Author Topic: The Failed Novelist [MERGED]  (Read 19434 times)  

Offline EC

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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 08:18:59 AM »
I would argue that you're neither a failure nor a quitter; you're someone who has tried something that isn't for you and has moved on.  Not every career path is for everyone.  (LOL, either I typed quilter out of habit or autocorrect changed quitter to quilter; editing...)

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Offline Anarchist

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2017, 08:19:39 AM »
I agree with Barnett.

That's not to say quitting is bad. If someone is unwilling or unable to do what it takes to succeed, she should quit.

No shame in that.
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Offline EC

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2017, 08:23:39 AM »
I think it's the sourness she shows to other authors that rankles Barnett. It's unnecessary and something we see way too often.

Offline Word Fan

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2017, 08:32:19 AM »
I would argue that you're neither a failure nor a quitter; you're someone who has tried something that isn't for you and has moved on.

Except that if you read her original piece, she hasn't moved on. She seems to be wallowing in self-pity:

I'm scarred. I still read, but stick to the classics. I have next to no interest in contemporary fiction and avoid literary debuts by British female writers, which all seem so safe and samey. I've a higher tolerance for American writing, which seems willing to take more risks and subvert gender expectations. I don't go to writers' groups any more, either: the whole scene is a complete turn-off for me now. Four years on, I still can't look at the new fiction tables in Waterstones; they make me feel like an infertile woman at a baby shower. I feel pity and scorn for people with dreams. You're writing a novel yourself? Good for you. Now please shut up about it.

This is not someone who has tried one career path and has faced the fact that it just isn't for her and is looking forward. This is someone who can't let go of the past.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 09:10:06 AM by Word Fan »

Offline B.A. Spangler

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2017, 08:36:38 AM »
I would argue that you're neither a failure nor a quitter; you're someone who has tried something that isn't for you and has moved on.  Not every career path is for everyone.  (LOL, either I typed quilter out of habit or autocorrect changed quitter to quilter; editing...)

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This!

Offline Anarchist

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2017, 08:37:26 AM »
I think it's the sourness she shows to other authors that rankles Barnett. It's unnecessary and something we see way too often.

Anon's post reeked of emotionalism. A quote:

Quote
"Four years on, I still can't look at the new fiction tables in Waterstones; they make me feel like an infertile woman at a baby shower. I feel pity and scorn for people with dreams."


I don't mind it. If she's trying to influence a rational audience, it's a form of self-sabotage.

If she's just emoting, and doing so has a cathartic effect, good for her and the Guardian (misery and misplaced blame are great fodder).
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

Offline Greg Dragon

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 08:39:34 AM »
I think it's the sourness she shows to other authors that rankles Barnett. It's unnecessary and something we see way too often.

YES!

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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 08:40:24 AM »
Except that if you read her original piece, she hasn't moved on. She seems to be wallowing in self-pity:

I’m scarred. I still read, but stick to the classics. I have next to no interest in contemporary fiction and avoid literary debuts by British female writers, which all seem so safe and samey. I’ve a higher tolerance for American writing, which seems willing to take more risks and subvert gender expectations. I don’t go to writers’ groups any more, either: the whole scene is a complete turn-off for me now. Four years on, I still can’t look at the new fiction tables in Waterstones; they make me feel like an infertile woman at a baby shower. I feel pity and scorn for people with dreams. You’re writing a novel yourself? Good for you. Now please shut up about it.

This is not someone who has tried one career path and has faced the fact that it just isn't for her and is looking forward. This is someone who can't let go of the past.

She very well may feel like a failure--and, that may be in part because she's accepting other's judgments of her. But that's up to her to deal with.  I see no need to put my own judgments on her.   I've tried things, given up on them for a variety of reasons, some of which I have regrets about, but I don't consider myself either a failure or a quitter, even for those things I have regrets over--they just weren't the right options for me at the time.   I could see myself blogging about it as a way to try to deal with it. *shrug*. I have my own things to deal with. :D. There are quilts waiting to be sewn....

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Offline Mercia McMahon

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2017, 08:42:07 AM »
A typical example of a social media post masquerading as journalism in a newspaper that used to be part of the quality press. It makes me wonder how the Guardian can be massively in debt when they have little journalism that would be worth paying for.


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Offline Seneca42

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2017, 09:00:26 AM »
9 times out of 10 times what authors are really upset about when they fail is that their imagined path to riches isn't materializing. That this "thing" they thought would save them from their horrible, miserable existence...doesn't seem like it will. That the "thing" that would make them special...isn't going to.

If they truly loved writing, failure would sting much less. They'd still, after all, be able to write.

I guarantee if you dropped a couple million in her lap to never write again, she'd take that offer in a split second.

It's easy to think the reason you're upset is because of failure, but for most people, when you look closely, it's more the MONEY you were hoping to make that sends you into a child-like tantrum.


Offline WHDean

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 09:01:45 AM »
Every kid in Canada who plays hockey dreams of making it to the NHL. Very, very few ever do. Yet rinks are booked up year round and backyard ponds are overrun by adults who've never made it to the Big League. Why? What's wrong with these failed hockey players? Nothing. They started playing hockey because they loved the game, and they keep playing hockey because they still love the game.

I've met people like the anonymous failed writer. In my experience, they don't write because, like hockey players, they enjoy doing it. They crave fame and, for whatever reason, they've come to believe that writing novels will get it for them. Naturally, when they don't get the fame they crave, they give up writing because they never loved doing it in the first place; they loved what they thought it could do for them.

Given this piece of confessional drivel, I suspect her new bid for fame is newspaper writing.


Offline WHDean

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 09:03:31 AM »
A typical example of a social media post masquerading as journalism in a newspaper that used to be part of the quality press. It makes me wonder how the Guardian can be massively in debt when they have little journalism that would be worth paying for.

No kidding.



Offline Mari Oliver

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2017, 09:17:40 AM »
She's not a failure. I mean, four years in? She's probably just hit a snag. The writing bug will (hopefully) bite her again but this time going Indie might be a better option.

Offline Word Fan

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2017, 09:18:58 AM »
If they truly loved writing, failure would sting much less. They'd still, after all, be able to write.

I think that this is it, right there. Whatever writing was supposed to be, or become, for this person, it wasn't or didn't. When that didn't happen, the bitterness set in.

People who truly love writing write no matter what. How much, how often, what type... that is different for everyone, but the writing continues. The words force their way to the surface and insist upon being written.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 09:20:24 AM »
I feel a great deal of empathy for her and for other literary fiction authors who are still trapped in the traditional publishing mill. It seems quite possible for such writers to spend years on a manuscript and produce something incredible, only to have it turned down for reasons that have nothing to do with aesthetic quality. There's no way to know if that was the case with this particular author, but I'm sure it happens. Furthermore, it must be very hard to put your heart into something you've always wanted to do and (in your own eyes) utterly failing at it. I hope Mari's right that she'll rediscover her desire to write.




Offline Athena Grayson

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 09:22:39 AM »
People like "having written" more than they like "writing."

Also @Betsy When quilters quit, they go on The Patch <g>

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Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 09:29:12 AM »
Yet another butthurt snowflake who has to vent her over-exaggerated angst about her hurt feelz because the rest of the world didn't immediately snap up her masterpiece.

Yes, she's a quitter. There are best selling, world famous authors who spent years accumulating scores of rejection slips by publishers before some editor finally realized what she had in her hands and snapped it up. And there's always indie publishing. But instead of sticking with it or learning to do it herself, she gave up and chooses to be snarky to the people who haven't given up on their dream.

And if she didn't want to be judged, maybe spewing her attitude in a public setting wasn't the way to go.

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Offline Mari Oliver

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2017, 09:38:26 AM »
But maybe she was just venting? Isn't the piece anonymous?

Look, all I know is that I want to quit daily but don't. I vent about it to fellow authors and to my family. Writing is the easiest part of being an author (the funnest part, too). But when you throw publishing into the mix, [crap] gets real super fast. As a newbie struggling to keep my head above water, I've spent a lot of money on covers and other things publishing related that haven't helped me a bit. It's frustrating when you pour your heart and soul into a book, only to see that hard work flop. However, this is the reality of working in the creative arts where everything is so subjective...to a degree. One novel simply isn't going to get an author 'there' 90%+ of the time. Writing more books is the only real answer for any of us, and if you feel like you aren't accomplishing anything, then that can be a killer for creativity.

I have friends still trying to get into traditional publishing years and years after we started on the serious writing journey together. In fact, from the OG group, myself and one other guy are publishing Indie while the rest are languishing in rewrites and rejections. WHY?!?!?!! WHY? Seriously...why? Because validation. It's the most ridiculous reason to throw away the chance at a career writing fiction. So, I really hope she is able to reclaim that passion and desire for herself, because every author deserves an audience. It doesn't come easy though.

Offline LadyStarlight

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2017, 09:53:42 AM »
9 times out of 10 times what authors are really upset about when they fail is that their imagined path to riches isn't materializing. That this "thing" they thought would save them from their horrible, miserable existence...doesn't seem like it will. That the "thing" that would make them special...isn't going to.

If they truly loved writing, failure would sting much less. They'd still, after all, be able to write.

I guarantee if you dropped a couple million in her lap to never write again, she'd take that offer in a split second.

It's easy to think the reason you're upset is because of failure, but for most people, when you look closely, it's more the MONEY you were hoping to make that sends you into a child-like tantrum.

I so, so agree with this.  :D ;D ;) :) :P
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Offline Dan C. Rinnert

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2017, 10:08:56 AM »
But maybe she was just venting? Isn't the piece anonymous?

That's what I thought about it.  She's telling how she feels.  She's likely experiencing grief over the loss of a dream.  And maybe she's still a bit in the anger stage of grief.

And I would be willing to bet that some of the people attacking her for the article have, from time to time, felt the exact same way.  Maybe they didn't write their feelings down, but they felt the exact same thing.

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2017, 10:35:10 AM »
That's what I thought about it.  She's telling how she feels.  She's likely experiencing grief over the loss of a dream.  And maybe she's still a bit in the anger stage of grief.

And I would be willing to bet that some of the people attacking her for the article have, from time to time, felt the exact same way.  Maybe they didn't write their feelings down, but they felt the exact same thing.

Yeah, I can certainly remember feeling that way in my twenties. It's pretty alien to who I am today, but I'm sure I could dig up some old journal entries that sound very similar. Fortunately some of us were born before the age of publishing all your angst for the world to see 24/7. The internet is a wonder that makes my life much richer, but I'm SO-O-O-O grateful for having been able to grow up and find myself in private!

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2017, 11:02:54 AM »
I havent read all the replies (sorry, trying to get the kids to wash their darned hair at the same time) so apologies if anyone has said this already, but this whole article smacks of yet another person burned by the strictures of the trad publishing industry. If that industry works for you then great, but for women like this one she needs to realise she is one of hundreds of thousands who have had one too many rejections and lost all confidence and perspective.

Someone needs to tell her to dust off those rejected books and get her butt over to kboards, it could change everything for her.

Offline MarilynVix

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2017, 11:38:26 AM »
Um, the first thing I noticed is that this article was published on April 1. I don't know in England if April Fool's Day is a huge day to watch out for practical jokes published on that day, but it seems that this whole article was taken as a serious gripe. Of course, comments have been closed off, so we can't even ask that question. But it wouldn't be the first time I've seen articles put out there to push the buttons of Indie authors or other writers to get people to click and read. And April Fool's Day is an essential time to look out for this.

So, just saying. But the second article is a response. So, I guess it was a legitimate article. But these thoughts ran through my head as I was reading it. Is this an April Fool's joke?

Though I have to admit, this whole thread has helped me to stop agonizing about my 1 and 2 star reviews. It does take guts to self-publish and put it out there for any reviews. 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 11:50:21 AM by MarilynVix »

Offline Lady Runa

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Re: The Failed Novelist
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2017, 11:57:35 AM »
From the article:

Quote
It was my masterpiece, but it bombed, too.

This. This is her problem. She raised the bar not just too high but impossibly high. Nothing less than perfection would do. And when her perfection tanked... so did her world.

I learned this lesson a long time ago: never to take anything in life too seriously. That's the only way to save your sanity and your dignity. After all, Dostoevsky never thought of himself as DOSTOEVSKY: he simply needed the money to pay off his gambling debts :)

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