The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - Fuck It, It's A Journal Entry
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Fuck It, It's A Journal Entry|
The nature of being at Clarion when you're a journeyman writer - as I am - is that you're gonna take some profound hits. You're gonna do your best, and sometimes you're gonna flop hard on the ground. It happens.
When my friends come to me and say, "I just got rejected here. Should I continue?", my inevitable answer is, "I dunno. Should you?" Because to be a writer is to be rejected. Almost every writer has their stories about sending out a billion manuscripts and getting a billion rejections as you learn the craft. Even the best writers get terrible reviews from people who just plain don't like their shit. As I've said before, there's a cottage industry devoted to slagging Shakespeare, and if fuckin' Shakespeare can't get the love of everyone, what chance do you have, young Padawan?
If you can't take people telling you that you suck, then no. You shouldn't be a writer. I hear the gas stations have some pretty good jobs, though.
And Clarion will show you your flaws. Clarion will strip away everything you thought was good and show you the ugly underpinnings. All those lovely tricks you've been using to masquerade your weaknesses? Not here, boy-O. Not here. And we're going to strip away the good bits and make you look at the parts you really don't swing with.
It's going to strip you down as a writer, if you're like me. And what's left?
For me, it's just some unformed ball of desire. I don't know how to not write. It's arguable that I should continue, given my talents - but realistically, no matter how many years of evidence I have that I'm not good enough, no matter how many of my weaknesses get shoved in my face, no matter what gets taken from me, I keep going, "But I have this idea..." And I've got to keep chugging on.
That's not admirable. It's not like I'm some bold man, choosing to overcome the odds. No, "writing" for me is in the same vein as "making sarcastic comments" or "looking at pornography" - I'm not sure what I'd do otherwise. Applauding me for writing is like going, "Hey, Ferrett! Great bowel movement!" It's not like I know how to stop.
(And it may well be that the difference between my stories and my bowel movements... Okay, not going there.)
I don't know how it is for other writers. But for me, I gotta storytell. It'd be a fuck of a lot easier if I could just put it down, because I'm almost fucking forty and I still have miles to go. Clarion has shown me how far from the starting gate I am. It'd be nice if I could just, y'know, take up something simple like wicker basket weaving. Some days I wish someone would come to me out of nowhere and say, "You have no career, no hope, no chance. Give it up." And some part of me would sigh with deep relief.
As it is? I'm here. I'm chugging. I'm working through some pretty terrible weaknesses. I can tell an okay story, but can I break through my own flaws to get to tell a great one? Hard to say. All I can do is keep trying.
Some day I might even get somewhere.
I'm glad you've come to your senses.
(I was going to say: "Oh, bah humfuck"...but I'm saving that for another time. You're welcome.)
You already know you can't stop, and that folks won't stop applauding your every (please Jesus let me mean proverbial) bowel movement.
Indulge your compulsions, then, knowing that we will indulge you until you finally break through and write something unforgivably salable.
(Then you may expect us to turn on you like a pack of rabid hyraxes; Morrissey was right, after all...)
But having done so, I must take Guthrie-sized umbrage with the "great jobs at gas stations" line. Oh no there are not, I assure you.
I love you, as you know, and always look forward to your continued literary antics, however zany.
Yours in rock,
|Date:||July 30th, 2008 01:35 am (UTC)|| |
Re: I'm glad you've come to your senses.
<3 your shade icon
and for ferrett, tiptree was, what, 55?
Re: I'm glad you've come to your senses.
Welcome back, dude. I missed you.
|Date:||July 30th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)|| |
You can tell me all you want that I have no reason to be proud of you.
I know better.
I am proud of you.
I could punch him (again.)
At this moment you're in the oven, all baking meat and oozing juices, and wondering if you're going to be just an okay Thanksgiving turkey or a really memorable one. How can you tell right now how good you'll taste when you're still in the oven? You'll know when you're taken out of the oven, rest on the cutting board for a while, then served up on a platter for everyone to have a slice of.
A Muse is really one helluva burden. There's so many other bloody nice things you could be doing instead, but no. There you are, putting the words down. Framing the shot. Trying to get the right combination of sounds. Trying to get the story across into somebody else's head.
Man, I'd think you'd hear about sucking way more often if you worked in a gas station. I mean, as a writer you're often somewhere by yourself, writing. At a gas station convenience store people will tell you you suck just because you charged them for gum.
clearly knows, the fact that you're compelled to create does not make what you do less admirable than if you were having your tea one day and took an idle fucking fancy to it.
Maybe sometimes we get to pick our obsessions, maybe sometimes we don't, but they reveal us either way.
Well, didn't Alexander McCall Smith publish his first book when he was, like, 60? You got 20 years to go, sir. Plenty of time.
So the choices are writer or gas station attendant?
The thing is, you are a writer. Writers write, you write, you are a writer. You'll probably always be a writer. There is no "good enough" to be a writer.
Something like Clarion may help you hone your skills to be more of the writer you want to be. I mean, you have a large blog, you have published books, and you have a fan base that would probably help you turn a profit if you self-published. You are a writer. Those would be measures of success for many.
But those aren't your goals. Your goals are to write published and popular fiction. I hope you'll achieve those goals, but I don't know that you will. I don't even know if those will still be your goals in a year or two years, or if once having accomplished them, those goals will be satisfying.
I do know for a solid fact, however, that there is no question of whether or not you are a writer. The goal of Clarion is not to make you a writer, but to make your writing more enjoyable and more likely to meet your goals. That's the pressure you should be putting on Clarion, and not the other way around.
|Date:||July 30th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)|| |
The question I always have for aspiring writer is "then what?"
If you're just writing to tell a story, RPGing ought to cover that fix (with caveats).
I mean, you already have a job you like, so what does writing professionally get you?
If you don't know how not to write, then you are a writer at the cellular level. How you measure your success is up to you, but from my perspective you're doing pretty damn well.
Some day I might even get somewhere.
You've written some amusing webcomics, have a massive blog readership that thinks you make profound and thought-provoking statements numerous times, and you're a published non-fiction author.
Seems clear to me you've obviously got some kind of skills beyond mere mortals.
I'd like to encourage you to read Richard Laymon's memoir of the craft. He wrote a book that I loved, called The Stake.
Agreed. I'm young and overly impressed myself and think I'll be published in the next few years.
But if I live to 100 and am never published, I will never stop and it will be worth it. I tell the stories for the love of them, and you will have to pry my pen from my cold, dead hands.