speculative visionscience fiction and fantasy

Positive Drive

The place to talk about the craft of writing.

Moderators: Bmat, Qray

    Bookmark and Share
 

Positive Drive

Postby Neurolanis » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:36 am

You know, there are way too many forum sites for writers with a negative attitude. You can be successful at something if you really want. And the 'odds' of getting published aren't so bad once you delete the people who really aren't that serious about getting published (the majority of submissions are not sent correctly) and all the big ego bruised writers caught up in what I call the 'negative vacuum' (unable to get far despite a lot of hard work.)

I recently watched a video where a professor dying of cancer gave his final speech, about life and living (he was co-creator of Electronic Arts.) He was inspiring and encouraging, and said to look at the 'brick wall' as something which is meant to keep other people out, not you; 'you' as someone who deeply, passionately wants to find success and not someone who doesn't. At any rate it is vital for success in any field that you forget the odds, do your best, and believe in yourself.

I am talented and I believe in myself. How about you?
User avatar
Neurolanis
Resident Author
Resident Author
 
Posts: 5268
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:20 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
 

 

Postby RHFay » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:21 am

That's a great attitude to have, Neurolanis. While I am a firm believer in being realistic, I also think a writer must have confidence in his or her work and abilities. If not, it will show in what they write or how they present themselves to editors and agents. A lack of confidence will show.

I, too, have encountered what may be a bit of a "sour grapes" attitude. I've heard a lot of comments about how small presses are meaningless in the greater scheme of things, how only novels will ever get you anywhere, and your chances of rising above slush anyway are often close to nil. It can all be pretty depressing.

I tend to take it all with a grain of salt. I believe there are different levels of success, and different paths to achieving that success. And you never know until you try.
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!" Andrew of Armar.
User avatar
RHFay
Forum Addict
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 732
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:07 pm
Location: Upstate New York
 

 

Postby spknoevl » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:41 pm

I think first and foremost, one should always be writing for the love of the art. The brass ring is pretty elusive, and only a small percentage of writers ever make a living from it.

Keep on plugging away and hopefully success will follow.
spknoevl
Casual Poster
Casual Poster
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:01 am
Location: Dallas, TX
 

 

Postby Neurolanis » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:58 pm

Thanks, RHfay.

I would have agreed, Spknoevl, before I ended up in the adult world, struggling between customer service and factory work, and afraid to commit myself to education in a field of which I feel no passion while my dream would take me in a different direction. So, right about now I am in serious need of serious money earnings from my work. Whether or not it is the case that I am responsible for a writing career happening or not happening, or that it is solely a matter of chance/opportunity, I will follow my destiny.

I wish I had some inside connections, that's half the battle. But I don't, so I have to punch my way in from the outside. One dream I have is to one day, if I reach that level of financial success, to have my own literary magazine where I can publish stories by new writers which are imaginary and different -- not the mainstream, not based on works written by other authors, not formulated but inspired works. This could help gifted people to get careers started. But as of now I am in no place to plan such a thing.

My biggest problem is inspiration. This was never a problem for me in the past. I want to write short stories and try selling some, but I have reached a snag where I just feel ... well I guess this is what they call writer's block. Months have past and nothing comes to me. I sit down to write, and nothing happens. I've never experienced this before. It's very frustrating that now that I have the time to write nothing is coming to me. I feel the motivation which I had previously lacked, but now I lack the inspiration that I've always had. :lol:

Anyway, just talking out loud here. I need to get writing on a regular basis again, somehow.
User avatar
Neurolanis
Resident Author
Resident Author
 
Posts: 5268
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:20 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
 

 

Postby Neurolanis » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:08 pm

But I am thinking, how it would be nice to have a positive environment where writers got together and actually encouraged and inspired each other. Whether here or elsewhere. I don't know. I was always so individual-minded about it. But in not knowing what to write lately, I am feeling a bit desperate..

