1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    From Mold to Gold.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by waitingforzion, Jan 1, 2011.

    Sometimes I want to write professionally, even stories and stuff, but every time I try I get lazy or wind up writing some really lousy stuff. My reading comprehension isn't always that great either, and I usually don't have the energy to digest a whole book. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. What should I do if I want to write well, even well enough to write stories and stuff? I admit that right now I am a very bad writer, but isn't there something I can do to become a great writer?
     
  2. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Depends who you ask. Stephen King believes some people will simply never, ever be able to improve to the point of greatness. Basically that if you had a shot at it, you wouldn't need to ask if it were possible, as you'd already be on track to making it so.

    Most people will say to keep writing, keep practicing, that anything is possible, everyone starts out not knowing much, nobody's first draft is perfect, we all have to learn and grow, even the greats started out rubbish, etc.

    It's up to you what to believe, I suppose.

    Personally, if I was trying to be a plumber, and just wasn't that into it, or no matter how hard I tried always still ended up getting crap all over me... I'd probably just take it as a sign I'm not cut out to be a plumber and try a different trade.

    Of course, some people believe plumbing is all just an art and subjective anyways, so there's no judging whether you're a good plumber or not, and the important thing is to do what you love and hope for success. Those people would keep trying, and keep getting sprayed in crap, most likely.

    For me, after getting covered in crap a few times, I consider doing something new, even if my dream was to become a plumber.

    One thing I believe, though, is that becoming even a competent writer isn't easy, and takes work. And you'll have to become dedicated to the work and effort long before you'll ever know if you're destined for greatness. Basically writers are dedicating themselves to a life time of work and a distinct lifestyle that isn't always comfortable, and all for a very, very slim chance they'll ever 'make it.' If one doesn't put in the work, they'll have no chance at greatness. And if the work already seems too much, or not worth it, then that may be an answer.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every writer and every piece of writing can improve with practice. Same goes for every reader. Force yourself to finish books, write short stories etc.

    I'll never be a great dancer - I lack rhythm, coordination and grace lol But you know what dancing is fun, I love the feel of the music and yes I do improve. Will never succeed on a west end stage but I can go to a Ceildh feel more confidence and have fun.

    If I was practicing being a plumber my repairs to my house would have cost a lot less :)
     
  4. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I don't understand why you'd want to do something you seem to have no motivation for doing. You don't even enjoy consuming the product of writing, books.

    What is the appeal of being a writer?

    Maybe if you identify a couple of reasons it will help with motivation.
     
  5. kaylynwrong
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    kaylynwrong Member

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    I think if your reading comprehension when reading books isn't so great, then your writing won't be good. It sounds like you need to start reading more, but if you don't really like to read, why force yourself to do it.

    You even said that "sometimes" you want to write, but not always, so why do you want to become an author? Is it just because it's something to do, or because you genuinely want to write?
     
  6. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I don't know how you deduced that I don't enjoy reading, or that I have no motivation for writing, when I only said that I do not always have the energy to do so. I suppose then I have no motivation for pizza after I have become full. To read I need energy, and I do enjoy it when I do, but because I am often sad and lethargic I cannot enjoy many things. Surely you cannot expect me to read through a book when I find pleasure in nothing. If motivation is the problem, I cannot succeed in anything. Do you enjoy watching television when you have a migrane?

    I want to write because I'd like to create stories and to communicate better, and I like the poetic sound of words. I'd like to move people reading whatever I write. My problem is that I don't have the discipline or determination, and I feel it's because I always feel so empty and lazy. Of course I could only like such things because I have seen them in other writing, and they affected me likewise to whatever degree I could digest them.
     
  7. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you don't have the energy to read a whole book, then why not try reading short stories instead? Also, you say you like the poetic sound of words so perhaps read some poetry too. This should help with your writing because you need to be a good reader to be a good writer.

    I don't know why you always feel so empty and lazy, but I think if you try and solve this so you don't feel like it so much, then I think that would make you think better and have more determination in improving your writing. You need to practice writing regularly, as well as reading, for it to improve.
     
  8. Pook
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    Pook Member

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    Anything is possible.

    The main area of change I would deal with is the negativity towards yourself.

    Best to read more and in different genres and take it from there.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    despite some opinions to the contrary, 'great' writers are born, not made...

    but 'successful' writers can be 'made'... however, you do have to be a good and constant reader, if you want to be any kind of writer... and you do have to have determination, patience, and the will-power to work hard at it... no one can give you all that and there are no 'tips' on how to 'get' it... you'll either develop it all in yourself, or you won't...
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But he does think that you can improve from competent to good. It's just the jump from lousy to competent, and the jump from good to great, that he doesn't think is possible. (Well, and I assume that "lousy" based on poor education and no experience is different from "lousy" even after working hard; the first no doubt has a chance of being corrected.)

    ChickenFreak
     
  11. J_Jammer
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    J_Jammer Banned

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    You can read shorter books like YA books. Then maybe you can write shorter novels...YAs are shorter.
     
