I Have A Confession To Make

Disclaimer: The authors I mention below are not among those I’m referring to in the post. All have helped me immensely, and are willing to do the same for other author-wannabes (like me). Two even have a website, and books dedicated to that. Another has a book too.  

 

Not too long ago, I read a couple of lines that made me realize: We writers are a rather arrogant bunch. I did some searching online to double-check, and I discovered, yep, we are. Here’s what I mean: I have read over 1,000 books, blog posts and articles over the last year that says not everyone can write a novel. I’m not going to cite any of them because a few were written by folks I’d like to consider my friends. Almost everyone said that only a select few can write novels, or they’d quote some statistic that says 80% of people think they can write a book, and then say that was bullshit. What we do is so hard. Um, no it isn’t.

Technically speaking, nothing is hard to do unless you don’t put in the time, and energy in learning how to do it. For me, building a space shuttle, a nuclear reactor, calculating pi, or even making bouillabaisse. I don’t know how to do those things. However, I can go learn how to, if I had the drive to. It’s the same thing with writing. Anyone can put words together to form sentences, then paragraphs, and then a manuscript. It’s not that hard.

What separates we writers from Joe, or Jane, Average is our drive to put words to paper, or screen. We have a compunction, or a predilection for doing so.  Hell, you can even say it is our obsession (some of them anyway. I’m pretty damned lazy for the most part). Something within us makes us get to a desk, or table, pull out our notebooks, pads, typewriters, or computers, and start stringing words together to form a story. Sometimes it is great, sometimes it sucks. Great thing is, what is awesome, and what is sucky, are subjective. For example, millions rave over The Twilight Saga, and 50 Shades of Grey. I can’t stand either.

“You’re not the target audience, asshole.”

Fair enough. I also can’t stand Terry Pratchett novels. Or some R.A.Salvatore ones. And you know what? Not one of those four I just mentioned even notice that I haven’t bought their stuff. They have millions of fans.

If you have any interest in some authors I do like, I can rattle off a couple of names (maybe you could go check ’em out, see if you agree with me): R.S.Guthrie, L.T.Kelly, Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi (Anglea & Becca are a writing team. They have separate links because I want to show both pages, and not have both names go to the same place. I’m weird like that. :P), Kevin Rau, Jen Boyce, Fabiola Surya. Jen & Fab don’t have links because their novels are not yet published, and they don’t yet have websites, though Fab does have a blog. Wondering how I can say Jen & Fab are some of my favorite writers? Simple: I get to assist these wonderful ladies in crafting their stories. I’m kinda blessed that way.

Why did I title this blog “I Have A Confession To Make”? I was one of those arrogant writers I mentioned. I am no longer. Now, if someone says to me, “I want to be a writer,” or “I can write a novel,” my response will be, “Go for it. I’ll be cheering you on. If there’s any way I can assist, let me know. I’ll be glad to.”

Wanna check out some of the above author’s works? Here’s a series of links to their stuff on Amazon:

Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi –  The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus

R.S.Guthrie – Black Beast, Ink, Blood Land (This one is Free)

Kevin Rau – H.E.R.O: Metamorphosis, H.E.R.O: New Markets, Necromancer’s Ascent

L.T.Kelly – Falling to Pieces (her debut novel. The second is in the works).

Why not show some love to these wonderful authors? Tell them R.w.Foster sent you.

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50 thoughts on “I Have A Confession To Make”

  1. You make some great points here and I wish you well. Reading is one of my passions and has been throughout my life. I read many different types of books and will usually try most anything, once anyway. I admire those who have the talent and the desire to write. Writing can be fun and it can be a great way to make sense out of what we are thinking about and feeling, In my case, I was not blessed with the talent but I do enjoy writing my feelings in a journal and sometimes sharing those things I journal about with others. My wish is that something I write about may bring a blessing to another person reading it,

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  2. THANK YOU! While I’m not a novel writer (I’m writing specialized elementary curriculum, http://susanirenefox.com/branches/), at the beginning, I too often listened to people who told me I couldn’t do it, or it couldn’t be done unless it was done by a team of people. I, too, have that drive (passion) to put words to paper; I can’t not do it. I wrote as a hermit for a while, until I finally found others who encouraged and supported me. Now, instead of crawling, I am able to fly.

    Thanks for being an encouragement to writers who desperately need it. We all do!