Maybe I just need patience for now. I've submitted poems to a Canadian publisher and three novel queries to American agents. The waiting is driving me insane. I feel like Jack in "The Shining." :lol: Not that I want to kill people, I just feel soo on edge..
User avatar
Neurolanis
Resident Author
Resident Author
 
Posts: 5268
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:20 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
 

 

Postby spknoevl » Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:25 am

I understand and I spent 20 years working as a professional musician struggling to make ends meet while trying to hit the "big time". Although I had some moderate success and had the opportunity to travel throughout North America, ultimately, the need to support my family effected the choices I made. I wasn't prepared to make some of the personal sacrifices that would have been required to really make it.
I've been working an office job the past 10 years now, and it has allowed me to buy my own recording studio and release my own CD.
I think one has to remove the need for money from the equation to really succeed in an creative field. Otherwise your career choices are often made for the wrong reasons. I understand you have to find a market for your art, but ultimately, you are the one who has to live with it. I write the types of stories that I like to read and I don't really worry too awful much about whether there is a potential market for them or not. Hopefully, there will be, but there are no guarantees in life.
spknoevl
Casual Poster
Casual Poster
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:01 am
Location: Dallas, TX
 

 

Postby RHFay » Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:51 am

Neurolanis wrote:...Maybe I just need patience for now. I've submitted poems to a Canadian publisher and three novel queries to American agents. The waiting is driving me insane. I feel like Jack in "The Shining." :lol: Not that I want to kill people, I just feel soo on edge..


Get used to the wait. And keep in mind a few places never respond to rejections. I've had some poems out there now close to a year. I think I can safely say that the publications I sent those poems to won't be using them.

Patience is indeed a virtue in the publication game - lots of it in large doses!

Another question - how do we measure success in this field, anyway? I think different people have different views. Some consider the only true success to be selling a novel to a major publishing house. Others may be happy with a few short stories to the handful of major markets out there. Still other may measure success not by monetary means, but by number and quality of publications.

Me, right now, I use the last to measure my own personal success. I've met my immediate goals - I have plenty of poems out there at various small press publications, and people are starting to recognise my name. I even recently graduated from the "and many others" category and made the cover (along with several other contributors) of Sounds of the Night. Getting mentioned on a cover can be a big deal - it means that the editor feels your name is known by enough people to influence sales. And, I already have a couple of poems scheduled to appear in two "best of" anthologies (Arcane Whispers: the Best of Sorcerous Signals, and the Sam's Dot anthology Wondrous Web Worlds). Not bad for less than a year's worth of work.

Now, publications typically pay only a token amount for poetry. I actually make more for each piece of art than I do for my poetry. Still, I think poetry is a start. Next I want to work on stories, articles, and more artwork alongside my poetry. My stories may just have a chance of being published, now that people recognise my name.

Of course, it never hurt to reach for the brass ring. It just may take a while.
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!" Andrew of Armar.
User avatar
RHFay
Forum Addict
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 732
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:07 pm
Location: Upstate New York
 

 

Postby Neurolanis » Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:44 pm

I totally agree with that, Spknoevl. I also write the stories that I want to write, the kinds of stories that I’d love to read. Whatever comes comes, I never force it. Just in a bit of a writer’s block lately I guess. That must be exciting having your own CD. I’ve always loved music but never bothered to learn an instrument. Someday I’d love to learn how to play a flute, just for fun. I love the sound of them, very majestic and haunting.

Thanks for the advice, RHFay. I guess the key is to work hard but be patient both at once. Yeah I think poetry can be a helpful way of building your ‘credit’ as a published writer, and I love writing it. Poetry just pours out of me. You don’t need characters, a plot, nothing. Just the way the sunlight reflects off a picture on the wall can inspire a poem, or the way a branch shakes in the air, or the way people walk at night. Anything at all. I find with poems, the less thought the more flow. I’m pleased with my poetry so far, and would love to see it published someday. I am glad to hear of your growing success. Keep it up. 8)

I might ask you something though, RHFay. How important is it to make connections? And if it is important, how might one go about doing it? I’m usually pretty shy, and even when I feel outgoing I had been shy for so long that I don’t always have the greatest social skills yet. I know some people love my manner and attitude, but some people don’t. But that’s probably true for many people. I used to be a character actor, not successful but I got great feedback from directors, actors and audiences. But when I got a taste of professional theatre I backed away. I hated the 'in crowd,' and all that social BS, expected to act and socialize a certain way. Just not me, I’ve always been different. I know the literary 'in crowd' is probably more snotty in some ways, based upon what I’ve heard, but I also know that some major writers have managed to avoid them and focus on their agency, publishers and readers instead. That’s the rout for me. :lol:

I’ve read a number of books about the publishing world and what they think, yet I still don’t know if I have a clear (or fair) perspective. I know they’re executive-minded people who are looking at what’s selling right now and work out a mathematical equation of what they need, and if you get published, sadly, it may have less to do with talent and more to do with having presented to them just the type of story they were looking for. I cannot write ‘what’s hot’ and have no interest in that. I write High Fantasy, as it’s called, with wizards and dragons and so forth. I can be very creative, but the High Fantasy field is what I enjoy. I know that there are a lot of people out there who would love to read my stories, so at the least I know that there is something solid here in that. The publishing world is just a mystery experience still awaiting me to discover, I suppose.