  12. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I was going by what you said in your post. Now, I have no idea is you meant 1% of the time you have no motivation or is it 99%. Your initial post sounded like a person say, "I don't like to read, I don't understand what I read, and I don't car much for writing, so how can I be a writer?" That was confusing for me to read, but now I understand somewhat better.

    I suggest that you not look at "discipline" and "motivation" as magical properties that somehow enter our bodies, but as abilities you have right now. If you break the terms down discipline just means sticking to a routine on a consistent basis and motivation is the reason for sticking to that routine. All of us that have any kind of normal IQ have these abilities, and so do you.

    Doing is half the battle with writing or any other physical or mental challenge. For instance, for years I "wanted" to write a book but did nothing. Then, due to my job, I met hundreds of people who never do what they want and live lives that are the opposite of happy, and yet are fully capable of doing so. On top of that, I began to realize that life has an unpredicatable time limit. I could die before I finish this post or live another forty of fifty years. With that in mind I determned to GET DOWN TO IT!

    My motivation is that I want to be "the real deal" which is a person who does what he says he's going to do. That fights depression in me because if I'm trying, I'm not a loser. My rountine is to write something daily, a lot is great, but if it's a sentence then fine. I'm the same way with physical fitness; I'm at it daily to live and to maintain an appearance that fits my personality and which I can be proud.

    If my story doesn't do it for you, think of the following. All humans alive today are part of an unbroken chain of survivors. You and I are related to people who lived a hundred thousand years ago, and back to the time when humans weren't even human. Our people fought giant animals, ate bugs, invented all types of things, courageously protected friends and family, survived wars and slavery, and were successful enough to keep the next generation alive. All of that's in us, so now look around at our world and tell me you can't do it, whatever it may be.

    I defy you.
     
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  13. Edward G
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    Edward G Banned

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    I was wondering the same thing myself.

    Yeah. I hear you. I always wanted to be a fighter pilot, myself. Never did become one.
     
  14. flanneryohello
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    flanneryohello Member

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    To be a good writer, first and foremost, you need to be a reader. You need to be driven to learn new things every day. You need to be dedicated to the idea of writing and rewriting, editing and revising, even tossing away pages of work if the story demands it. You need to be prepared to accept criticism, even downright mean-spirited feedback, with grace and keep moving on. You need to find something within yourself that will keep you toiling away on a project for hours, days, months, even years on end, with the full knowledge that you may never see adequate financial compensation for all the effort you've put into your work. You need to want it.

    Writing (seriously) is extremely hard work which requires a great deal of motivation. If you're writing simply for the sake of writing, there is nobody to force you to put in the time and effort. That has to come from within. I frequently choose to write over all kinds of other things I would enjoy doing--spend time with family and friends, watch a movie, read a book, mess around online, play a game, etc. To be perfectly honest, if you often lack the energy to read a book (which is a much more passive activity than writing one!), I don't see writing as the activity for you.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that in re anyone...
     
  16. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Possibly the issue of motivation, based on the tone of your second post, falls into the realm of clinical depression or some other mood disorder and professional assistance might be appropriate. Perhaps if you could deal with those issues then you might be able to find joy reading and writing. (though honestly, I write quite a bit and love it, but it is not always a joyful thing; very often it is hard and frustrating.)
     
  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    This sounds like you have issues beyond the craft of reading and writing. If that is the case, I don't think you're going to find the answers you are looking for in a writer's forum.

    I rarely enjoy watching television, both because I find most television programming to be vacuous garbage and because television is a particularly dominating medium, commanding the senses of both sight and sound and leaving little to the imagination. OTOH I love reading because it takes my imagination to all sorts of places and all sorts of times. It doesn't sound as if you love reading, which is what I think Allegro was getting at.

    You keep saying that you feel sad, lethargic, empty and lazy. Have consulted a medical professional about depression? You may want to consider it. OTOH, if depression is not an issue, and you are simply feeling unfulfilled, then my impression from the last segment above is that you don't so much want to write as you want to be "a writer". I agree with mammamaia that great writers are born, not made, but even the great ones have to learn the tools (we will dispense with the voluminous discussions, held elsewhere, about how they go about doing it). She is also correct in saying that anyone can improve how they write over time with work.

    But before you can learn how to write, you need to learn how to read. Writing isn't just telling a story, it is telling one in a way that hold's a reader's interest, that gets the reader to want to invest his or her time to read more. That's the reason we use the language we do and the devices we do. The writer who lets the reader know that behind the door the main character is approaching lies immediate danger and certain doom, does it so that as the main character approaches the door, the reader will cry out, "Don't go there!!" and read on even faster to find out if she does.

    You mentioned that your reading comprehension is not good. That can be improved. Do you want to improve it? Start small and work up from there. Go to your local library and ask the librarian for some suggestions.

    Best of luck.
     
  18. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi wfz
    I wonder if audio books and a dictaphone would help? I mention this because these gadgets seem like less strenuous way of learning the writers' craft.
    There are those that will tell you that the only way to learn is to physically read and write and arguably they have a point. But I think you may find audio books and a dictaphone to be a benefit to you.
    Good luck and I hope your concentration and energy level improve greatly. All the best for 2011. Trilby
     

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