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    1. Yes, indeed. Thank you for stopping by. Why not give a novel a little try? I think you could do it. I hope you followed the author links at the bottom of the post: There are 4 books to help with your writing. I have all four and they help me HUGELY. 🙂

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  3. I was recently reading a very popular “New York Times Best Seller” and I found myself thinking “This book sucks.” Sometimes I am shocked at what sells. What do I know though, I also think Bart Simpson is stupid and yet America loves him.

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    1. 😀 I tend to avoid “best sellers” unless I hear a recommendation from someone who I know has literary tastes that I admire. Then again, 9 times out of 10, I enjoy a book from decades before I was born more than the newest book to hit the market. I can’t (or should I say, choose not to) write worth a lick, but I’m an obsessive reader, and on the very few occasions I’ve picked up a best seller or something from Oprah’s list, I’ve felt brain cells die. And since I’m stubborn (and maybe a tad arrogant about my reading material), that has caused me to doubt anything that the majority of the population thinks is the best thing ever.

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      1. One way to look at the term “best seller” is they had fantastic marketing. Some best sellers are pretty good (In my not so humble opinion. :P), like the Harry Potter Series, and a lot of Stephen King books. Others are (also IMNSHO) utter rubbish, like Twilight and 50 Shades.

        Other decent best sellers are Rich Dad/Poor Dad, How to Win Friends and Influence People as well as Playboy (whut? I read it for the articles). 😉

        To each their own, right? 🙂

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        1. You’re totally right! It’s interesting how far marketing will get you. I’ve heard many great things from what I’d consider reliable sources on the Harry Potter series- but I think my drawback is the fact that I not only have a terrible attention span, but I also HATE not finishing something, and HP is a daunting commitment! The attention span thing isn’t really a boredom so much as a craving for variety, so because of that I naturally avoid serials. I may venture to pick one up some day, but I have a gigantic reading list to get through right now which I’ve been procrastinating on for the past couple of months:)
          As for Twilight and 50 Shades…. I choose to hold my uninformed yet extremely strong opinion that they’re likely the worst things to hit the literary world. Maybe. Either way, I refuse to lay eyes on them, and I don’t care about “giving them a chance”. So I’m totally with you there, but only based on assumption 😛 I know my tastes pretty well, so with so many things available that I DO know I’ll like, I avoid things there’s no chance I will. And if I have time, I get around to the maybes 🙂

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          1. Hahaha. Epic statements. The fun thing about HP is that you don’t have to read through them all right away. Then again, it seems easy to me because I’m a voracious reader. I generally am reading five to six books nigh simultaneously. There’s one for when I’m traveling (thank you Kindle), one for meals (unless I’m with someone), one next to my bed, one next to my toi- Never mind. Anyway, I read a lot. 🙂

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  4. Thank you so much for writing this. As an unpublished writer who is dreaming of being published, I appreciate your words of support. Sadly I have come across several authors that seem to want to keep the joy of writing to themselves. Luckily they are few and far between. For the most part, the authors I have had contact with have been supportive.

    Just a word of warning, as I continue in my adventure as a writer, I will probably take you up on your offer to assist.

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    1. You are very welcome. Thank you for stopping by. I, too, am unpublished (waiting on beta readers before re-writes prior to sending to an editor).

      An early assist, if I may: Follow the links next to the author’s names. There are four books that I use to better my own writing. Maybe they will be of some use to you as well.

      I’ll gladly help out anyway I can.

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  5. I watched this interesting video lecture from this CEO/producer of Voyage Media. I wish I could post the link here but it’s not accessible unless you sign up. He told this story about this bestselling author who was being interviewed by this journalist. The journalist aspired to be a bestselling author and so after the interview she asked him how she could achieve her goal. He told her to take a sales/marketing class at a local community college or read books on marketing. She was immediately offended and said, “I asked you how I can achieve my goal. I have an IVY league education. I don’t need to take a class on that. I am a talented writer.” He was quite taken aback because he really wanted to help her. He replied with holding up his book and saying, “Do you see this? It says best-SELLING author not best WRITING author. You’re probably a better writer than I am but I know how to sell my product.” She stormed off and decided not to take his advice. But, I think it’s something to consider.

    I enjoyed your post.

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    1. I recall that quite well: It’s a Robert Kiyosaki quote from the afterword (I think) from his book, Rich Dad/Poor Dad . I think. It may have been one of his other works that that appeared in.

      Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for stopping by.

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      1. I’d like to know this, too.

        I’d also disagree with you slightly about the humility thing: It takes a bit of pride, and self-confidence to be successful (I think). I mean, you’re basically telling people that your way is the best way…

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        1. Ah, you are correct there. I suppose I meant humility in the sense of accepting with grace and an open mind advice that has been given by someone who’s walked the path we want to travel. Because how else are we going to learn what steps would be our better options to take? By shunning advice of someone successful before weighing our other options, we could be setting ourselves up for lots of unnecessary failure.
          But absolutely! It is extremely important to have pride in what you do, as well as confidence. You could be the best _______________ in your field, but without the confidence to convince others that you ARE in fact the best, no one will believe you. Also, confidence will give you the ability to actually put that awesome work out there, because how will you become successful if you’re the only one who knows about it? 😀
          Which is probably why success is so sought after, but so hard to achieve. So many factors to understand and act upon.. it’s kinda fun trying though!

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          1. In my opinion, it’s more than kinda fun. 😉 And I get what you mean about accepting things with grace and dignity. That is very useful in gaining more followers, I think. Or, I should say keeping followers. Charisma, and a good message will net you the followers, humility will keep them with you.

            You make very good points, Ma’am.

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  6. Don’t worry, i am the target audience for twilight, and i will never understand how it got so popular! it’s just not in my taste either! but hey! how can i argue with the thousands of fans?
    I really enjoyed this blog by the way 😀

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    1. I know. Especially if you look at it critically, it (and its former fan fic 50 Shades) seems to really promote abusive relationships. That’s pretty scary. 😦

      Glad you enjoyed the blog, and thanks for coming by!

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  7. I have heard the phrase, ‘Everyone can write, but not everyone is a great writer,’ throughout most of my life, though lately it should read more like ‘Everyone can write, but not everyone can turn a bad idea into a best-seller.’ Your examples are, I think, a direct result of having the right marketing tools, even if the product for sale is weak at best. I read the first chapter of Twilight (more like endured it, to be honest) and I found nothing remarkable or likeable about Bella. It’s not because I’m not the target audience. It’s because I couldn’t see myself wanting to see how things turned out for her. I’ve felt the same way about characters from ‘adult’ fiction, such as Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. I stopped reading it about halfway through the series. I just couldn’t take Richard and Kahlan anymore.

    But I’m getting off track here. I agree that approaching the art of writing with a chip on your shoulder is not the way to endear yourself to others. I personally encourage all forms of writing, be it original, fanfiction, poetry, short stories, whatever. Do it because you love it, nothing more.

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    1. I get your point about doing it because you love it, but some folks also want to make money from it. I kind of agree with that idea (I’m guilty of wanting some money for my stories *shifty grin*).

      But, if you love the idea of writing: the whole putting pen/pencil to paper, fingers to keyboard, keys, kinda thing; doing so will be a hell of a lot easier than if you just approach it as a job (though sometimes it does feel as onerous as a few jobs I’ve had). But remember, “Nothing is easy.” 😉

      Thanks for coming by!

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      1. I don’t remember who said it to me, but they advised that if I wanted to make a quick buck, writing wasn’t the way to do it. :p Phenoms that produce movies and the like are rare. Also starting to think having ‘best selling’ attached to any author doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good.

        Glad to be here! 🙂

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        1. Quick money is possible, but not really from anything other than wholesaling Real Estate (that I’ve discovered).

          Starting to think? I’m guessing that means you’ve not read twilight, or 50 Shades? 😉 I’m kidding about them. In my personal opinion, they are poorly written. For their fans, they were masterpieces. *shrugs* No accounting for taste.

          Take a look around, and maybe tell me what you think of some of my other posts? That would be awesome. 😀 But, please, don’t feel you have to. I appreciate this very much.

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          1. Oh you can make easy money if you A) write romance novels for Harlequin and B) don’t mind selling your artistic integrity to do it. At least, that’s what I believe. Though I bet the drivel Harlequin puts out is way better than Twilight and 50 Shades of Bad Fanfiction.

