So, you wanna be a writer, eh?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by zerped, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. zerped

    zerped New Member

    This is a response to fight4acure's posting, but it ran so long and speaks to more people than just her, that I thought I'd let it stand on its on two feet.

    I've been a freelance writer for decades now, with one four-year stint and one six-year as an entertainment writer for newspapers. Sold tons of articles, contributed to two books on entertainment and wrote and published one book, "31 Days at a Time (Daily Meditations for the Serenity Impaired)."

    So what can I tell you about writing for money?

    #1----poetry is like sex: everyone thinks they're good enough at it to impress people when they should just concentrate on pleasing themselves. Writing poetry is wonderful for the soul and good practise and discipline in the use of words. Write however much you want, but leave it at that. When it's time to share with others, you'll know it.

    #2----Forget about writing "clubs," "organizations" or "agencies" that charge money. Hemmingway never paid anyone to look at his stuff or to print it! (Well, he also blew his brains out with a shotgun, so maybe this isn't the best example...) In any case, you're supposed to be accepting checks from people, not filling their wallets.

    #3----Probably the best thing you can do, whether a writer, artist, actress, photographer, comedian, musician, etc. is to check out a copy of "The Artist's Way" at the library. The author, Judith (? or Jane?) Cameron gives you a nuts-and-bolts approach to doing spiritual work which is also necessary to access your creativity. I loaned the book to a friend and after he had finished the book, he sold an option to a screenplay!

    #4----Writers write. Thinking about writing or talking to people about what you're going to write may be OK, but unless you spend at least as much time actually writing, you're not really a writer.

    #5----If you'd like, take a writing class at the local community college. Otherwise, find one friend who will tell you the truth and ask them to go through what you write and keep telling you, "Nope, that doesn't sound like you." It takes years, but eventually you need to strip away all the fancy, lacy ornate language that no one uses and speak to the reader as only you can. And tht means using YOUR voice.

    #6----Don't overlook non-fiction. I began trying to be a great short-story writer and playwright, but I needed to make money. I discovered that non-fiction isn't just a way to make money, it's actually fun (and requires just as much skill as writing a self-indulgent story for a literary magazine). Once I had started on this, I told my friends, "What could be a better job? I think about something I want to know or do, then I go do it, and get paid for it?!"

    Sorry to go on so long, but I hope you got something out of it. If you haven't already read Laura Hillebrand's piece from "New Yorker" about her CFIDS and writing, check it out now. It's one of the few things I can think of that cannot be stopped by our disease!

  2. Bruin63

    Bruin63 Member

    Probably not, but you just said what my Professor of a Writting class at LBCC said, during the first class.

    "If you want to be a writer, two things, you must decide,
    do you want to do this for Money or for the Passion in you"?

    Right now I am Passionate about People understanding what this Condition can do to you, in all area's of your life.

    For me, I was a working Photographer, who had to give up my Business. I returned to school to take Photojournalism, and wound up taking some writting classes as well.
    It was fun and very Freeing, and I will probably never sell a thing that I have written, but I have left a Book of sort's for our scattered Family.

    I have found that I do spend most of my time now writting and less time chatting with Friends.
    I've been here so long, and most of my Friends have been, moved, to other Board's, started by other Folks who first met here.

    Can you tell us what Articles you have written, I would love to read some of your work.
    Also thanks for the tip's, and please do not, use your Red pen or correct my post, lol, lol.

    Do you belong to any Writer websites? Would also be interesed in them if you are.
    I belong to one, that is a blast. I don't write as well as they do, but I enjoyy the tips they give me, and I hope one of them makes it, she has a load of talent, and btw, she is also wheelchair bound, this has been great Threaphy for her.
    ANd me I find.


    [This Message was Edited on 02/06/2006]
  3. zerped

    zerped New Member

    To elaborate a bit...

    No, I don't belong to any writer's group at the moment. For a few years in the '90's I was active with one group here in Portland, but haven't gotten back to it since all The Drama started. I know what you mean about writers and your friends. I still have the two groups in my life, but the writers I have coffee with on a regular basis are friends who happen to be very successful writers. The other half of my friends are wonderful people who happen to be salesmen, doctors, etc.

    Other than the Cameron book, I know that every writer on the planet used to be required to have a copy of "The Elements of Style," by Strunk & White, on their desk. It's a skinny little thing, but with information you need time and time again. The best investment you can make.

    As far as my writing goes, I didn't realise how hard it is to find till you guys went and brought it up; now I'm bummed! :eek:) Actually, I was a contributor to two books you might be able to find, "The Encyclopedia of Fictional Names" and "The Encyclopedia of NW Music," in your library. The last piece I did (one year ago!) should still be online. Check for the newspaper "Wilamette Week" and my name (Dan DePrez) on your search engine. Most of the magazine stuff isn't online now. I'm working on a blog for myself right now, and I'll let you know when it's ready.

    I second the teachers who say, "Have fun writing." Enjoy.

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