1. King of the Kong
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    King of the Kong New Member

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    I want to become a writer, but...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by King of the Kong, Nov 18, 2008.

    I really want to become a writer when i graduate high school. The job seems great, and fits my lifestyle, and I thrive over thinking of a story to tell. The only thing is that when I write I become so ashamed of my work it really puts me down. I know you guys say just keep writing but it becomes a chore, and I get myself into a bad mood.

    Is this normal for writers, or am I just not meant to be one?
     
  2. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    If writing ever becomes a chore then its time to change something.

    Doing something for a living will change the context of it: it stops being fun and starts being work/a means to pay bills/to support a family/pay for the car/flat/food etc... all of a sudden the fun of thinking up stories is gone. A lot of people that want to be writers have to write a lot of non-fiction to earn a crust and then work on their fiction in their spare time.

    I don't think that it becoming a chore is particularly unusual, but at the same time, I'm not sure that it helps to put so much pressure on yourself and the things you enjoy, which choosing it as a career will inevitably do.

    I don't wish to sound down beat or anything, any dream no matter how big or small is accomplishable, but think about what writing means to you before you decide if a writing 'career' is what you want, or if you want it as a pass time that fills your life all up with happiness.

    I "write" for a living and it kills a little of my soul each time I have to pump out SEO or something *snap*snap on demand that no one really cares about. But at the same time, I've gotta remember that it pays the bills and the good stuff gets done in my spare time.

    You've got to make the decision as to whether you want to sacrifice your love of writing to the corporate/commercial world.

    Anyhoo - Sorry for the length! Hope it helps in some way, shape or form! :p
     
  3. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    The job?

    I wouldn't encourage anyone to consider writing as a job before they're even published. Do it as a pastime, and if you seem to be making money from it, then entertain such ambitious thoughts.

    With that in mind, relax and try to have fun. Writing's just a hobby and hobbies are all about enjoyment, regardless of how good you are at them. Don't let it bother you that your work seems inferior. It invariably does get better with time (so I've heard).

    So no, writing is definitely not the job for you, and neither is it for me or any other beginner. But it can be one of your most profitable pursuits... eventually.
     
  4. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    Actualy, it's often not even profitable for the pro's. People seem to forget that very few people actualy make any money at all with writing. You'd be better of finding a "real" job. I do suggest you keep writing, you'll improve over time. And try not to be to hard on yourself; just post some of your writing on the forums, and let us decide what part of that writing needs improvement.
     
  5. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oops did I say pursuits. I meant pastimes. Yip, totally agree. As they say, don't quit your day job. And that's even if you write like James Patterson (a really rich guy).
     
  6. Puppet121
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    Puppet121 Member

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    Hello, I just wanted to tell you that no matter who you are you can write. Writing is very hard but it's supposed to be fun. Just do it for fun and go with the flow. You might rank up some cash you might not. Most famous writers have jobs. Very few writers are full-time writers. I want you to check out a book I found that might help you get over it in just a few chapters. It has a unique perspective and a true one.

    It's called "The Write Type" by Karen E. Peterson. You don't have to buy it though. Just once you have some time go to your nearest book store/shop and just read it until you want to stop or buy it. It's up to you. But in the first chapter or two it talks about how writer's come up with tons of excuses not to write because they've heard from some good author that doesn't apply to them.

    Another thing is that you might have not found your "time". Some people are night writers, some people are morning writers, and some are just whenever. It really makes you think. It also has some neat exercises you can do with your right and left hand that are humorous. She has your right and left hand talk with each other. Well I don't want to keep going so yea. You'll have to find it yourself.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Agent Moskau
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    Agent Moskau New Member

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    I, personally, am not in it for professional reasons, I just want to write something creative and mind blowing and if it happens that some schlep in a suit wants to buy my words from me, so be it. I didn't pay for them anyway.

    My main problem is that I'm lazy or I just feel confused by all the possible directions I could go and I become overwhelmed. I guess a part of it centers around not thinking it's going to be "good enough" when it's finished, which is something I think all writers at some point have to get past, whether it be by careful strategy or just barreling on through. I'm more of a barreling type. Find the way you best deal with obstacles and apply it to your writing, but I wouldn't suggest giving up just because someone might say you suck. There's always going to be a party pooper or someone that just doesn't care for your style. It's hit and miss all the way, like any creative art.
     
  8. blankdraft
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    blankdraft Member

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    all writers love their work, even through the hard times
     
  9. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Without reading the other replies...

    On the one hand, writing is not meant to be easy. It's quite hard. You have to learn a lot and practice a lot, just like anything else you want to be good at. And most writers do feel discouraged or embarrassed by their own work once in a while; that's normal. Expect lots of frustration and hard work. Don't feel bad if you don't "get" it all at once, because most of us don't. Most of us have been working at this for years, and are STILL working at it.

    On the other hand, you mention writing becoming like a "chore" to you, and that doesn't sound good at all. If it's something you want to do professionally, it has to be something you WANT to be doing for the long haul. It has to be something you love, even when you think it's crap and nobody will ever care for it. Even those of us who get really frustrated with writing still tend to love doing it through the hard times. "Chore" implies boredom and tedium and apathy. If you feel like that, writing really might not be for you. You'll have to think long and hard about it.

    On another note--you really need to learn about how many people manage to make a good living from writing. You'll find it's a very, very small number of people. This is another reason why you should really LOVE writing in order to do it professionally, because you'll probably have to have another job in addition to it, since most people don't earn a full living from writing alone.

    All in all, a lot to think about.
     
  10. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I think your actual writing is secondary to the view of your own writing.

    Till you can overcome the inability to share work AND feel good about it, the idea of becoming a writer is a moot (Thanks Salty) point.