            Sure, I’ll peruse your other posts! Getting too crowded here anyway 😛

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  8. Anyone who wants to write can write if given the time and space to do so. When I was not quite out of my parents’ house yet, the pastor of their church gave me the only useful piece of advice I ever got out of anyone at that church: I had said that I wanted to be a writer. He asked “do you write?” and I said “yes I write.”
    “You are a writer.”

    It really is as simple as that. Publishing is another question with its own subtleties and at times unfortunate politics to negotiate. And selling is yet another question beyond that: marketing and writing are not the same thing! As obvious as that might seem, I do meet writers who get confused especially when they achieve market or some other type of popularity and take it as confirmation of their stature as A Great Writer.

    I also know a handful of writers who don’t get confused about such things at all, and generally they are more generous with their time and with encouragement for those who are perhaps not currently marketable for reasons having nothing to do with the calibre of their writing. I vastly prefer hanging out with these writers then with those who feel threatened by the fact that someone else also writes and might get a little attention for it: popularity fluctuates and shifts, so if it is taken as a confirmation of one’s quality or worth, then it might seem necessary to defend it.

    Maybe. I dunno. I just think writing does not need defenders and in fact has way too many. It needs more practitioners. More voices, not fewer.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly.

      I think it has so many defenders because the average person on the street doesn’t see that writing (like a lot of art) is just as hard as say, construction, so they tend to dismiss it.

      In addition to more voices, I’d also like to see more patience from fellow writers. There are quite a lot of books on Amazon that I think were rushed out due to lack of patience. At least, I’m hoping it was that and not contempt for the craft…

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  9. You know… you’re absolutely right. I’ve thought this thought about lots of things (although never writing, because I’ve decided that I’m not interested enough to learn how to write something worth publishing). Also, I’m overly-wordy, and I think I probably have a tendency of losing my audience, something I’m also too lazy or disinterested to REALLY try to dispel, although I really should simply for the sake of blogging 😀
    Photographers can be exceptionally arrogant people too. I think all artists have the tendency to be, whether it’s written art, performing art, visual art, or otherwise. When my interest in photography started poking through, I was suuuuuper unsure of myself because I’d read so many negative things by wonderful photographers saying that not everyone can be a photographer- so much so that even several months and MUCH improvement later, I still couldn’t bring myself to say “I am a photographer” (“What do you do for a living?” – “well, uh… I’m TRYING to be a photographer, and it’s kinda going well…”). They even have a website dedicated to it-http://youarenotaphotographer.com/ – which is, admittedly, a great point for their argument, but really only showcases those who are lazy (or totally blind to aesthetic appeal) and don’t care to TRY to perfect their art, and therefore become the example. Photography came surprisingly easy for me, even though I’m a billion miles from where I’d like to be with it (and I know I always will be, no matter how I improve). The point is, it meant enough to me to try, and suddenly others started acknowledging me as a “photographer”. They insisted I was, and began requesting to pay me to provide a service, and suddenly, my brain agreed that, yep, I am a photographer.
    So, this is my overly-wordy way of saying you hit the nail on the head. This is a wonderful way to look at life in general. AND you’ve gained a follower! 🙂

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    1. Thanks for that. From an editing perspective, it may have been overly wordy, but from my perspective, it was just right. 🙂

      And hey, long winded writers have their fans. May I direct you to the ladies Ayn Rand and Anne Rice? Also to Mr. Stephen King? King himself has said he has, “Diarrhea of the word processor.” Which struck me a utterly hilarious.

      Maybe give that book thing a go. You may surprise yourself. Just remember the real Golden Rule of writing (no matter what others may try to tell you, “The only rules you need to know are those you picked up in school. There are no others. Just write.”

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  10. Thanks for the mentions, R.W.! I believe that there is a place/audience for most, if not all, styles of writing. I’m not a fan of the snobbery that takes place, because even the most popular (and often listed as “great”) works will have people who simply don’t enjoy them, and given a scorecard, would mark those “great works” as crap. Yet to others, they are excellent reads.

    We’re in a wonderful time where there are more avenues for indie authors to release their works, and potentially find an audience. The unfortunate side effect lately is that there is such a massive influx of authors and novels that many can’t get their audience to find them. (But at least there isn’t an intern at a publishing company or a snob above that person turning them down because they aren’t a fan of that particular style or genre.)

    To those wondering if it can be done – it can. Study up on grammar, sit down, and put words to your story. Only by doing it will you know if you can.

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    1. Good points, Kevin, and thanks for coming by!

      As usual, you make great points. I’d also like to add for readers that even if your first efforts are kind of clunky, not to worry. Like everything else, writing well takes practice. You’ll get there.

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  11. I wholeheartedly agree with you! I wrote a novel (well the 1st draft of one) and really had no formal skill set that said I could do it. I wanted to, set pen to paper, and did it! I have no idea if it is good, nor at this point do I care. Some people get published, some don’t. And what people like, is like you said, subjective. I think that is what makes writing and reading amazing. There is something for everyone, maybe even my novel at some point! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
    E

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    1. You’re very welcome. thank you for stopping by!

      So, if you want, you can totally get your book published on Amazon, right now. If you price it between $2.99 and $9.99 for the Kindle, they’ll only take 30% of the profits.

      However, before you do so, may I suggest you get some folks you know & trust to give it a read, and tell you about any issues they found with it. Have them look for plot holes, characters that vanish, or become someone else (not via magic, or course), dangling plot threads, and things of that nature. When they’re finished ripping your baby to shreds (that’s how it’ll feel, but they’re helping you), re-write that sucker, fixing everything they poined out. Next, engage the services of an editor. Once s/he has gone over it with the red pen, re-write again. Send it back once more. Do they same maybe twice more (depending on your finances, and how you two work together), engage a cover artist, and maybe a formater, and then hit that ol’ “publish” button on Amazon.

      I wish you luck, and look forward to reading your story. 🙂

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      1. Thanks for the advice, it’s helpful. I am finding it hard to move forward with it. Procrastination I guess. I am going to pull it out and go through it again and see if I love it still and then possibly move forward! By the way I mentioned your blog on my recent post… In the hope to direct some more writer types your way. Thanks again!

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        1. Procrastination: The writer’s (and probably almost everyone else) second worst enemy. She usually kicks my butt – by I make it so easy for her to do so. 😉
          “Why second worst, Rob?” Glad you asked. I think our worst enemy is self-doubt. That guy is a sneaky S.O.B. First, he kicks my butt by himself, then, he’ll sometimes notice I’m wrestling with Procrastination, and come from behind and kick me in the tenders (so to speak).

          Yes, pull out your novel and look it over again. However, don’t only look to see if you still love it. Look to see if you can get lost within it again. If not, pull up a blank document, and start a new one. I have faith in you.

          You gave my blog a shout out? Sweet! I love shout outs! Thank you for that. I’m gonna go look now. 😀

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  12. I’m sure it is not easy to make it as a writer. Business-wise, it is a hard job, I’m sure. Being a professional writer is hard.

    Sharing your stories with others, I know for some, is hard.

    Being opened-minded and knowing when to accept criticism and what criticism to ignore, that is hard.

    Completing a novel from beginning to end does take dedication and hard work. If 80% of people can’t do this, then 80% of people are too damn lazy to get off their couch and stop watching TV.

    But for the 20%, or whatever, of people that want to do something more constructive, if they want to write, they should do it.

    The moral of the story: you have to get off your ass to chase your dreams.

    Well… metaphorically speaking…

    Excellent post.

    Hey Robert, I’m starting a Skype Writers Group and I wanted to ask if you’d be willing to join us for our first meeting at 2 PM (CST) , 3 PM (EST). I’d love to have you there. If you’re interested, just let me know. My Skype ID is ***** (Edited by R.w.Foster for privacy concerns).

    Thanks,
    James

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    1. Good points, James. Speaking from personal experience, every single one of those things you brought up is very hard. For some of us, having someone we can rely on for support allows this to happen with greater ease. When said support disappears, however, it can remove all desire to chase said dreams.

      The Writer’s group sounds fun. Slight problem: you didn’t say which date. I really hope it wasn’t meant for the sixteenth, as I didn’t comeback here until about 26 minutes into the seventeenth. Send me an e-mail, and I’ll send you my cell. You can text me. By the way, I’m not sure you should have put your Skype name out there like this. 😉 I’ll check to see if I can edit your comment, and disguise it.

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      1. Yeah, I should have gave more advanced notice. The group will meet again on November the 30th at 2 pm (CST).

        I didn’t even think about the skype name thing, you can edit my comment.

        I don’t do any texting with my phone, not even sure it works.

        We are thinking right now of a single place where we can meet up and chat. A lot of the members are members of the Story Cartel course.

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