Tag Archives: writers

Life Rage: This Writer Is Going H.A.M.

Disclaimer: This post contains a heated rant of one extremely repressed writer. If you do not wish to join me on my angry rant, please refer to this adorable video of a Bengal cat playing fetch.

Let me start with the fact that I am naturally an angry person, but a happy angry person. Although that may seem like an oxymoron, it honestly isn’t. You can find me in most situations as an encouraging, optimistic person, who is always will to please others before pleasing herself. But when something angers me, it’s sometimes best to step aside and let the tornado run its course from a safe distance.

My boyfriend is, at times, on the receiving end of my anger, not for something he has done wrong, but by being a spectator in my path of destruction. Sometimes my only healthy source of relieving stress is writing, which leads us to my life rage. From annoying pests to driving in the car, my rage runs deep and true. I welcome any comments: agreeing with the few I’ve listed here, listing some of your own, and even your points for disagreement. All are welcome.

Ants- I want to assure the animal-conscious readers that I don’t willingly loathe any living creature, but ants make it difficult to be humanitarian about the whole “invading my home and bringing diseases onto every surface” situation. Besides the fact that there are 1.5 million ants for each human, a queen can make a million a day. I’m personally not worried about extinction when the below species have made themselves basically invincible.

The bulldog ant will follow you from a meter away, and they’re responsible for deaths every year in Australia. Or how about the Safu or killer ant, who causes elephants to flee before them in addition to having jaws that stay locked into your skin even after the ant is torn off.

These two pale in comparison to the sheer terror I felt last week when I had dozens of big, black carpenter ants swarming my kitchen over night. The physical danger is minimal, I’ll admit. However, the emotional and psychological trauma of finding your home overrun with these invaders is beyond the 1-10 pain scale can categorize.

How did they get in? Why did they chose my home to ransack? And how do I get rid of them? These questions raced through my mind as I ran from one end of the kitchen to the other to catch these greedy, fast-moving pests. The chaos following bordered on apocalyptic proportions. As the lady of the house, I failed miserably inside my head. If I can’t protect my kitchen from these invaders, then how will I make our home, a home? It seems silly to think of a few ants as an invasion, but it angered me to my core. Luckily, the magic of Pintrest allowed me to take back my thunder, restoring my kitchen to its pest-free glory.

Being called Mandy-This one is a simple issue. My name is Amanda. Not Mandy Not Mandie. Amanda. Please don’t call me Mandy because that’s not my name. You can call me Manda, Manders, Manda Panda, Amanda-kiss-n-hug, Manda-lin, etc. It’s less about particularities of my personality, and more about common courtesy. Why do people insist on addressing me by a different version of my name without knowing me or my preferences? It’s like calling someone Bill before they have a chance to tell you they prefer their given William. Just ask if someone has a preferred name before you rudely assume you are best friends and can call people whatever you want.

People who don’t say goodbye on the phone-Another courtesy issue (oh, there are so many) that I’m bothered by at work. As a customer service rep, it is a daily struggle to find common, American etiquette in other people. Please, please, please say good-bye before you hang up the phone. It is the courteous way to let the person on the other line know the conversation is over. Just do it, so I don’t have to wait on the line like a douchebag for another 5+ seconds hoping you’re going to hang up on me. Ugh!

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Writer Rage:

Writers against editors-My only coherent response is—STOP BEING SO PRETENTIOUS! My non-coherent response is rjsdjftjjfdjft.  Translation: I feel an extra special disappointment for all writers who choose to snub an editor. It makes no logical sense to discredit a tried and true aspect of the writing/publishing process. To disregard the input of an editor both in a professional situation and in general conversation is to cheat your characters from reaching their full potential.

Regardless of whether the editor is a friend, stranger, or world-famous, his/her opinions matter. The occupation of editor strives on bringing out the best in the story no matter the cost. It’s not about personal preference or what HAS to be in the book. The editor doesn’t care about the writer’s feelings because it’s not their job to make sure you’re happy. The editor worries about the characters, the overall story and of course, the reader.

