1. hoodwinked
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    hoodwinked Member

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    I've always wanted to be a writer, and I've always been a giver-upper

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by hoodwinked, Jul 29, 2009.

    I don't know exactly how old I was when I decided that I was going to be an author. I don't know what set me off either. Reading was a chore to me when I was little; I could read and read well, but I just didn't like it. I knew, though, that I would be a writer of books that other people read. I probably just woke up one morning and said, "I'm going to be a writer!"

    My first actual story was about a little froggy named Hopper who couldn't hop and had no friends until he met a little girl frog whose name I can't remember. Little she-frog helped Hopper to learn to hop, and together they showed that evil frog bully what was what. Then they lived happily ever after on a lilly pad. Real original, right? It sounded something like this:

    Hopper was sad. Hopper couldn't hop. He was sitting on a log. "Hello" said a girl frog. "Who are you?" said Hopper.

    Etc. I loved that story, and I still do. I hate reading it, but I'm awful proud of it.

    Then I started getting picky. I would write a story, but I would know it just wasn't very good, so then I started trying to figure out how to make myself a better writer. I was probably about ten or twelve then. Probably the worse thing I have ever written (ack, grammar?!) was around that time. I spent a whole page describing the fawn that was to be the main character of my story. One whole typed page. 12 font. No double spacing. I thought lack of description was my problem.

    I don't know how many little stories I'd started but never finished. I would simply lose interest, start another, no big deal. Still, I was going to be an author. No doubt in my mind.

    My first little book with chapters in it was about a girl who loved adventures and running in the woods. Her people were short with big, hairy feet. One day she went into the forest and found a necklace; a special necklace that controlled space and time. But there was an evil shadow that could see everything, and if that shadow passed over her, she was a goner. Yes, it was an awful like Lord of the Rings. I wouldn't admit it at the time though. And yes, I never finished it.

    Then I started doubting myself. I started tackling novels, but never got past the first chapter. "Silly!" I would tell myself, "You're problem is that you have got to plan. Planning is everything; planning keeps your work together and focused." Then I would give up. Believed there was no hope for me to be a writer. A few weeks/months later, I would itch to write again, and off I would go. "Stupid! You're planning too much! Just let it flow, and let the characters decide for themselves where it is they'll take you."

    THEN I started reading books about writing. Suddenly, I would be plumb full of inspiration and I would be confident about my future career as an author. And not just any author! A New York Times Best-Selling Author to boot!! Until I read: "You can tell whose got it and who doesn't."

    He went on to tell that he'll see one person in the coffee shop telling a crowd of people about taking her children to school and everyone'll be excited and interested, but another could tell about her poor grandmother who has been battling a sickness or whatever and everyone is snoring into their coffee cup. The one telling about her children has got it. That it that is needed to be a writer. It. I don't got it.

    I read about it probably two or three years ago, and it's bothered me to no end. I've kept myself from writing because I felt that I didn't have it, so there was no point in trying. Then I would cave in and read more books about writing (oh, by the way, I did begin to love reading), and take more cracks at my different stories and books.

    I still don't think I've got it. I can't hold a crowd while telling a story out my mouth. It's filled with ums and oh-waits and before-thats. But, when I write, and my brain has time to think and edit, it's all so different. Nope, I don't got it, that it that's needed to be an amazing author. But I've got enough to be a writing teacher. And just because I don't have it, doesn't mean I can't improve what I've got. That's why I'm here. I want to work on technique, and getting others' opinions is a good way to learn.

    And yes Cognito, I know posting things for others to review isn't the first thing I should do here. Hehehehe.

    Sorry for the autobiography; I got a little carried away with myself. :redface: I just didn't want to say, "Hi! I'm new here!" Not that it's a bad thing to say or anything.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hello Hoodwinked, Welcome to the Writing Forums.

    Well, I'm not sure who this Cognito character is, but I'll probably tell you something similar, just in case you misread some part of it. :)

    Posting your own work should not be among the very first things you do here. It is worth taking the time to see what other people have done to improve their writing, and see if some of it applies to your writing as well. That is part of why we require members to review other members' work before posting their own for review. On the other hand, there are no restrictions, other than content and copyright rules, on showcasing your work in your member blog.

