Writers, tell me your story...

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by D_Tim McGnaw, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    Do we have any writers here at LPSG? I mean I know of one or two gifted members with a talent for expression through the written word, but I wondered if there were more...

    I've always flirted with the idea of writing myself, but I don't have the concentration, so I admire writers greatly. Sober chaps and chapesses in general, very admirable.


    So are you a Poet, or a Novelist or a Journalist or any kind of writer at all? Maybe even studying English or Journalism with an eye to becoming a writer? Tell us all.

    What's your process and how do you go about developing ideas? What inspires you? Are you published or have you won any prizes or awards (no need for details if you're concerned about deniability :wink:) ? Have you been a writer long and did you always want to be one or did you have another career you swapped for?

    Oh and please excuse my poor grammar and boorish sentence construction. :tongue:
     
    #1 D_Tim McGnaw, Nov 18, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  2. exwhyzee

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    I'm not going to pretend I have won a Pulitzer, but if someone has an interest in writing, they should go ahead and start. Maybe they could publish a blog or online journal. Eventually they might form a following and their own style. For me, 50% of writing ability is developing the discipline to write when you sit down with pen/paper or keyboard/computer. The best way to grow your writing ability is to do it from the inside, and the best way to do that is through practice, practice, practice. Developing style with words can be a great deal of fun...like figuring out a puzzle.
     
  3. Bbucko

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    I've been a serious writer now for about six years.

    I made attempts at different subjects before that, but lacked the focus and confidence to really accomplish anything of interest to myself or others.

    This changed during my years in France (early 90s), when I began writing long letters to four different people: a former boss, an author, my ex Carlos and my sister. The former boss got stories of people and my interaction with them; the author (who was an ex-roommate and HIV+) primarily got info regarding how my French partner's AIDS was being treated and my personal reflections on what I thought was a serodiscordant relationship (I wasn't tested until much later, after I'd returned to Boston). My sister (who is dyslexic and has crappy reading skills) got simplified (and usually unrealistically sunny/optimistic) notes on the details of my life. Carlos got everything.

    My former boss expressed intense admiration for my writing style, which she described as so vivid as to seem to place her four-square in the middle of everything; Carlos was equally complimentary. It's interesting that neither of them ever wrote back except for the occasional card. My former roommate generally disliked the tone I took and found me too negative (my letters to him, especially, were filled with fear and resentment over my situation), and his responses were harsh. My sister rarely responded, either, favoring sending me mix tapes, instead :rolleyes:

    To the best of my knowledge, the only person to have saved any of these letters (which could go on for 20-30 hand-written pages) was Carlos, and then not all of them. When I returned to Boston following my French lover's death, I found one in his apartment (the lease of which he let me assume as he was living with a new BF by then) and kept it.

    My current readers would recognize much of my "voice", though the spelling errors are epic and the sentence structure occasionally ran incoherently long (I was writing stream-of-conscious style). I really am a much better writer on a computer than free-hand.

    In the late 90s, I wrote quite a bit of orientation and training material for an employer in New Haven, CT. My boss, who had his Masters in Poetry from Yale, condescendingly dismissed most of it as "boilerplate" and thought that I'd lifted much of it from some inspirational/motivational professional sales-type book. But he could be a pretentious ass. I also wrote a detailed business plan which was sympathetically critiqued by a friend who owned an antique consignment shop, though it never went anywhere. I still have both the business plan and training materials on a floppy disc, but haven't looked at them in years.

    Following the ending of a nine-year relationship in 2004, I finally had enough of the solitude needed to truly focus on writing, and began the preliminaries on several different ideas that have blossomed into full-fledged, multi-chaptered stories. But it was joining my first message board, AIDSmeds.com, in 2005 that really got me in the habit of reflecting on (and writing about) my philosophies, my goals and my history.

    Two friends I met there and I teamed to found The Spin Cycle in June of that year. The original tag line to the blog was “Politics, Sex & Activism in Dangerous Times”, and each of us had our specialties, though ultimately we all ended up posting entries related to all three foci. Matty specialized in political pieces; Ronny (part of whose scholarship at the college he attended was provided by an Ohio chapter of a new incarnation of ACT-UP) focused on activism; naturally, as the dirty old man in the group, I wrote about sex. The one thread holding all of our posts together was that it had to have an HIV angle of one form or another.

    The Spin Cycle (Ronnie had the domain name, I never cared much for it) evolved and grew as we took on new contributors, and it became my main outlet for creative writing. It’s where I honed and perfected the first-person memoirist style that I continue to use today. In its heyday, we’d get 10,000 new hits every month; one of my most provocative stories generated 231 comments. I still post there occasionally, and there’s at least one more thing that needs to be posted there to complete a series I started in 2006, but in general, it’s gone fallow.

    On the other hand, my actual output has increased dramatically over the last six or seven months, even if most of it just sits on my external hard drive. Some of it is inappropriate for The Spin Cycle (as it has nothing even tangentially to do with HIV), but most of it is of such a purely personal character that, at this point in my life, they would strip away any pretense of anonymity were I to post or publish it anywhere. Some serious revisions to mask not just my identity but the identity of people with whom I live and work here in FtL would be required: at the very least wide dispersal of this material could leave me vulnerable to lawsuits.

    So I tend to post this material in an almost samizdat style of PMs to members here and off-site friends via e-mail. As I write for my own pleasure, I tend to rely very heavily on inspiration and mood. It’s not that I’m lazy so much as capricious with how much energy and focus I care to invest in any given project. It is also very draining on me emotionally, as I relive the things I write about, and not all of it is especially pleasant. I have an 8000 word fragment began last summer that deals with the aftermath of the drug overdose of a co-worker, for instance, that I simply find too painful right now to finish.

    In addition to my memoirist material, I have a smaller body of work that was commissioned for and paid by an HIV/AIDS non-profit agency based in Washington DC. Though still possessing my writing “voice”, it’s not written in first-person, and is entirely fact-based (and heavily footnoted). These essays are published both online and on dead trees with my name attached, so I cannot link any of them here. But I will say that they are very highly regarded and, with any luck, will get me a full-time day job (with benefits) and will obviate the necessity of my current work in a bar (which is not the healthiest of environments, no matter how much “fun” the work can occasionally be). I currently have two people who want to hire me for my writing skills (both for non-profits related to HIV/AIDS) but who are waiting for grants to fund my position.
     
  4. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

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    Fuck off.
     
  5. helgaleena

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    Hickboy is a serious writer too! :tongue:

    I wrote poetry from my teens, but concentrated on the visual arts while an undergrad. Preparing 'white papers' as a research assistant for a planning firm taught me that my brain was more organized than I had previously thought it was, so I went to grad school and learned how to footnote things to death. But as I was also a comlete bibliophile used to hauling home stacks of reading matter half as tall as I was from public libraries, it was easy to expand the focus to world literature, semiotics and linguistics.

    Motherhood put a sabot in the works of the phd, so in the process of recovering my braincells which were scattered randomly by toddler wrangling I discovered fan fiction, and the primal desire to 'improve' other authors' universes for the greater good. With like-minded romantics arranging alternate love lives for our favorite characters, I managed to produce huge numbers of short stories which are middling good.

    Publishing original romance for profit came next, and in that field I decided to mentor the genius of others, ie: edit. But when there is need or inclination, I will birth a story. Short fiction comes more naturally than novel, though the big one has been known to occur.

    Fan fiction flagship: helgaleena-slash

    Professional polishing gig: Dark Roast Press
     
  6. Calboner

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    I have written articles for publication in academic journals and books of reference. It is a very different business from writing fiction or journalism, except perhaps in that, for me at least, it involves writing a lot of stuff that you throw away, and rewriting things over and over again to eliminate bits of awkwardness, obscurity, and confusion. This probably says more about me than it does about academic writing as such, because I go through the same process, if not quite so intensively, when I write pieces for my blog. There are pieces I have published that I can read over with genuine pleasure at the quality of the writing, but on the other hand, I don't think that there is one that does not contain at least one sentence that I wish I had written differently.
     
  7. rob_just_rob

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    I write. I used to write somewhat creatively when I was a student. Now I mainly write policies, which are substantially less fun, if no less intricate.

    I started a blog a while ago as an outlet for creativity/humour/critical thought - and write there regularly to blow off steam.
     
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