1. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which kind of writer are you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jazzabel, Jan 19, 2012.

    Essentially, there are two types of writers - the ones who studied creative writing in some form and took it as a career path fairly early on, and then there is everyone else. Whether writing is just a hobby or a change of career, some people find themselves some years down the road deciding to write.

    Being an aspiring writer with a non-writing career already behind me, I often wondered about whether this is a disadvantage.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated! :)
     
  2. Jared King
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    Jared King Member

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    I think I fall somewhere in the middle. In school I always loved creative writing and did it often, and I read a lot as well. Its only been in the last few years (I'm 23 now) that I've really thought about pursuing writing as a career. I've never taken any courses specifically for creative writing but I do think that my interest in it early on did give me some advantages at least in terms of opening up my mind and helping me think creatively.
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    23, that's so young :) You still have time to pursue it as your only career if you want, instead of having to study something completely unrelated, and then work in such a job. That tends to make things difficult later on, with bills to pay and stuff, it is much harder to find time for a serious writing project.
     
  4. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Uhm, neither. I don't plan on making a career out of writing, and it's not a hobby for me. I consider it a real passion of mine. I'm a very artistic person, and writing is the artistic outlet that I use. It's not just a "hobby" for me. Collecting pennies is just a "hobby" of mine, and maintaining a garden is just a "hobby" of mine. If I stopped collecting pennies or if all my plants died, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. If I couldn't write anymore (I say 'couldn't' because I don't see myself just stopping) then I would be seriously unhappy. I've been writing my entire life. It just makes me happy. Telling stories makes me happy.:) So, I guess I don't fit into either of your categories, but I think it's hard to label or categorize the arts. Like you'll download a song and it'll say "pop" in the genre, but you might consider it "techno" or "alternative."
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    But isn't it frustrating to be so passionate about it and yet have no ambition to turn it into a career?
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a bit in between, too. I've been writing since I was in first grade or so, with varying degrees of seriousness, but I never really stopped. I guess I always had the ambition to write. I received my first rejection letter when I was fourteen.

    But I studied engineering in university, and have worked for more than twenty-five years in engineering jobs. I'm fifty now, and I'm trying, at last, to get out of engineering and into writing as a full-time thing. I have a lot of stories I want to tell, and I want to tell them right.
     
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  7. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I write non-fiction (art writing, critical theory, that sorta stuff) professionally, after studying English Lit and Art History at university. I don't know whether I actively chose it as a career pathway, but it's certainly been the one skill that's opened the most doors for me. Writing fiction and poetry is more of a hobby, but the two overlap quite often.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Awww, have they no heart??! :D

    That is so exciting! With years comes experience and better understanding of human nature, and that makes a good story. If you can manage to do it, it think it will be great :)
     
  9. jonsnana
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    jonsnana Member

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    I have been in the military, a surgical technician, back to school, raise a family, back to school, now a pharmacist...always a writer. Maybe someday I'll settle down and have the discipline to just do the writing full time and hope that it will pay the bills but, mostly, I write because it is something I am compelled to do. My other jobs introduce me to experiences and people that enrich the backgrounds of my worlds.
     
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  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's really interesting! I have written lots of non-fiction, essays, case reports and so on, and I find it so much easier to write those because they sort of rely on following the structure, knowing your subject well and having a opinion (something I never lacked :D). With fiction, I feel like I'm on my own, needing to build the story from scratch, if that makes any sense?
     
  11. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh wow, that's amazing! I really do hope you manage to do it, you'd have so many stories to tell :) It sucks sometimes, this whole money thing, bills and such... There isn't a lot of money in writing until one becomes successful, and not many people can afford to just sit and wait for that moment.
     