    Also, be aware that posting a piece of writing on any public site, including this one, will greatly diminish your chances of selling it for publication. Removing the writing later does not alter that fact - once posted, it is irreversibly considered published. So do not post anything more than a small excerpt of any piece you are planning to submit for publication.

    If you haven't explored the site yet, you should probably do so soon. Newcomers often gravitate to the Lounge, the Word Games, or the Review Room, but there is much more to be discovered if you poke in the corners. Remember to check out our FAQ as well, and be sure to read through the forum rules, too, to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Respect for one another is our principal mandate.

    As for the Review Room, new joiners often wonder why we do things a bit differently on this site than on other writing sites. We emphasize constructive critique as a vital writing skill. Training your eye by reviewing other people's work helps you improve your own writing even before you present it for others to see. Therefore, we ask members to review other people's writing before posting work of their own. The Review Room forums on this site, therefore, are true workshops, not just a bulletin board for displaying your work (and on that note, please only post each item for review in one Review Room forum). Also, please use the same thread for all revisions and additional excerpts from the same piece of writing. See this post, Why Write Reviews Before Posting My Work? for more information.

    And while you're looking around, don't forget to check out our Weekly Short Story Contest and Weekly Poetry Contest. They actually run more than one week apiece, but any member may enter, and all members are urged to vote for their favorites.

    Enjoy your stay here, and have fun!
     
  3. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    What an interesting title and story!!! :D It's great to have you here--if you ever feel like giving up, DON'T!!

    Welcome to the forums! =)

    (Having "it" is fascinating......I'm positive I have "it"! =]) I'm sure you do too!
     
  4. Doug J
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    Doug J Active Member

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    Hello Hood,

    OMG - I just looked at your profile - and I would like to scream at you to you relax. "It" is not all it's cracked up to be - at least as you see it. Watch the City Slickers movie - that is what IT really is.

    It's about finding your "it" - it's about at your age having fun exploring if that "it" is sports, or writing, or storytelling, or making sand art, or computer graphics, or, or, or. . .

    I liked your bio - you told it well. Relax. It'll come.
     
  5. hoodwinked
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    hoodwinked Member

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    When people are thirty they look at those who are twenty and tell them they still have time; they're not old. People who're fifty look at those who are thirty and tell them they're still not old; they still have time. And people who are eighty tell those who are fifty, yes, you're getting on in life, but no worries; you still have time, you're still not old. But yet, when I'm fifty, I wouldn't want to look back at the time I had with nothing to show for it. Nope, I'm not fifty. But the same stands for when I turn twenty.

    The world of writing doesn't consider age. So how can I?

    I hang my head in shame. I do love being dramatic. And I know what I said had not much to do with what you said, but I really liked it and didn't have the heart to delete it.
     
  6. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Heya, Hoodwinked

    I just read your bio, and I gotta say. . you are rockin'! It may not seem like it to you, but for a 16yo, you've really got your ___ together. When I was sixteen, I was reading up on philosophy and religion, trying out different hobbies, and generally wasting a lot of time trying to 'find myself.' But you already know what you want to do, and you've taken some major practical steps in getting there. Just carry on the way you have been, identify your problem areas, work on those weaknesses, make them your strengths, and you will be a brilliant writer some day.

    As for It. . . That's just a lame demonic clown from the master of tame horror. . . Don't let It scare you off! Some people do take to certain skillsets much more readily than others. . and I do believe that there is a special subconscious level of understanding that one must achieve to be truly great at something. Some people manage to acquire this (or part of it) passively, while others must expend a good deal of time and energy (perhaps hundreds or thousands of hours of concentrated practice) to get there. But in the end, anyone can get there.

    The most worthwhile thing that I managed to accomplish in my teens was to prove to myself, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that talent can be developed. I did this by choosing to learn the one skill I was singularly least suited for: juggling. If I had a beginning score, it would have been negative one million. Well, the more I messed up, the more I wanted to succeed, and that was pretty much how it all began. You do need a powerful drive to reach that level without the benefit of passive learning.

