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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

First you decide what you've gotta do.

And then you go out and do it.

Well, the comments on the introduce-yourself post have indicated that there are a lot of aspiring writers out there. Writers have a lot of different goals, a lot of different metrics for success. Some people want to sell a book. Some people want to write just one perfect story, heartbreaking. Some people want to tell stories to an eager, loyal group of friends.

If I could give all of them one anecdotal piece of advice, and only one, it would be this:

Push.


And don't stop pushing, neither, except when you need a breath.

I spent fifteen years trying to talk myself out of being a writer, first by telling myself that he odds against were astronomical and that I needed a real job, and then by "trying," while cleverly finding ways to undermine myself so that my failures could be chalked up to "just not being talented enough no matter how hard I work," because (a) success is scary as shit and (b) what's even scarier than success is the prospect of really doing your best, really trying your hardest--and actually having to face an abject failure.

Nobody wants to be Rocky Balboa. At least Sonny Liston got to go to his grave telling his friends he could have taken Cassius Clay if he'd cared to take a swing.

But if you don't swing with all you've got, there's no way you can win.

This is a hard job. It's an exhausting job. It's an ego-crushing job. Rejection is hard. Criticism is harder.

But it's also the best job in the world.




Head down. Heels down. Get your weight behind that yoke and push. Push. Push!

If you're not bleeding, you're not pulling hard enough.

There's a trick there, of course, because that all-out effort has to be directed. So you have to have picked your goal. The publication, the perfect story, the Pulitzer prize.

Pick your pitch. Point over the boards. And swing for the goddamned fences.

But also remember, sometimes you can pull harder if you let the lines go slack for a bit and catch your breath before you throw your weight on it again. ;-)




By the way, my novella "Wax," has been selected for Rich Horton/Prime Book's inaugural Year's Best Fantasy.

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By the way, my novella "Wax," has been selected for Rich Horton/Prime Book's inaugural Year's Best Fantasy.

Woo, congratulations! :D

re; wax

so much for that ignorant review.. now for the new amsterdam novel...
Thank You. :)
The punchline is, I finally got the nerve to do that myself when I was laid off from the sucktastic job I had been working 70 hour weeks at, and couldn't get reemployed anywhere (it was October 2001) and it hit me like a ton of lead; if I was going to be insecure *anyway*, why not do something I loved?

Also, you're welcome.
Congrats on "Wax"!

I have faced up to the possibility that my writing career may just crash and burn despite my best efforts. It's already done so to some extent. This current year has been a good one, but things change: it may continue to go well, it may not, and the likelihood is that if it continues, it will probably be subject to the same reversals and successes that pretty much everyone else experiences.

I dreamed last night that I met up with my editor and he told me that the last book that Macmillan have commissioned will be...the last book of mine ever. (Then he introduced me to the mutant clone of myself that he'd been keeping in his basement, but that's another story).

Anyway. Regardless of the night thoughts of Williams, it's still a great job, there are a lot of other great jobs out there which I could also do, and its failure won't result in anything other than damage to the ego. I'm not worried about my writing being rejected; I'm worried about my family and my partner dying. I've gone through too much of that kind of shit already to treat literary success as anything but a great big bonus which, if it falters and fails, will still have been a great big bonus.

Right, enough personal perspective. Back to arse in chair.



You rock.

And also, you're right.

Of course, this advice applies to succeeding at anything, really.
Oh, it doesn't feel like easy cheating to me. But it beats the stuffing out of filing insurance paperwork.

Pushing, pulling, biting, hair-tearing...

Done and ongoing. I push and pull and do all sorts of assorted violence to get to write. I've been writing since I was four (if you believe my mother), and I sacrifice time in which I really should be working on my thesis to write.

I often wonder what would have happened if I'd succumbed to my high school Creative Writing teacher's PUSH to to study writing, to write, to publish.

I wouldn't be a science geek, for one thing...

Criticism isn't something that frightens me. I have tried to publish. I've gotten a little over a half dozen scathing rejections from MZB - though they were growing progressively more positive until I received one that was handwritten!

Writing isn't something that I'll ever stop doing. Getting published, on the other hand... that's something I haven't attempted in a very long time.

I should. Someday. I've promised myself to finish my thesis this year...

By the way, my novella "Wax," has been selected for Rich Horton/Prime Book's inaugural Year's Best Fantasy.

Congratulations!
And to you,too!
Congratulations!
you're welcome!
what's even scarier than success is the prospect of really doing your best, really trying your hardest--and actually having to face an abject failure.

That in a nutshell is what's nailed some of my most talented friends...it's *so* much easier to tell yourself you never really tried!
I've allowed myself a short break to build back up my confidence. I was beginning to think I was too disabled to write, too, so I'm slopping around with some fanfic I'm using as technique practice. (I was also kind of afraid to apply all those editing techniques to my darlings, because they might die. So I''m practicing with those scalpels on cadavers first, to mix a metaphor.) But after that, a Real Novel is scheduled to happen, and get mailed out to agents and everything. And after that, more Real Novels.

Funny, though; I'm also trying to get my body back into something like shape (allowing for my disabiliy crap), and have been looking at weightlifting, which sounds batty but may be ideal for my needs (build muscle without getting my heart rate up). The weightlifting lady instructor I was just reading, and your advice, go together pretty darn well.

So writing's like powerlifting. Huh.

So writing's like powerlifting. Huh.

Yep. It is.
By the way, my novella "Wax," has been selected for Rich Horton/Prime Book's inaugural Year's Best Fantasy.

Woo-hoo! Also, you know that won't help temper my teeny little hints(!!) at a book for Abigail Irene, you know. Not one little bit. Did I resort to shameless begging yet? Oh, I did. Never mind. I know what'll work *brings out fancy Scotch instead*
Gratz on Wax!

Push, eh? Much-needed advice. I moved recently and haven't worked on my book in months thanks to all the upheaval. I think about editing the manuscript occasionally and then wonder why the heck I ever thought I could/should write.

Can't seem to muster my push energy. Lately I've had a hard time even reading the posts of other writers, because it only made me feel more hopeless. They are able to push. I am not.

I dreamed last night that someone wanted me to remove the colored scales off the wings of live butterflies using tweezers. Sometimes writing feels like that.

Push...the manuscript back in the drawer and nap. :)

Maybe tomorrow.
You get to use tweezers? I use ivory chopsticks so long that they sag and flap.
Congratulations!

And: then by "trying," while cleverly finding ways to undermine myself so that my failures could be chalked up to "just not being talented enough no matter how hard I work," because (a) success is scary as shit and (b) what's even scarier than success is the prospect of really doing your best, really trying your hardest--and actually having to face an abject failure.

Ouch. That got my number.

Of course, it's also that much needed kick in the head. I'll take what I can get.
*passes out t-shirts*
*pushes*

"by the way," she says casually

Woohoo for you! Hooray for Wax!
By the way, my novella "Wax," has been selected for Rich Horton/Prime Book's inaugural Year's Best Fantasy.

Congrats! And much appreciation for writing some of the best, most encouraging, most truthful posts about writing I've ever read.
hey, any crumb of help I can throw....
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