Hi everyone! I want to show you a prime example of why fear kept me away from fiction all those years. In addition to the type of scenario I’m about to show you, it was also the intimidation about agents and slush piles and rejection letters and all that stuff. Worst of all for me was the fellow writer snobbery that goes on.
There are two types of people in this world – no three:
1. Those who have zero desire to write.
2. Those who want to write but don’t consider themselves good writers.
3. Those who label themselves writers (regardless of whether or not they have talent).
Now the third personality type is what’s most dangerous to the second group. The second group, where I am now with my fiction, get intimidated by the third group. Well, until someone like Geoff Shaw unleashes their freaking honey badger because she finally knows she has permission to do it any way she sees fit!
The third group has two sub sections in it. One sub-group is kind and helpful, always enjoying seeing a new writer develop. It’s as thrilling for THEM to see you succeed as it is for you. The second sub-group, which unfortunately is the majority of people, grow up early on egotistically calling themselves writers, and are the snobs.
These people will criticize everything you do if it’s not in line with what THEY believe is the true “writer’s life.” That means suffering for your craft, painstakingly taking decades to create the great American novel, owning rooms full of rejection letters, etc.
When I placed my short story project on Elance that I learned about in Kindling, I said that I wanted to dip my toes into fiction and thought it would be fun to do it the way James Patterson does – have someone start an idea and take it from there. I asked for first person (because that’s what I like to read).
I want you to read one of the replies. Roger Woodbury apparently felt delighted (he even says how much it thrilled him) that he could begin his day ridiculing me, calling me cheesy, not a writer, someone that can’t suck up the courage, asking if I was 13 or I spent all day on Facebook.
Now when you read the whole thing, you’ll see that Roger thinks he’s so witty with his “bid.” First he cuts me down, then he (with his nose turned up in the air), says if I truly care about becoming a writer, I’ll hire him and let HIM mentor ME. The very last part, after he’s knocked me on the ground and made me feel useless, is where he tries extending a hand to bring me back to my feet, saying, I might be encouraged to become a writer on my own.
I have news for Roger. You don’t inspire and motivate and encourage people by acting like a freaking stuck up arrogant asshole. I wouldn’t learn from you if YOU paid ME! In fact, you’re a cautionary tale of what NOT to do in business. I much prefer to learn from someone like Geoff who tells me I CAN do this – who gives me the freedom to write how I want and find an audience who DOES appreciate my first person.
You are exactly the type of person who stifles creativity, not helps it flow in this world. And shame on Elance for letting you bully prospective clients like that – you make their site look bad, honestly.
Here are Roger’s word for me (and even the way he starts it just reeks of those writing snobs who truly never make anything of themselves, doesn’t it?):
>>Well, now. You don’t want to be a fiction writer, you want to be a producer like James Patterson? Wow. How cheesy can you get? AND you want to be a cheesy producer in the first person, which means you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to use the pronoun “I”?
Your request for proposal made me laugh and it felt very, very good to laugh so early in the day.
Nevertheless, I am a bit intrigued by your RFP, and am going to bid for a first person story of around 450 pages, PROVIDED you provide the general outline or at least a sketch of the story that you want to have written FOR you.
My bid is ten bucks a page. Well, no not really. But if you have a good idea about a short story of this length, and have a character in mind that you can describe CLEARLY, I’ll write a short story for you.
Who knows? After it’s done, perhaps you will suck up the courage to get to work, and get it done yourself.! It’s worth a shot to just mentor someone who is a wannabe.
I have a few questions for you:
1. how old are you? Are you an adult or are you thirteen?
2. Have you read any of the great American writers?
3. How much time do you spend on Facebook every day?
This proposal is brutally frank and not intended to be a nice-nice application for a job. If you are sincere in your request for proposal, I think you will enter into a dialog with me, regardless of whether I get the job or not. As a writer of fiction, I find it fascinating that so many WANT to write fiction but have so little courage to actually spend the time, sweat and tears needed to do it well. And that is what it takes: courage. Courage to sit down and write. Courage to give up something perhaps pleasurable because the ultimate pleasure of creating quality prose is a stronger drive. Courage to face the black wall that is not knowing if what you want to do is something you can do.
You said yourself that “fear” kept you away from ficiton writing? What fear? Fear tha you aren’t good enough or fear that someone else might think you aren’t good enough. All of these thoughts of mine, has brought me to the next paragraph for you to read.
The first rule of writing is simple: A WRITER WRITES.. Hence, if we can chat a bit and come to some sort of agreement, I’ll write your story, and you will have it to review in, oh, say, fourteen days. I will then ask you to review it, make comments and the final draft will be presented to you in seven more days. Yes, you will need to provide some input otherwise I might as well write the story for myself and sell it myself. But if you will do a little work with me, maybe a good product can be provided, and you will be encouraged to actually become a writer on your own.
Roger M. Woodbury<<
Thank you, Roger – for confirming in me that I’m on the RIGHT path with Geoff Shaw’s Kindling course. Thank God somebody finally provided me with an alternative to hearing from blowhards like you. You like to feel superior to others, acting as if you have something to offer as a “mentor.”
You have zero to offer but a lesson on how even grown men with gray hair can be bullies to those who need a little guidance. I hope you haven’t caused other Elance “wanna be writers” to quit. I happen to be strong enough to fight back against your kind now, but many fragile creative types won’t be.
So shame on you.