Archive | June 2014

Writers, how do you deal with ‘dark subjects’?

After all this time, I still have been somewhat afraid to try fiction. I write non-fiction stuff on a pretty regular basis for a couple of places, but am dying to write fiction. However, in spite of the desire, not too many subjects have presented themselves in ways I think are original. So I finally came up with an idea, but it is so very, very dark and unsavory that I’m not sure if I can force myself to write about it.

First, doesn’t writing something dark with a horrendous theme take its toll on a writer? Can it depress you to a dangerous state of mind? Do readers think deep down you advocate or accept this type of behavior or that the concept is okay with the writer?

How do you write a long piece day after day without succumbing to a miserable attitude and outlook due to your subject matter? These are questions more mature writers may have dealt with long ago, but for a beginner of fiction, they seem troubling. I would love to hear comments from writers who regularly deal with taboo or horrific subjects( are there any in these modern times?)I wonder how to keep your equilibrium and sanity while exploring a subject so distasteful you can barely think about it.

I am at the core a fairly sensitive person in regards to others’ plight. I support and volunteer and attempt to make the world right in very small ways, but feel the weight of the world on me sometimes and cannot bear all the bad news I hear. My faith is all that helps me get through the inhumanity of man to man,for example.

I cringe and shed tears about the abuse shown children, women and pets. Of course, I feel the same about inhumane and abusive treatment to anyone and feel I must make my part of the world better for others.

You all may think me naive and a soft-heart-ed fool who could never cover a horrible and disgusting topic in a realistic way, but I do feel strongly about what I am contemplating writing.

Please help with your comments?

 

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Writers need patience

The world we live in is full of folks who want and now even expect instant gratification. The idea of slowly moving up the work chain is foreign to many people now. The concept that when you want something that costs a lot of money, you save steadily and slowly for the ability to have it, is lost on many people in our modern society. Waiting for anything involves acquiring patience and that is often unheard of in our circles today.

Writers really need patience. There are so many instances where patience is vital to a writer, even more so the average person and we forget its value.

First a writer must be patient as they search their mind and soul and heart for ideas. They must find meaningful issues to write about if they are to be successful. Though not necessarily earth shattering topics, they must be important to the writer to drive the process of creating an artistic effort. Like everyone else, we writers want it and we want it now.

Then there is the process we use to hone those writing skills and learn the trade or art if you prefer. Some of us can write for years and still not be proficient in the skills needed for writing success. Some of us are creative and have the imagination to come up with interesting and unusual ideas. Some have got the grammar and technical aspects of writing down to a science so they have excelled at that part of writing. Most of us, unless very old have not reached the point, however, where we can do it all. We still need patience no matter what amount of success we have had or not had, to learn all we can to be the best writer we can be.

When we have tackled all these parts of the writing process and we feel we have finally produced something of worth, we need to succeed at selling our work or at least sharing it so it gets read. Once again, patience is required as we receive rejection after rejection, but we really are asking someone else to trust us and have faith in us even when we do not have those confidences in ourselves. Patience is as important during this process as a thick skin and an easy going attitude.

Writers make little money unless their books are on the bestselling lists. It takes your patience to wait for a publisher to believe in you and offer to publish you. If you consistently produce good work, they may take a chance, but for most of us, until we have been writing for decades, we still produce crap occasionally or even mostly. Patience will serve you when you take your time to write the best you can. Then more patience is required to edit and rewrite what needs to be done.

The patience needed to consistently produce thousands of words daily when you are writing a book is nothing to laugh at; it is tough work. You must have the patience needed to write every day even though the finish line is far away and what you write one day may need to be deleted the next day.

Patience is a virtue for all, but for a writer it is a necessity.

My personal thoughts and ravings about- Selfishness, charity and character

I am constantly aware of how many selfish people are out there in the world. Many folks just do not care about anyone but themselves. If it directly affects them, they might listen to the issue. If it means a reduction in their own lifestyle by involving less money, time, relaxation or fun for them, they will give it some attention. But that is often the extent of it. Most people will not sacrifice their own comfort or happiness to help another person or another cause. This is unfortunate and not the principles on which this country was founded.

Having just gone through the immense planning involved for a fairly large fundraiser I know many people are very willing to help out and support it. What concerns me is the percentage of people you should expect to help is very, very small. Many people, even though it is for their own community, school or even their kids have little interest in supporting anything.

