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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls? : Goal Posts • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 8:03 pm
by ISDAMan
I’m a musician, not just a writer. I mingle with people in both camps. What I’ve found is that both groups are attempting to continually show that they are good enough. Their methods tend to be opposite from one another. Musician’s, even successful ones, tend to have a past wherein the product they put out just wasn’t that polished. Nonetheless, in those early days, they put it out there. They don’t make a dime. Still, they keep doing it until they get it right. I like how the band Third Day said that, after their initial success, they had to go learn how to actually play their instruments. The actors are much the same. With what little skills they have, they will get up on that stage and keep doing it until they get it right.

Writers are very different. Sure, for all three of these groups, there are establishments trying to tell you that you’re not good enough. But, why do writers seem to listen so much? In fear, they’ll hold back their work. They will do many of the same personal advancement type things as their artistic counterparts, except put their work out there. Go to Deviantart.com. Some of every range of artist is there putting their work out there for all the world (except China and North Korea) to see. Like musicians and actors, many of them parlay this unpaid activity into successful careers.

Most people in their artistic fields are not going to become big successes. That’s just a fact. Another fact is that, the less you put it out there, the less likely you’re going to achieve success in it. Across all these fields, all these artists tend to believe in themselves between bouts of doubting their skills and marveling at what others can do. Fledgeling visual artists still post their finger paints right next to photoshop and illustrator wizards. High school has bins still storm the stage. Ballers on a budget still beg for deals on studio time and free beats and even rap over tagged ones. All the while, writers line up with their presentations for their furtive editorial gods. Why?

Why do we, as writers, need to be beholden to them as in the days of old? Thanks to common to all tech advancements, I have my own music studio. Visual artists, actors, and writers have the same advantage. Being discovered by the big money is a wonderful goal. No one needs to wait in line for it though. Put it out there. That’s how YouTube stars have ended up on your TV in commercials and with actual programs of their own. I think that writers need to risk creating vehicles for their expressions, vehicles that rely totally upon themselves. Truth be told, the big guys want to pay you too little and make you do tons of work they should be doing for having access to your works anyway. So, why not do it for yourself. Every media industry, even the adult industry, is losing their grip on who does and does not become a success.. What reason i s there other than fear to keep writers planted in their seats?

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:39 am
by KurtKilbourne
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say most authors are introverts. The personality type really lends itself well to the profession. Don't get up in arms, I'm saying all writer's are shy...there is a big 'ole difference between between shy and being introvertive.

One of the key characteristics of an introvert is not speaking (read: sharing) until they have the perfect thing to say.

Imagine an argument, debate, or just plain old conversation between an extrovert and an introvert. Extroverts tend to spit out whatever comes to mind without thinking, this had its advantages...mainly in that lots of ideas are produced in a short amount of time. They have no trouble talking a loud to groups and generally will say whatever is in their head. Introverts on the other hand, take time to form the perfect response before speaking/sharing. They may produce only one good idea/thought to an extroverts fifty, but it's a damn good idea because while the extrovert has spent five minutes rambling...the introvert has spent five minutes thinking about how to properly convey their message.

Also (and what I'm about to say applies to actors and musicians as well) for every 1,000 writers that start a book...I'd say 100 actually finish in a reasonable amount of time...10 of those will be get published the traditional route and maybe 1 of those will get a decent deal from their publisher. Those are totally rough numbers, but you get the idea...as with anything, many start and never finish and those that do...well, the success pool is more like a bathtub.

You are correct though, being active with your brand is the only way to push towards success without sheer, dumb luck.

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:35 am
by Terry T.A. Rodgers
When it comes to the writing world, I am definitely an introvert. I just got back from a conference I attend every year called ThrillerFest. Actually, I am a staff member and help organize and run the conference. As with the last five years I have attended, many of my author friends wonder why I do not use all of the connections I have made to push my writing career forward. I've never pitched my stuff at the conference. I've only sent query letters. I always tell them that in my day career I am a CTO of an insurance firm. I've been in the IT field for over 20 years. My degrees are in technology. I am comfortable and knowledgeable in most aspects of technology, thus I am an extrovert in this field. But when it comes to writing, I believe I am still learning the skill to be an exceptional writer. For this reason, I don't like to discuss or show my novels.

This year things changed. I once again tried to remain quiet about my writing but everyone wouldn't let me. Even an agent I consider a good friend of mine, aka the shark, forced me to tell her about my current novel. I'm sure it came off as a horrible bucket of chum. I told her I would never submit to her for fear of wrecking a friendship and destroying any confidence I have. Needless to say, she is going to help me with my query in exchange for a few chapters. Another huge writer, I believe she has sold over 100 million books, asked to see my current novel. She said I'm too nice to remain unpublished. Who am I to disagree. :D

So even though I tried to remain an introvert, maybe this is helping my career more than being an extrovert. Maybe this is my year. :D

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:43 am
by KurtKilbourne
Good luck!

I really think everyone should take time to understand more about different personality types. Not only does it help you cope with how you handle things, it can give you much more perspective into the way other people operate (in fact, many of us do this for our fictional characters).

An introvert that can learn to operate as an extrovert is a force to be reckoned with 8-).

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:05 pm
by Silvertide
I kind of agree with what Kurt was saying about introverts. We want to come up with something perfect to say before we let anyone know about it. Acting and writing are in totally different worlds. The only way to get better at acting is to act, and you can't really do that alone, in your room. You need an instructor and an audience from my understanding. With books it is something you made all your own. It is all of your creativity spilled out onto blanks pages in the form of words. It's something you slaved over for hours and hours, perfecting each individual word.

Though I agree that we writers should just put our stuff out there and get better, I'm trying to explain why some/many don't. I'm honestly all for putting your stuff out there, and you make a good point. We should just get it over with, have people read it, and improve.

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:48 am
by updog

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:14 pm
by mammamaia
i've never been 'locked behind any walls'... i've wandered the world over since the early 70s, writing in bars, restaurants, on planes, trains, buses, ferries, ocean liners and a container ship while semi-circumnavigating the globe, in cars, bus terminals, train stations and airports... in homes of my own and house/pet-sitting in others' homes in various american states and canadian provinces, as well as italy, france and mexico... have rented digs in puerto rico and on the island of tinian, had a free condo provided in return for doing 6 script rewrites in bogota, colombia... and am now writing this from my last [i hope!] home of my own [rented, but all mine!], in vilcabamba, ecuador, where residents often live well past 100... so, at 'only' 76, i should be good for a lot more writing, even if it is 'behind my walls'... the weather here is always perfect though, so i'll have the door open and since the grounds here are like a park, i'll not be totally house-bound!

so much for the question.........................

love and hugs, maia

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:14 pm
by mocha10
The whole topic of why are writers locked behind their walls is very thought provoking. In so many areas of my life I would be considered an extrovert. I fought my way up the corporate ladder, a female in the male dominated construction industry. When my lack of education became a liability, I decided to go back to school. I was a wife, a mother of 2, a full-time plus manager on a 35 million dollar construction project, and a part time student (for 7 years). I started, grew, and sold a successful accounting and tax practice after 26 years. I held numerous professional association positions, traveled all over the US facilitating leadership conferences, and taught continuing ed at a local college. Yet, I whimper at the thought of submitting my writing for public consumption (and rejection). Not sure if that makes me an introvert or just plain chicken. I wonder, does it get easier?

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:54 am
by CantSkate
It may have a lot to do with the nature of the beast. Musicians are encouraged from day one to express themselves publically. How many school concerts have you been to. It doesn't matter (nor should it) if they're good or not. Yet writing is a different animal, only the best get picked to be read publically. This creates that self doubt that I have when it comes to writing. I am a Firefighter, EMT, Instructor, former Paratrooper, and a Manager. No one would ever accuse me of being introverted or lacking in confidence, except when it comes to my writings.

That's my two cents

Re: Why Are Writers Locked Behind Their Walls?

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:49 am
by Loren Killdeer
I think that it has to do with the act of writing. You usually put on paper what you won't say in real life, and I guess its hard to show to anyone else. But once you lost the fear, I guess!