In the meantime I need to try to get my name out there. That’s a little difficult right now because I’m pretty much flat broke.


A person is a success if they get up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.

- Bob Dylan
User avatar
Neurolanis
Resident Author
Resident Author
 
Posts: 5268
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:20 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
 

 

Postby RHFay » Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:26 pm

Wow, Neurolanis, you covered a lot of ground in your latest post. Let me see what I have to say about your various points.

Firstly, poetry is indeed great to get your creative juices flowing. And if poetry just pours out of you, you may want to consider submitting some to various publications. I know you said you submitted some poems to a Canadian publisher, but you should consider "flooding the field", as it were. It's a strategy that has worked for me. At any one time I've got 20-30 (or even more) poems out there awaiting consideration.

If you are interested in pursuing this avenue, there are market listing sites like Duotropes and Ralans that could help you find potential markets for your work. I use them a lot when I am seeking the right market for my various works.

From what I've been told recently by several authors, making connections is very important. One way to make these connections, at least in respect to genre works, is by attending conventions. I haven't yet, but it is something to consider. (I'm rather shy in person, too.)

I also believe that connections (at least preliminary ones) can be made through various writing forums and networking sites. I've got several editors, publishers, and writers as my "mySpace" friends. I have also found new markets like Flashing Swords through forums like SFReader.com. I've chatted with Gary Wassner about writing and publishing here and on ARWZ. It might not necessarily get your novel published by a big house, but I think networking with people on-line helps make people at least slightly aware of your presence.

However, the best way to make connections may be to get some of your work published. You can say you are a writer all you want, but you do have to eventually prove it to people. I hear anthologies may be a good way to get your work noticed. Getting published in "professional" markets is another. Think about it - the best way for people to know about your work is to read it. And I truly think that publications can lead to more publications, even if there is a bit of a disjoint between the "small press" markets and the big boys. Basically, starting to build a reader base is very important.

As for your work being High Fantasy, that is also what I enjoy writing most of all. I've had to expand my horizons to get stuff out there, but stories about armoured warriors weilding swords against a variety of strange and mythical beasts remains my favourite type of tale. There are some markets out there that publish this kind of stuff, if you look around long enough you might find the right fit.

My attitude is this - what's hot today will be old hat tomorrow. If you try to write following the trend, the trend will probably have changed by the time the work is done. Know your audience, but write what you care about, not what seems the trendy thing at the moment.

I've been lucky that my poetry has done very well, but I've had my fair share of rejections. Some editors have actually been asking for more of my poetry, but others have yet to accept a single one of my works. It takes perseverance and lots of hard work to get your work recognised.

The best thing I can say is keep plugging away.

A final note about writer's block - it happens. I find that I develop a block if I try too hard, if I force it. My creativity flows better when I'm relaxed and have time to ponder the possibilities. I find that if I am out of ideas, a break from writing helps tremendously. I let the writing part of my brain have a rest. Read a book, play some games, do a crossword, or some other activity that doesn't involving writing a story, and your creativity may just be recharged.
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!" Andrew of Armar.
User avatar
RHFay
Forum Addict
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 732
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:07 pm
Location: Upstate New York
 

 

Postby Neurolanis » Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:31 pm

Thanks a lot, RHFay! Very helpful advice there!

Oh and by the way, when I said I sent poems to a publisher I meant for a collection of poems. I was modest in the query too. Something about getting my poetry published makes me feel modest. I think because it is so personal. Fiction is made-up (it reflects your life and experiences of course, but people can debate over it), while a poem is like a page from your life. Even if I write a poem about a gushing river, I expose my most personal feelings through writing it.
User avatar
Neurolanis
Resident Author
Resident Author
 
Posts: 5268
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:20 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
 


Return to General Writing Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron