Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Help is not always helpful

A few years back I had a lady offer to be my writing coach and teach me how to write. (At no cost, well no money anyway.) It ended up costing me a couple years of my writing career. It is very important to think about the help you are receiving and rather it is helpful or not.

The lady had the best intentions. She just wasn't what I needed in a coach. The signs were there, but I was determined to become a better writer so I continued on my course with her. One day, I woke up and realized that I wasn't getting anywhere on the road I was taking. I thanked her and took a left at the next stop sign.

Have I made progress since? Yes. I may only have one short story published, but I enjoy writing what I write.

You may be wondering what the signs were that I missed.

The largest sign, bright red, was that she did not want me to write anything that she found offensive. I'm a horror writer, yet here I went down a narrow road, in hopes to learn to write.

Another sign was she felt that genre writing was not real writing. Yet, I continued on.

So here I was a horror writer, a genre writer, attempting to write literary work, which I've never read and to be honest did not care to write at all. Yet, I continued on.

Did I learn anything? I believe I came away with a little knowledge. At the end, I knew more about using description to set the scene. But, most of all, I learned if you don't enjoy writing what you write, then there's not much point in it.

My point is for you to be cautious of the help you accept and follow. Not all help is good help. And believe me bad help is not better than any help at all.


Lynn Andrade said...

At least you're back on track.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, yes it's good to be back on track.

Aubrie said...

Ha! Horror not real writing? Tell that to Stephen King! I love reading horror.

I always tell my flute students that they have to like their teacher's playing to study with them. Having the right teacher for you makes all the difference. I'm glad you had the courage to figure that out.

Anonymous said...

Like my past relationship, it took me a while to realize that it was the wrong connection. What can I say, I'm a stubborn bird.

Don Augustyn said...

I agree with you.
Your "Help is not always helpful" topic makes me think of a few of the writing books out there that are full of "Never do this.." and "Never do that..." rules for getting published. Yet, I read fiction all the time that breaks those rules and is peppered with what these books are saying NOT to do. I know there's a reason why they say what they do, the advice books that is, but if I listened to everything they said, I'd never get anything written.

Like you, I too had a writing teacher who didn't tolerate what she felt was offensive. She liked her writing flowery and thick with melodrama and gushing emotional description.
It was the only writer's workshop in town, but sad to say, I had to get out of there.

Anonymous said...

It was a learning experience that helped you realize that you have to enjoy what you are writing to keep going.

Not sure why, but Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz came to mind while reading your post. At the end when she's clicking her heels in the red shoes and saying, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home."

Keep writing and you'll soon be blogging about other stories you've had published. : )

Anonymous said...

Don, exactly, she wanted flowery words and drama pieces. The work she suggested I read was stuff I couldn't get past the first few pages. Stories were good but the way they were written couldn't hold my attention. Now, why would I want to write something that doesn't even interest me.

Susanne, thank you for the reference to Dorthy. A writer must fine their own way, with the help of a few mentors along the way.
I hope you are write about the blogging about other stories. I hope to make it into Shroud one day. I've gotten close twice but missed the cut.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Horror writing not true writing? Poe? Lovecraft? Robert Bloch? Harlan Ellison?

Shakespeare wrote the genre of his day. His plays were aimed at the masses.

Write what fires your imagination. There is a BODY LANGUAGE BLOGFEST going on this weekend. Two characters have a conversation with no dialogue, only body language. I think you have the talent to do a great selection.

Check out this link :

And while you're at it, check out my entry if you're of a mind. Roland

Anonymous said...

Roland, thanks for dropping by. I checked out the blogfest but it seems you had to post by the twenty-fourth. Good luck with your entry.

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