Sure, as a writer you should begin every piece writing it for yourself. Yet, if you so choose to publish then it becomes a less selfish act of sharing your personal thoughts and experiences with others. By handing your precious composition off to a trusted source (the editor), you allow your story to be scrutinized and elevated to a level of completeness you couldn’t have imagined. In addition, it helps lend credibility to your work when you don’t have glaring grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or giant plot holes. Editors are a writer’s friend. They give you the unbiased, critical support your story needs when you get too close. Gah!

So, there is my current life rage. There are many more, which I chose to save for another post, and instead I will show off my newly painted cell phone case, which happens to be modeled after my rather snazzy new domain/brand-The Spotted Writer. I feel like I am on my way towards success with a little piece of merch to go with my blog. Check it out!

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Happy Reading/Writing!

 

 

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June 21, 2014 · 1:23 am

Bestsellers: Epitome of Success or Overrated Expectation

In response to Joe Konrath’s The Myth of the Bestseller— Hallelujah! There is something insane about the expectation as a writer to make millions to be successful. The above link takes you to a first hand experience of what self-publishing and e-books can do to transform a writer.

As hesitant as I am to switch to e-books, there is something magical about this blog post. This author has published his writing and successfully sold his e-books online. Now you must be thinking, that’s success? I thought success for a writer was getting in the New York Times Bestseller’s List. How do you do that self-publishing in digital form? Well, it’s easy.

Being on that list is overrated. If you look at the books on those lists, you’ll find a majority of them have sacrificed more than they needed to get their book published.  According to Konrath and many writers (including myself) success doesn’t come from millions of books sold. It comes from one. Stephen King once said if you get paid for your writing, you’re a success. The truth is that if you get satisfaction from your writing that should be all that matters.

Don’t set your sights on a career that is littered with rejection, despair, and loss of money. Maybe, the future of writers is in taking the publishing into our own hands or smaller groups of people looking out for the creators of the works. We deserve some credit after years of being underpaid. We need to be recognized for the work we do, instead of being swept under the rug if we don’t make millions in the first year. What if paying for the groceries is enough? Selling a few books a day may be all the success you need to fulfill your dream.

Join the revolution! Self-sufficient, confident writers who take the action into their own hands. They make their books happen because they have the dream that no one else supported. Now we don’t have to create a pile of rejection letters. We can publish our books on our own letting the fate of the readers decide our paycheck rather than a corporation that doesn’t know us.

Although this revolution is just beginning, don’t rule it out. Someday, self-published e-books may become the standard. Give it a try if you’re ready and the big business publishers just don’t see the same vision you do.

Yes, ideally we all think we should be able to sell millions of books, but that isn’t the most important aspect of writing. What’s most important is being true to yourself as a writer to affect someone else with your words.  To me, if I can make one reader learn about him/herself or more about life, then I’m a success. I want to entertain. If I can pay the bills, even better!

One of the shortcomings of traditional publishing as we all know is dealing with the big wigs, the publishers,editors, even agents taking parts of the profit. One of the solutions to that is e-books. The cost of making the books is terrible. As much as I love print books, they cost money to make. That money comes out of the profit of selling the books. If my book fails all of those book costs come out of my future. If I don’t make millions for the people that invest thousands into me, my career is sunk.

The glory of self-publishing is that the writer takes the majority of the profits in royalties. The money isn’t divided 15 ways to nothing by the time it gets back to the creator. The allure of this is so tempting that writers all over the world are jumping on the self-pubbed, e-book bandwagon. AND IT WORKS! It’s not something one or two writers are making money from now.

The key to success is the faith you have in yourself to achieve your dreams

This is the future of writing. It may just be the beginning, but think of a world where writers get to choose how their book turns out. Give it a shot because when no one else has the faith in your book to make millions, you do. You can publish it and make as much money as you are willing to market it. That control/freedom has never been felt before by writers. With the internet at your fingertips you can reach the readers of the globe in an instant, and reap the benefit in a much more personal way.