    I would start small, show your work to a dear friend or a family member, and then move onto others that you may not be entirely comfortable with. Thicken your skin, and don’t let sharing your work bring you down.
     
  11. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    My interpretation of your words (in one sentence): "I want to be a writer, but I don't want to work at it."

    Does that sound like a recipe for success in ANYTHING, much less writing?

    I don't mean for this to sound harsh...only meant to be honest...but it sounds to me like you need to go to college after high school where you will mature a bit and come to embrace the relationship between hard work and accomplishment.

    As far as being less than satisfied with your writing, that's normal because most writers are compulsive by nature and compulsives pay close attention to detail.
     
  12. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I write for a local independent paper and in College. I've actually given up writing on my own time. The only time I write is at work and school just because I get frustrated far too easily when I'm trying to write something abstract and it's not sounding like I want it to. I've actually stopped writing songs as well.

    I figure that when I get out of school i'll have the tools to write as well as I'd like. So, until then I'll only write when required.
     
  13. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Before deciding that 'writing will be my career when I graduate from High School' one should take a careful look at what that entails and the odds of being a good enough/successfull enough writer to support oneself on the proceeds of that work.

    I figure you're thinking fiction (as opposed to nonfiction as you mentioned stories).

    I'll stick with fantasy/SF markets since that's what I know the most about. Consider that if you're able to sell, say a short story to an average pro market magazine/ezine (there are 4-5 in that range in fantasy/sf). Starting out, you'll get say 6 cents a word. An average short story is 5000 words. That's $300 before taxes and expenses.

    How fast can you write short fiction that can make the pro markets? The competition is stiff, and sometimes the waiting periods, just for a rejection can be weeks to months or longer. And payment is not immediate upon acceptance.

    Really, however, most writers don't make it on short fiction (if they 'make it'). How long does it take to write a high quality novel that will be accepted by a major publisher (I say this because a small publishing house, I really don't think you can survive on royalties from them...unless you have a long backlist of selling titles). The average advance for a first time novelist is about $5000, maybe more with an excellent agent, but really the average is $5000 (minus the agent's 15%). Then, the author would have to out to start getting royalties on a piece. That may be tricky since most first time author's works do not make a profit for the publisher--let alone earn out their advance.

    How much will you need to live on? Apartment/home, electricty, phone, cable, car, insurance, food, clothing, etc? If on say a hardback novel, you negotiate a 15% royalty rate (just to make things even)...at $25 coverprice, that's about $3.20 per book (before taxes and after paying agent's cut). Simple rent on an apartment at $500 per month = the need to sell 150 novels per month (1800 per year) before taxes to just pay the rent.

    Getting a side job (not a career track one that is part time or not overly skilled) to make ends meets, cuts writing and editing and marketing time, slowing more novels to sell and get on the market....

    I am rambling a bit here, but it is very hard to get a novel published (and many authors who've sold one or more will tell you that's when the real work begins), and to keep it going. Impossible? No.

    But consider getting further education to get a young author established (financially) and supplement income until the writring takes over. Write and submit and improve and see if being a professional fiction writer is a viable option.

    Nothing wrong with dreaming and setting high goals, but also it is wise to set a foundation toward achieving those goals and a safety net should those wings fail on occasion.

    Just my two cents.

    Terry
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    most, if not all successful writers write because it's the only thing they want to do... and they can't NOT write... so it sounds as if you haven't the temperament, the talent, or the passion of one who's 'meant' to be a writer... and i seriously doubt they will just 'appear' suddenly, when you graduate and are in need of some way to earn a living...
     
  15. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course, you could graduate from high school and live with mom & dad until your writing career pays enough to afford that apartment...will your parents support you until you are thirty-seven? If so, will they consider adopting an old aspiring writer? LOL
     
  16. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go read John Scalzi's harsh but honest advice for teen writers. Google it.
     
  17. King of the Kong
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    King of the Kong New Member

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    Wow, I didn't expect to get so many replies.

    When I said it was becoming a "chore" I think I phrased it wrong, because I still love it when I get into it. I'm a real night time writer, but I have to wake up early for school. I have to either stay up later and write for a long time, but be really tired in the morning, or go to bed earlier and not get writing done. It all ends up being writing vs. school. I right now I care about my school more than writing, so I usually end up going to be instead of writing. On top of all that is the load of homework I get which really tires me out, and my social life. So no its not a chore, it just stresses me out knowing that I'm going to be tired in the morning.

    Terry -- Thank you for that long and detailed post, I always enjoy reading them. You said I would have to sell 150 a month for the bare minimum, is that really a lot?

    I'm going to look up John Scalzi right now.

    EDIT: I looked it up but couldn't find anything for the first few searches, can you link it?
     
  18. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    King of the Kong,

    That 150 per month was only to cover the apartment...food, clothing, car, guel, insurance, electricity, cable/satellite/internet/phone, health care, etc...wasn't included.

    The figure of 2% of all novels published selling over 5000 copies, comes to mind. That may answer the question about if 150 per month just to pay the rent (and not yet consider anything else 'books sold' would have to pay for).

    NaCl suggested parents supporting. Possibly a hardworking spouse who shares the dream and is willing to carry the financial load during the lean years--understanding that a writing career may never emerge (the odds of a fiction writing career happening are quite long)...but a good marriage partner is often an elusive target and usually not right there upon graduating from high school.

    And I am happy to read that my posts are of interest and useful!

    Terry
     
  19. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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  20. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's probably the most comprehensive and valuable piece of advice for young aspiring writers that I've ever seen. It expands on the theme offered by TWErvin2. Now, lets hope the young'uns have the attention span to take it all in! LOL

    Good link Marina...no matter what Cog says! LOL
     
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