  12. i'Tellaedhel
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    i'Tellaedhel Member

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    I can proudly say that I fit into an "everyone else" category. I never had any writing experience, in fact, I never wrote an essay during my elementary, middle and high school. However, I got into writing after reading some fairly poor pieces and realizing that the words I place on the white sheet make more sense. Well, in my amateur opinion. It just feels right to write. I wish I took some writing classes, but that won't stop me, and it shouldn't discourage anyone who thinks of doing it.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    That's not really my experience...writing about contemporary art, there's a lot of pressure to develop a unique style, come up with original ways of structuring work, basically reinvent the wheel every time you write something. It's good generally, since it never gets boring and every piece can be written however you think works best rather than reiterating the same structure every time...I think that would kill me...
     
  14. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Not at all. Why would it be? Just because I'm passionate about something doesn't mean I have to be recognized for it or make money for it. In fact, I hate the idea of making money off of my writing. It feels like I'm extorting my child. If I could afford to make copies of my books and just give them away, I would. A lot of writers want to publish and get famous and honestly, more power to them. I just don't share that same opinion.
     
  15. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    Art for art sake! The very thought! Yeah I feel very similar to this. But I'm stuck with a Kurt Cobain conudrum of really wanting my stuff to reach people, but not let it get destroyed in the process... So for know I write kids stories for my daughter and everything else for myself. It just a really enjoyable experience that I don't want ruined by the stress of sales numbers and critic reviews.

    That being said, getting paid to do what I love....
     
  16. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    I'm not saying it's a bad thing to get paid for doing it. By all means, if you can make something so important to you your job - the more power to you! I've always believed that it's hard to do a job that you don't love, no matter what job it is. It's hard for me to commit to something like a job that I can't enjoy. I have a girlfriend that I think is going to publish one day, and be very successful. She's always wanted to publish her work, and she's completely confident that it's the right path for her. I support her completely. It's just kind of never been appealing to me, really. It's not that I'm against it (it being making writing your career) it's just never been the right path for me. Writing is a very spiritual, artistic, wonderful, and sometimes personal experience to me. (My mother is a painter and a musician, so I grew up with an appreciation for the arts.) Adding in numbers would stress me out! It wouldn't make it as fun, because stress isn't fun! I joined an AP course and I hated getting red penned and told to do this a certain way and doing that a certain way, because if I don't it'll be wrong and get flunked. I strive to always better myself, but I like to write for enjoyment, not to earn grades or money. I feel like I'm writing for the wrong reasons if for money or grades. All writers are different.

    I'm glad however that you're able to find a happy medium. :) Some people aren't so lucky.
     
  17. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I fall into the everybody else category as well. I've never taken a creative writing class in my life, but I've been reading since I was about three and I simply love books. So for me writing is a passion, and something I would do, was doing, before I got paid. These days having published a few novels, I can say it's really nice to get a few bucks coming in as well, even if it's not enough to give up my day job.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  18. cari_za
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    cari_za Member

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    Definitely more a passionate hobby. My best friend did the other route, she studied English Literature. And it's strange, I write more than she does, but she studied it. She also writes things and gets paid for it, but she never writes her own work. So I found that strange.

    So to respond to your question whether not having studied it and not having it as your career puts you at a disadvantage; yeah, slightly, but that doesn't mean you can't still get there.

    Thanks to the internet you can skip the middle man (university) and still get somewhere. With so much knowledge out there you're able to teach yourself as people who go to university have taught themselves. You can do online courses as well. Additionally you do not have to work in an office environment any more to get a job as a writer, a lot of people now work from their home. You now have the freedom to freelance.

    I reckon it's just going to take more work. The bonus of a university environment is the constant tasks set, the assignments and the educated feedback. The one thing I'm most envious of is the feedback the lecturers give you.

    But, that said, I think it'll be harder to convince someone to let you freelance for them when they have the choice of hiring writers with qualifications under their belt. So you would definitely have to work super hard, even if you don't plan on getting paid for writing and would rather get a novel published. From a business point of view you need to prove that you can produce well written high quality work regularly so they can make money off of you. What any company wants is investments, and they will most likely only invest in something/someone they think can make them as much money as possible. Which would mean regular publishing.
     