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We are more than the person behind the curtain

What are writers, but mysterious figures behind the gargantuan stories they tell. For some like Shakespeare, they stay a mystery for readers hundreds of years after the stories were published. Others like Ray Bradbury step out into the world, live in the spotlight, revealing secrets of the trade to budding dreamers of the future.

A depiction of Charles Dickens giving a reading

One of the most terrifying and enjoyable aspects of being a writer is the interaction with our readers. It scares the wits out of writers because we are compelled to be loners. At the same time, the first hand experience of seeing the reader’s reaction is indescribable. Yet, for two bloggers the ability of a writer to be a performer is a heated debate.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2099962/Writers-performers-despite-preferring-avoid-limelight.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

The author of the link above defends the writer’s perspective wholeheartedly, while Amitav Ghosh disagrees. As Ghosh is a novelist/blogger, who is convinced the act of reading one’s work rips away the relationship between the reader and the book.

“The reader related in the first instance to a book, not to its writer; and writers, for their part, did not confront their audience directly in the manner of musicians, singers, actors and so on.”

The statement above made by Ghosh are powerful, but not necessarily true. Ghosh believes that the author is not meant to read his writing out loud, but simply write it only to retreat back behind the curtain. The author of the blog disagrees with the above statement because for centuries, writers have been the rockstars of the world. Not only novelists, but poets have an obligation to their writing to speak publicly.

Without the performance in front of the audience, poetry doesn’t have the power it could just read in silence.  Poetry almost solely relies on the use of sound and delivery to provide the emphasis in lieu of the extra words.  What Ghosh doesn’t appreciate about writing is the feel of the words on your lips. In addition to poetry, words flow in a beautiful way with prose. Hearing the one who created the story read it aloud is an experience that can’t be replaced.  As a long time reader, I have never had the opportunity to see my favorite authors read their work in public.

To me, it feels like I’m missing an entire part of the entertainment. Because as much as Ghosh and other authors would like to admit, stories are entertainment. They have been entertainment since the beginning of human history. Whether it is read from a printed book or spoken from memory, the author can bring the characters to life in a way no one else can. The author is the expert source on whatever he/she has written. There is no one else more qualified to bring the characters to life.  It is a privilege and a responsibility for a writer to express their excitement through a public performance.

I chose the picture of Dickens’ before I finished the article only to find that the article mentions Dickens as one of the proudest performers in writing history. He was working on his performance as he wrote the novels, creating the characters with his face. It is an amazing site to hear a poet read their writing or hear an excerpt from a novel you’ve read. The performance made is not just a money opportunity, but a responsibility to the give the story all of the potential it has. The reader deserves every possible viewpoint of the story, and nothing beats the author reading their proud work to you.

Don’t forget, the writers are not just the people behind the curtain.  They are the creators, the magic makers, the entertainers, the teachers, and the inspiration. Writers don’t just write the stories, they live them, and finally they pass the story on as if it were livelihood given to millions of loving children.

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Writers: 7 Truths We Deny and Need to Accept

A week ago, I published a post discussing the silly and serious stereotypes of writers. Now as much as I would like to say there is no truth in them, I’m wrong. Most people don’t want to admit they fit in to stereotypes (and some don’t), but there is truth in stereotypes. Just like fiction writers tuck truth into the core of their stories, some stereotypes are the core of a group of people.

I found the following link as I was spreading my social feelers on Twitter. Following Random House on Twitter may seem cliche, but to me, it’s smart. Random House posted this and I dutifully followed finding a connection to my past post.

http://writetodone.com/2012/02/03/know-thyself-7-truths-about-writers/?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=Post&utm_campaign=RHSocialMedia

These 7 truths about writers might seem like silly stereotypes, but in essence they are all true at some point to a writer. It’s important to recognize that writers are sensitive creatures and we aren’t these mysterious, abstract names on the covers of books. We are unique in that we understand the human condition in an intimate way. At the same time, we must separate ourselves from everyone to focus what we know into the best possible version of the story we must tell.

It isn’t merely a struggle to get paid for creative work or writer’ s block. It’s an overall struggle to handle a life alone with your computer (typewriter, paper) and yearning to live the life that you so diligently write about.

