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Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed. : Conversation question • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed.

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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DrG2
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby DrG2 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:09 pm

Without knowing anything about the person,
the best thing you can tell most people that take up writing is to find something else to do, because the odds are so against them.

What isn't clear is why the odds are against them. Why are most prospective writers doomed to never sell a novel?
How much of it is simple intelligence? The best writers are usually smarter than the average person, but you don't need to be a genius to be a writer.
How much of it is not getting enough quality practice? I dunno. It's really hard to get any quality practice, because it's hard to get quality feedback on your work.
How much of it is je ne sais quoi that is unteachable? I dunno. Do you need to be the kind of person who can tell a story and get the rapt attention of his audience? I can't do that when I spontaneously speak, but I can when I read my own or others' stories.

I just read a(n old) short Steven King essay where he suggested that rejections should be the test of continuing or not. He said that 6 rejections should be disregarded, and even sixty shouldn't discourage you. But if you get to 600 or a thousand, it might be wise to try something else.

You have to have enough guts to rack up those rejections.

TerryRodgers
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby TerryRodgers » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:27 am

If I use the 600 rejections as a measuring stick, then I have a few more novels in me :D

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Fishgeek
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby Fishgeek » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:04 am

I've never had a rejection in my nonfiction writing. Something tells me my fiction writing will be different. But I will keep on indefinitely if need be. I enjoy writing too much to give it up. It's actually a way to wind down before bedtime for me.

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stranger09
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby stranger09 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:24 am

Chuck Wendig had a few things on his mind regarding this article

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/03 ... cher-dude/

I think he pretty much nailed it.

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updog
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby updog » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:31 pm

"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



TerryRodgers
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby TerryRodgers » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:39 pm

I agree, Updog.

People can trash the ex-teacher's thoughts all they want, but he's right. Show me one million aspiring writers and tell me how many of those one million will ever have the talent and drive to become published. And I don't mean published and mommy and daddy buy it. That's how I read it. He's throwing out a warning. When I was in the Navy, I was in the Nuclear program. I knew going in that 50% will not make it through. It's a fact about everything in life. Not everyone is destine to become a published author. Simple as that. And I'm sure there are people out there that have been writing and trying for 20, 30, 40 or more years.

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DrG2
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby DrG2 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:21 pm

I liked Wendig's blog. I agreed with about the same proportion of it as the original story.

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Fishgeek
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Re: Insights of a former MFA teacher. Many of us are screwed

Postby Fishgeek » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:15 am


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