    If I had to guess, it took about 50-100 hours for me to develop the skill that an average ten-year-old could manage in 30 minutes. . But once I had that taste of success, I couldn't let it go. I redoubled my efforts, video taped myself, analysed every single movement. Each time I made a mistake I would stop and figure out exactly what went wrong, working to counter that error on the next try, and so on, until I was finally able to hammer through every road block. By then, I was pretty slick.;)

    The real breakthrough came on in flashes at first. . I would enter a completely diferent frame of mind where all things juggling made perfect sense, and I could learn a new move on the spot, without having to spend weeks trying to master it. It's like the 'golden moment' that drug users experience. . except it is true clarity.

    I think think that most skillful artists and craftsmen eventually experience a 'golden moment' in an especially great practice session or performance at some point, but it slips away. . and usually remains elusive. In a way, I kinda lucked out, I think. My practice method boosted my self-analysis as much as my juggling, and I was eventually able to recreate that perfect state of mind, and teach myself to enter it at will.

    I've been able to use this, with limited success, to learn the piano, and even aid my writing to some degree. . But there seems to be a very different kind of elevated consciousness for each basic artiscic path. . Different arts use different parts of the brain, so it makes sense to me.:)

    I'm not saying that the golden moment is synonymous with talent. They are two different things: one being a special state of mind, the other a seemingly innate and extraordinary skill that is always present or 'active'. But I do know one thing. . to be capable of experiencing this in the first place, you need to have talent. Whether your talent is hard won from years of serious practice, (simply beating your head against a wall doesn't count as practice) or it radiates from you at the age of five, is irrelevant.

    So. . . there's my painfully long, self-indulgent post of the day. And you thought your bio was long! I don't post this to brag, though. . In a way, juggling was an incredibly epic waste of time, like spending two years of life totally stoned. I spent a ridiculous amount of time practicing. It was only worth it for the lesson I learned in the end, the theory I set out to prove. . Juggling is my greatest pride and shame. lol . . .

    Anyway, I hope you stick around. Definitely keep writing!

    Kas
     
  7. Eva
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    Eva New Member

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    Hi Hoodwinked,

    i'm new here too and like you I tend to give up and I am way, way older than 16 so at least you know what you're doing and can tackle it now. Whereas I am so set in my giving up ways that it's a bit like climbing mount Everest without training properly first. I have so many opening chapters in various notebooks that have never made it to finished chapters that it's ridiculus, but at least I am now quite good at opening chapters...just need to master a full story.

    Kas - I wish I was as dedicated as you at making sure I improve.

    Eva
     
  8. Doug J
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    Doug J Active Member

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    You can't. My point was to live in the moment - let destiny take care of itself - you should be having too much fun and/or work to fret over it. I've done a lot training over the years (oh, really doug? Couldn't tell!) - and I like this phrase that I didn't invent - but I like to reflect on every now and then:

    Sow an act...reap a habit; Sow a habit...reap a character; Sow a character...reap a destiny." It's by somebody named George Dana Boardman (I just googled it) - don't know who he is - but I like the concept of we keep on keeping on. Don't rest; but have some fun along the way.

    Good luck Hood.
     
  9. murphcas
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    murphcas Member

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    Hey! Don't worry, after reading what you wrote I don't think I have IT either (I tell stories the same exact way you do haha) but I'm still striving to be an author cause when I sit and write the stories come out differently from when I try to tell someone a story. Don't worry so much about It, just write. Believe me I also have the issue with starting stories and never finishing them. The story I'm working on now I've been working on for the past two years and I've only been past the first chapter once before I went back and decided to rewrite. Something my creative writing professor told my class to do was to just write and not re-read our stories until they were done. Then put them aside for a day or two or maybe a week and then pick it up again and edit. This is what I'm trying to do.

    I know that if you want to be a writer you'll do it!! Welcome to the forum!
     
  10. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    It?? I am willing to bet "it" has much more to do with finding your own inner writing voice than innate talent.

    BTW welcome to the asylum.
     

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