I must stop right here and mention, the already mentioned fundraiser turned out great due to some super bidders at the silent auction and a great many wonderful companies and individuals that donated items for that event. I am also aware of the fact that companies and individuals are inundated with requests for donations and contributions. I do feel their frustration as they must pick and choose who they can help. The problem was that the small amount of people who were helping were a fraction of the ones that should have been there.The fundraiser was really successful due to a few people working extremely hard to guarantee that, but I keep thinking, what if we all that should have helped; could have done all they could; what would the results be then? It would be absolutely amazing.

“Many hands make light work!” It is a principle we should all employ to get those large jobs done. It does not just apply to a project or fundraiser, but filling our churches and policing our organizations and government bodies and keeping politicians ethical. Lots of people each doing their share, though it just be a little, will really get things done.

I probably must admit that many people are super busy these days and barely have time to breathe, but usually this is by choice and does not just imply they are working at their job too hard. There is also a valid excuse that many of us are facing some serious financial shortfalls due to a number of factors such as unemployment and underemployment, rising prices and a lack of ability for whatever reason to just make ends meet, never mind doing extra stuff.

As people in this tough economy struggle to do just the bare minimum and we suddenly ask them to increase their financial load, it is no wonder they balk at this idea. I certainly understand as financial challenges are not new to me either.

What I keep going back to, however, is some of these things benefit your children or maybe yourself. Some of the things you’re asked to do would involve an hour or two of time within a month’s or six week period, not too taxing folks.

When I see people who go out and party at bars several times a month, or have thousands of dollars of ink all over their body, but refuse to spend a few dollars to help a cause or their children, it does depress me.

Fortunately, I can thrive on the few people who go the extra mile or support things with their scare money or their precious minutes. I applaud those folks because they know the true meaning of charity. Charitable donations of time, money or work, should typically involve a sacrifice of some sort to make it charitable. When we give to others, we should not measure the cost to us, but give from our heart and even a tiny, permanent part of ourselves as God would expect us to do.

Well, these are just my very own personal thoughts and are not meant to ridicule or complain about other people’s efforts. We each must decide for ourselves what is part of our character.

Does being obsessive hinder or help a writer?

Obsessiveness can be a very bad trait if you get so overwhelmed and inundated with a thought or project that all you think about is whatever the focus in your life is right now. It can make you unpopular and even ostracized. It can isolate you and push others away who do not share your passion about that particular thing.

To me, being obsessive means I am giving something the most attention that I am able to bestow on anything. It indicates that I am planning every detail. That in order to do my best at this particular enterprise, I am spending all my time, every single moment exploring whatever it needs to make this a priority in my life. By excluding almost everything else, I can make it a success. This is my thinking.
However, this thought process may make me too stiff and unyielding and not open to other ideas or important elements in my surroundings. It could mean withdrawing inside myself instead or being open to other people and their needs. It could chase people away or eliminate completely the open mindedness that is necessary to produce original thought.

On the other hand, obsessive behavior may also be thought of as stick-to-it-ive-ness and the dog-with–a bone syndrome that makes you a steady person with no chance of losing sight of the prize or keeping to your mission till you accomplish the results you want. It could be just a matter of perception.

When I watch my husband puzzle out why something does not wok it drives me slightly insane. He can spend hours upon hours figuring out how to fix it or make something work even though he has no expertise in that field, but his determination is also obsessive. He will not quit until he has found the answer to the problem. For him doing his thing, it is just seeing the job through or not giving up until there is nothing left to do. I can’t understand his obsession, but mine makes perfect sense.

As a writer I see both sides of being obsessive. I see the dangers and the benefits. If your obsession closes your mind to everything else, you are being cheated of the chance to let imagination explode without boundaries. You may eliminate choices because of an obsessive nature about those things you have already decided upon. An example could be the decided theme of the plot if your characters suddenly take the story in a different direction. This could be very bad.

The other side of this issue is that an obsessive person may stick to a writing project even though it is troublesome. They may not give up easily if at all. They might be the person that takes on a writing career because they are obsessive to the point of not stopping till they get it right. Their obsession could make them spend every moment possible learning the craft and never being discouraged by other people’s opinions or rejection notices. This may be the type of person who says, I will be a writer, I will be published. I will succeed at this chosen endeavor because I will never call it quits.

Obsessive or just a person with the character traits we admire in our heroes? Those that win the race against all odds are obsessive as they train unmercifully for long hours in all kinds of adverse conditions. Those that find the strength and courage to run into burning buildings because the idea of saving a child is the only thing they can think of even if their own life might be lost. Isn’t that a kind of obsession and aren’t we glad they have such a trait?

And what do you think?