Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group Post


It's the first Wednesday and time to post for the IWSG again. I had to make sure I got this one in because I missed last month's in a flaky moment (which I have a lot of).

I've recently finished Stephen King's On Writing book and have just started the book, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Mass. Someone from my writing group lent me both of the books and had actually attended a seminar by the author of the Breakout Novel. I'm about a third of the way into it and it explains how to take your writing to another level.

That leads me to where I am right now, and what I'm feeling insecure about. Writing is essentially an art, like painting, making jewelry, acting, dance. Practice is not only a good idea, but necessary to improve, and it takes time and commitment to be worthy of notice. You are not going to paint a Picasso on your first try and become an overnight success and highly sought after artist. It just doesn't happen that way. The same is true for writing.

But I'm not a patient person, and I don't like to fail.

Stephen King started writing as a child, and had his failures as a teenager, while I am 40 already. By the time I'll be any good I'll be in my grave. I regret waiting to start getting serious about writing, and think of the opportunities I wasted. Plus, even though I have been reassured that I don't need a BA in creative writing to succeed, it certainly seems to help a blank resume to at least have that.

After these reflections, I am still here trying anyway. I've learned a LOT along the way these last two years and am eternally grateful for my husband, whose faith in me is the only reason I feel justified in trying. And for my sister, who cheers me on with her positive and creative input. And of course, for my blogging buddies who faithfully check in on me and give me a boost when I need it.

That's my post- and I'll be seeing you on my rounds!

32 comments:

  1. Rose, I started writing at 50. Age doesn't really matter if you're doing what you feel you are meant to do and are passionate about it and simply can't not do it. Hang in there.
    Karen

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    1. I'm working on that aspect, and I do feel a NEED to write, but I also want justification.

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  2. Oh, you're not too old at all! I published my first book at 45 (last June). There is a great list somewhere of successful writers who published their first book over age 50 (people like James Michener). You have lots of time, so long as you keep at it regularly.

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    1. Thanks! That is encouraging :) and I didn't know that about James Michener. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

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  3. No regrets, Lady! You are in your prime (according to me). You have the life-experiences to make for great stories, the sense to know where to look for help, and the determination to make it happen. :) Can you tell I got serious about writing after 40?

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    1. You've got a point there. When I was young and green, I felt like I had nothing of consequence to say, and that's not true now. Nice to know we have something in common :)

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  4. Ditto, ditto, and ditto -- but that's what the IWSG is all about -- telling it like it is and getting that push to keep moving forward! We know those questions, those doubts, but we are here to cheer you on -- always!

    Cheers to Alex and this wonderful blog hop of inspiration!

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    1. Thanks and cheers back at you and Alex :)

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  5. Hi! Dropping in from the IWSG. I've just read Stephen King's On Writing and I'm writing my third novel - the other two got published without me having read it (On Writing, I mean LOL). What I'm trying to say is, you never stop learning. So...just get down to writing the best story you can. And then do another one once that one's published :-) And each time they'll get better.

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    1. I love the way you think and see things. That's awesome you've had two published already, and thanks for following me :)

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  6. I love the IWSG! Like you, I started writing when I was 40. I'm 43 now and still feel as you do. Some days I think my writing is okay. Some days it even feels great. But there are many days when I have no idea what I'm doing. :-)

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    1. Yeah- I'm right there with you on that one!

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  7. Here from Alex's blog. First of all, I commend you for taking the time to read and learn about the craft. Many aspiring authors do not want to take those steps and unfortunately, it shows in their writing.

    Although my background was mainly in technical writing, i.e.,published my thesis as a book and have written some policy briefs, etc, I quickly learned that fiction is a whole other animal.

    The first draft of my Work-In-Progress contained more holes in the plot than you'd find in a warehouse filled with Swiss cheese. My characters were one-dimensional, and the piece had enough point of view shifts to inflict whiplash on the reader. After discovering my weaknesses, I drowned my sorrows in a few gallons of cookie dough ice cream. Then, I picked myself up and decided to fix my problems. Failure was not an option. I purchased several how-to books, attended work shops and practiced, practiced, practiced. AFter about six months of this, I tried my hand at fiction again. Needless to say, the second draft turned out better than the first, and the third better than the second. The feedback I've received on my latest draft is light years ahead of the the first.

    I'm sure you're wondering why I shared this. In a nutshell, I hope my story shows that hard work and tenacity pays off. I just finished the second half of my novel and for the first time in three years, I'm proud of the draft I produced. Keep at it and the rest will come.

    I really like your blog and am now a follower. Looking forward to getting to know you better.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience and for following me. Fiction is SO much harder than I ever dreamed, but it's true, tenacity does pay off.

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  8. You won't be dead! I wrote a little as a teen, but didn't really pick it up again until about forty. So if I can do it, anyone can!

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    1. That's pretty much the same for me, and that's good to know our timing is similar since you've been so successful. But I'm not sure anyone can do what you did quite as well.

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  9. It is never, ever too late to begin writing. Happy IWSG post day. :) Love King's boon On Writing!

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    1. Seems that way! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  10. I'll echo the "age doesn't matter" message. And those are some great writing books for getting you to think a little deeper about a scene and what you want from it, especially the Maass books.

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    1. I agree. The Breakout Novel has really been making me think a bit deeper about writing in a meaningful way. It'll be interesting if I can figure out how to apply it now!

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  11. Hello Rose! I really enjoyed On Writing. I try not to define things as "opportunities wasted" but as learning opportunities, and moments of trial and error life offers to us. Perhaps you might look back on those periods of time when you weren't writing and find pieces of inspiration for stories, now that you are writing.

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    1. Drawing on life's experiences right? You've got a point about not seeing it as wasted time.

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  12. There really is some value to watching our own progress, because in the arts, I don't know that anyone feels like they have completely arrived. You are improving, honing your craft, and that is something that warrants a bit of pride.

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    1. Interesting thought, and I think you're right about that.

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  13. "By the time I'll be any good I'll be in my grave."

    Remember how I said my hubby "learned" to write? It didn't take him long. And it won't take you long either.

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  14. It's never too late. That's what Grandma Moses would say. :-)

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    1. Ha, ha! I'll just keep chipping away then :)

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  15. I'm in a similar situation as you (the-over-40-writing-thinggie)... I also wonder why I left it so late and often feel pressured to "make up for lost time"... having said that, I'm fortunate in that I am an extremely patient person...
    I've heard a lot of good things about The Breakout Novel. I think I must get a copy asap...
    Keep at it! We can only get better and better!

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    1. I would recommend the Breakout Novel. If anything, it really got me thinking of how I can make what I write better.

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  16. Sometimes people need to reach a certain time or place in their life before they can start the writing journey. At times I’ve wished I had been more serious about my writing at a younger age, but maybe if I had pushed it, I would have ended up hating it. We just never know. What’s important is that you are writing now, doing something you love and you’re good at it! This is your time, your moment to improve your art and take your writing to the next level. It’s never too late. (:

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