30 January 2014 @ 09:34 am
Persistence  
Harry Connolly writes sensibly on persistence.

To which I'd add (in re improvement) writers who declare that their lack of success is because they write literature while the rest of the world writes (and reads) crap are probably not going to improve. We don't actually get to decide if our stuff is "literature." That's entirely up the the readership. And "classics" are up to future generations.
 
 
Marissa Lingenmrissa on January 30th, 2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
Well, and let's say that Random Person Who Has Not Met Commercial/Critical Success Yet writes really great literature. Let's just say that they do. Which is a better strategy from their current position: to try to improve something they're doing, or not to try to improve? Because everyone can always improve. That's the great thing about art. You can always mess with it.

So even if the rest of the world writes crap, what's that to Random Person WHNMC/CSY? Eyes on your own paper. Onwards.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 06:06 pm (UTC)
I agree in theory, but in practice? Where is the incentive to improve if you think you are perfect, the problem lies with the rest of the world, cursed as it is with terrible taste?
serialbabbler on January 30th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
Arguably they could choose to compete with themselves (improve from where they started) even if the rest of the world "isn't there yet". *grin* I seriously doubt that's how most people who believe their writing is just too good for the world really think, though.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
Ayup. Or, that is, who knows what they think inside their heads. Posts that run along that line tend to go on about how terrible New York publishing is (because as we all know, it's a total monolith), how crappy taste is These Days, yadda yadda. Which seems to indicate not much self-examination going on, but then, who knows?
Marissa Lingenmrissa on January 30th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
I think that people who equate "literature" with "perfection" have their own stack of problems I cannot even begin to address.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
Yep, beginning with the definition of "literature." (Which, I have discovered in some discussion, is sometimes "classics" [another toughie to define], "what I point at," or even "what I write.")
Marissa Lingenmrissa on January 30th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
Sometimes it even means, "I don't know, but ugh, not that." Which I feel no need to give any credence to, given that I have a friend who is a brilliant English lit prof who works on things like Pat Wrede novels, so I just smile and go on with my life.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
Exactly.
Queen of the Skiesqueenoftheskies on January 30th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC)
I read Kameron Hurley's post and enjoyed it, but Harry's post spoke more to me. Good post.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 06:06 pm (UTC)
Me, too.
Terri-Lynne DeFinobogwitch64 on January 30th, 2014 06:02 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!

Egads, when I ask someone what they write and their answer is "literary fiction" I just want to poke them in the eye with something.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't want to poke anyone in the peepers; my reaction is likelier to be my own eyes doing a lap or two in a circular direction.
Terri-Lynne DeFinobogwitch64 on January 30th, 2014 06:12 pm (UTC)
I would only do it inside my own head. I'm far too nice on the outside to do such a thing. On the inside, however, a snark lives!
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, if I'm face to face I will shut my eyes for the eye roll. I mean, it's good that someone can revel in their greatness. Life is certainly short. My inward snark comes in when that greatness is predicated upon an unfavorable comparison to the rest of the world, full of books like [list of several hundred non-crap faves here].

Edited at 2014-01-30 06:18 pm (UTC)
Terri-Lynne DeFinobogwitch64 on January 30th, 2014 06:48 pm (UTC)
My life motto is "Modesty is for suckers," so I have no problem with reveling in one's own greatness--so long as it's deseved. ;)
Angelic Eye for the Gendered-Species Individual: now what?rysmiel on January 30th, 2014 06:15 pm (UTC)
Some smart stuff there, definitely. I am inclined to look a bit askance at point 2, though. In that while there certainly would be more time/energy/options for having other fun things available if I were to give up - and also with the later point about there being no dishonour in life emergencies getting in the way of one's writing - they do kind of assume the ability to stop writing in the first place, which is not a universal.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC)
I considered that. But considering the title, figured it fit.
asakiyume: feathers on the lineasakiyume on January 30th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
That was an excellent post.

So long as your expectations are not too overblown, I think Try-Really-Hard and Just-Keep-Going will work.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 06:33 pm (UTC)
And that is what persistence really is.
negothicknegothick on January 30th, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
I'm interested in how different writing fiction is from the performing arts. You get immediate feedback about your performance from the audience--or from the lack of an audience--but you can persist in performing music for the same sorts of audiences nearly forever and still not "make it" outside of your amateur circle, no matter HOW much they love you.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
I think that can go for books as well. that is, not the immediate feedback, but writers can find their audience, even if it's a niche audience, readers who will faithfully buy everything that comes out, even if the rest of the world isn't interested.
Danny Adamsmadwriter on January 30th, 2014 10:51 pm (UTC)
All the best writers that I enjoy--at least I consider them the best writers--say that every writer can always get better, no matter how good. The flip side of this, of course, is taking it to heart, because if you don't, you'll never get better since you won't be trying.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
All the best writers who I enjoy say pretty much the same thing.