People assume that just anyone can write (celebrities, politicians), but you have to train your mind and your heart to be lonely because the stories in your head won’t go down on paper if you aren’t alone to let all the dirty secrets pour out.

 

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Future Telling Fiction: How Science Fiction Shaped Our Reality

Fiction is a genre stemming from reality. In some way, fiction derives from truth and changes in the eyes of the writer. Whether it be an experience from the writer or a memory from someone else, fiction comes from something we know and changes to become something different.

Science fiction, however, is a type of fiction where we claim to know how current technology and science will transform in a different reality or future. It can be a parallel universe or 1500 years in the future. Yet, the alterations made in science fiction stories are not just musing of an author’s wild imagination. Many of the devices, inventions, and discoveries in the most famous fictional stories have been predictions for real world events.

Today, I will take on a journey through the minds of the best future tellers known to mankind…science fiction writers. We will discuss how questions of the universe and space were answered in stories, years before we actually discovered them.

Jules Verne's From Earth to the Moon

We begin our tour of science fiction predictions with Jules Verne. He was a French writer living in the 1800s and made drastic predictions of space exploration that eventually came true 100 years later. In his book, From Earth to the Moon, Verne described down to mind-boggling detail the trip to the moon.  The launch site and water landing of the capsule are eerily close to what happened in reality. Even the material the capsule was made of (aluminum) and the number of men on the voyage (3) are similar to what we experienced in 1969.  Verne’s book was published in 1865 and he was so precise in his details that the fictional capsule was named Columbiad. Drop the d and you have almost an exact prediction of how man got to the moon.

H.G. Well's The First Men in the Moon

Forty years later, another legendary sci fi writer, H.G. Wells, wrote a similar account of moon landing in the 1901 novel, The First Men in the Moon. While H.G. Wells’ predictions were located more on Earth, we’re hoping his prediction of time travel will soon be upon us.

Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey

The next precognitive writer is Arthur C. Clarke who commented not only in his fiction, but in scientifice journals made predictions about technology. In 1945, he had an idea of communication through satellites that synchronized their orbit with the Earth’s equator (geostationary satellites). The idea was coined first in 1928, but was made popular by Clarke and 20 years later it was made a reality. They are affectionately known as Clarke orbits for his faith in the technology.

Through his book, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was able to give a realistic experience of what happens to a human body in space (while other science fiction movies over dramatize the event) and even mentions the existence of a black hole on one of Saturn’s moons. Although it is not recognized as such, Clarke comes back to the black hole idea in his story the Black Sun in 1956. Over 10 years before the coining of the term black hole, Clarke manages to use it in his stories as a normal aspect of space life.  He even goes on to predict in 2024, that we will use infrared signals to find an advanced civilization at the center of our galaxy. What is most unsettling about this prediction is that infrared telescopes are being used as we speak to locate stars and planetary bodies, which could someday return with intelligent life.

Now these three men are part of an elite group of science fiction writers who have been able to accurately describe events and inventions that will eventually be created. It is insane to think that black holes and satellites were once figments of a man’s imagination and now they are truths we accept in reality.

To aspiring speculative and science fictions writers, it takes a lot of knowledge to become as legendary as these men. However, it is not impossible to fill their shoes. It is important to focus on what we know now and project what could potentially happen in the future.

I am shocked and proud to know that fiction writers (in essence liars) have been absolved of their mockery because their predictions have come to pass. It is comforting to know that writing  entertains, incites emotions, and helps shape the future of our species.

What do you predict will come to pass in the next year? The next 25? The next 100 years for humanity and our technology?

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To be or not to be: The Stereotype of a Writer

Stereotypes have plagued mankind since the beginning. It is a way to be comforted in each other’s silly likenesses and ridicule other people’s weird differences.

But where did stereotypes develop? Here’s one idea. Someone sat down one day angry at a person or most likely a group of people. He wrote down all the embarrassing or annoying traits of the people he hated and started sharing them with his friends. His friends began using these specific traits to mock and ridicule people they didn’t like and the idea spread.  Typically, a stereotype focused on a group of people with a common background or even coming from the same country.

Yet, stereotypes for writers have transcended normal reasons for grouping them together. We come from every spot on the planet, every ethnicity, every shape and size. Even what we write varies not only in type (poetry, non-fiction, fiction) to the genre in which we write (sci-fi, romantic, Latin American History, etc). The one thing we have in common is the act of writing. We all have a need to write something every second of the day either in our heads or down on the computer. So, how did someone find all of these things in common that we now associate as stereotypes of writers?

I don’t have an answer for that, but I decided to go through all of the stereotypes and see which ones I fit in and which ones I don’t. To be honest, my guess as to how stereotypes began is not how I view them now. Not all stereotypes are bad and sometimes they are true indicators of that person or group.  For me, I see the stereotypes of writers as funny misunderstandings as well as badges of courage we must push past.

Here is my list of the most common and funny stereotypes:

1.  Writers are alcoholics/drug addicts or both-Now see here, not every writer has to drink to get inspiration or be high to write. However, it is a pattern. Maybe it is the sensitivity of artists, struggling with questions about life that no one else bothers to think about. Or maybe it’s that the booze takes the edge off the fact that we have to work three jobs just to pay for bills and still have to make time to write the next chapter. Anyway you look at it, the greats have sometimes needed a shot of whiskey to get them ready to write and a group of writers are always more enjoyable after placing a bottle of wine (or several) between them.

2. Writers always drink coffee and smoke profusely–I don’t have either of these qualities, but I know many that do. I think this a vastly overrated stereotype because each person is different. I prefer tea, but the result is the same. You’re all warm on the inside and it tastes amazing. As for the smoking, I don’t smoke because I want to be as healthy as possible to spend the next 70 years writing.

3. Writers are loners- This one is mostly true, but we have to be. Because at the end of the day if you can’t have some peace and quiet to do the writing you need…you don’t get paid or get the voices of those characters out of your head.

At the same time, we yearn to be social butterflies. While social interaction may not be required during the writing process of a story, the process before and after allows us to interact with as many people as we want. In this digital age, publishers are doing less of the marketing side of publishing and are laying the task to the writer. So, we not only have to come up with the idea, write it all down in a creative way, and market it to billions of people in hopes of them buying it.

It isn’t always a bad thing. As my one writing friend just said, “The plus side to being a writer is that going on Facebook is part of my job.” And it’s true. Writers are becoming more social creatures out of a need to network. Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs like these are important to creating a fan base before you are published and famous. I’m constantly checking Facebook and my blog to see how my work is being received. It is important to know that writers can come out of our shells and interact with “regular” people.  It’s such a different sight to see a bunch of writers get together because you would never imagine a writer being a loner after witnessing all of them together.

4. Writers are crazy-Yes, there is a stereotype that writers are insane. They have to be after writing things no one else can imagine. Bi-polar, schizophrenia, and depression have graced the brains and personalities of the most famous writers ever to exist. There will always be studies done until the end of time on the connection between creative minds and mental disorders. It could be the substance abuse or the isolation that creates crazy writers, but there is one fact that goes unnoticed. Even if a writer is 15 kinds of crazy, they still have a better grasp on the human condition than the completely sane readers that buy their writing.

Sometimes padded rooms are perfect to get that last paragraph done

We write because we need to write. Because something inside us compels us to tell a story no one else has come up with yet. Because our hearts say that the world needs to read this character, this situation and only I can write it. Whether we do it alone in a make shift office in the attic or have a bottle of Jack Daniels besides our laptop, the result is the same. A story or perspective on life that only sensitive artists can produce for the world.

No matter if you end up killing yourself like Sylvia Plath or live a long life like Ray Bradbury the need inside you to write will always push you to give the world what you have to offer. A story never told before from your eyes. So, I may be a loner who drinks too much tea and could eventually become bi-polar. At least I know my purpose in life…to be now and always, a writer.

Feel free to share other stereotypes of writers or which stereotypes you have. The more stereotypes we have means the more people we are affecting as a group, which is always a good thing. Bad press is better than no press. So stereotype away!

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