happiness wasn't the result of where his career was headed but the process of the art he participated in.

    I take that philosophy to all forms of art. Sure, we all have fantasies of becoming the next King or Rowling, but if that's the only reason doing it, then you're never going to be happy. It's the act of creation, the act of making a story, that you've got to love. Will the opportunities arise that will make your stuff popular? That's up to a mixture of looking for opportunities, take advantage of opportunities that arise in front of you, and just plain blind luck. But in the present day all that is in your way of publishing a book is an internet connection (well, unless the repealing of Net Neutrality screws it up), so if you're not happy making art that very little people will see, I'm not sure you deserve to be happy making art that everyone will see.

    That, of course, is about personal happiness and not how others thing of you. But only artists understand artists, as pretentious as that sounds. Personally, everyone I know is just happy that I'm not just wasting my life away, and everyone knew I was on the creative side of things for really long time so no one ever tells me to quit and do something else. I am living with my parents and I am pretty darn poor, but that's because of other contributing factors, mostly my extreme anxiety.
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  18. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Get ready everyone, unpopular views coming this way!

    While it's true that there is value in hard work and that developing your full potential at something takes years of practice, you cannot deny that having Natural Ability for doing something in particular is not only real but also very important. I know that many people are most uncomfortable with the idea that Talent exists and that some people really have it easy, and I can understand those feelings but it's very sad to see so much frustration and bitterness caused by that.

    Sometimes I wonder why many people that I have observed in various places are so hell bent on doing something that they struggle so much with. Then, other times I get my answer: Money. It's true that in this world you are more respected if you have great financial success, and I think that's why numerous people have this belief that if you are not earning money from whatever that you do then it's just not worth it.

    I have often encountered the belief that if you are not into the bookselling industry, you are not a real writer/author. That if you write stories simply for the personal art and pleasure of it, you are just an "amateur" or a "hobbyist" and so on. What if storytelling is my personal nature? What if storytelling is the passion of my life?

    Well, it's a money world after all and I have to deal with those views frequently.

    Some of the greatest works of universal literature were created by those amateurs and hobbyists with a lot of talent and passion, you know. Some of them made little or no money from their works. Other times, fame and wild financial success came to them easily and they get hatred from people that feel great envy of them.

    I think that storytelling should be done because of natural impulse and talent in first place, and for financial reasons in second. I have lost count of how many times I have seen somebody saying "This is a business!" or something like that. Well, selling books is a business indeed and a huge industry as well, that's true. But storytelling by itself is purely a form of art.

    Writing stories and earning money can go holding hands, but they are not the same thing.

    I know that our Mythic Scribes motto is The Art of Fantasy Storytelling and yet many times I see that the site is more about the bookselling industry. No offense to business people around here, it's just that I often feel out of place.

    Just some final words for other Artsy people that may be reading this: If somebody tells you that what you do is not real or not important because money is not involved, or that your natural abilities are not real or whatever, just ignore them and concentrate on doing what you love and enjoy.
     
  19. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    This.

    Every time I see a writer character portrayed in a TV show or movie, I cringe. They flash a stack of what can't be more than about 50 printed pages, and say they have written a novel. Even if they single-spaced their manuscript, they'd have to use a 6-point font to get 1,000 words per page. And these fictional authors sometimes get rejections, but not on par with what happens in real life.
     
    Russ likes this.
  20. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

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    I know. I can't even get someone to commission my artwork when I offer to do it for free, and when I show people my stuff, they say, "oh someone'll buy that", because everyone thinks it's like the better mousetrap - build and they'll come, but it never happens. I haven't made a thread on this forum, but I did on two others, offering to illustrate or do cover art for free, and the only replies I got where "Nice stuff, someone'll take you up on your offer.", and the one mod who told me I was selling something (for free?), pulled my thread and threatened to throw me out of the forum. Even the artists themselves somehow just don't get how hard it is to get your stuff seen.
     
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