  19. Hysteria1987
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    Hysteria1987 Member

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    I'm one of everyone else. I've always had a bit of a thing for writing, but it's only been relatively recently that I've decided to take it seriously. It's a nice creative outlet that I have alongside an otherwise uncreative job (one that I like having, don't get me wrong).

    That said, I'm planning to take some courses now to get better at this. I don't know if I'd ever pursue this as a primary career in the future or not, but for now I'm happy plodding on as I am, and it's good to have the option.
     
  20. Hellchoseme
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    Hellchoseme Member

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    I want to get my work out there, it's just I believe that all art needs to be nurtured to life. I don't expect to be published until I am in my twenties at least.
    Anyway, I've always tried to create stories( Animation, etc.), but I never thought I could write a book or anything of the sort.
    It's as if I'd been going in the right direction the whole time, I'd just been walking backwards.
     
  21. Enerzeal
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    Enerzeal Member

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    For me it's a case of, I need a creative outlet, if I can make something of it fantastic otherwise I will have done something worthwhile.
     
  22. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I've always wanted to be an author. Since I was about 5 or 6 I knew I wanted to write stories and I fantasised about getting them published. But I was also very academic, and wanted to study English lit at uni - I thought that was more useful than studying creative writing, because you learn how to analyse literature, which inevitably helps you create better literature. Then in 6th form I fell in love with classics so I studied classical Greek literature and English Lit in a joint honours degree, but after 2 years I dropped English (I got soooo sick of my English department's obsession with post modernist bullshit!) and just did straight classics. I intended to go into academia and become a professor of classics and write historical novels on the side, but academic burnout struck after 5 years of uni, so I deferred that idea (may go back to it) and got a job to pay the bills. I'm still working in a job I don't particularly enjoy and certainly don't want to do forever, but it's just until I can get published and make a living as a novelist (I have no delusions - getting one novel published is not enough to give up your day job! Maybe 3 or 4 though). But that's all I've ever wanted to do, and I know I've got a shot at it - I have an agent now. Then, if I can make a comfortable living from my historical novels, I will go back and do my PhD. That's the plan - plan, not dream. :)
     
  23. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is pretty much exactly how I feel :D

    Ah, I see, yes that sounds like a much more creative process than what I'm used to. The essays I'm used to are mostly scientific so they aim for original content but the structure is enforced so there is little leeway. I suppose it was still very useful, because it taught me to communicate precisely in my writing, which I find helps :)

    I can definitely relate to this but I think I am too ambitious to just "let it be". I suppose as long as it's not fear of critique that's preventing you, it's fair enough. I mean, it's fair enough either way, of course :)

    Haha, I so know what you mean :D
     
  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't be able to stand being told what to do either. Having a mentor is ok, but these courses can be just teacher enforcing his or her personal preferences.

    It's wonderful that you got published! I hope you hit big time with your next one, it's always nice to be able to concentrate solely on writing :)

    I definitely agree, qualified writers are more reliable especially for various on-demand jobs, like writing a lifestyle column or some such. That's something that doesn't really interest me, I'd rather try to write a really good novel, that's the type writing I prefer. But I see what you mean about them wanting someone who can churn out work at regular intervals, it makes sense.

    That's interesting, let us know how you are getting on with that and whether you find it useful or not.

    This is very nicely said! I think you'll do just fine as a writer :)
     
  25. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sounds like a great plan :) Mind you, I know a girl who just had her first novel picked up, it got immediately contracted to be a trilogy and they are already making a movie based on it. So anything is possible :D

    Not that I' an expert on this, but I feel (and maybe it's just wishful thinking) that the only difference between a good unpublished writer and good published writer, is sheer determination to get published. Because there are plenty of great novels that sat on someone's shelf and never saw the light of day, or if they did, it was long after they were completed, just like there are plenty of crappy novels that get published every day.
     

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