The Stages of a writer

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The Stages of a writer

Postby charlesp » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:35 pm

Interesting little concept on the growth cycle of a writer. I'll only show the first 3 of the 8 stages here... go to the link to read the rest.

This Growth Cycle of a Writer does not apply to every writer, but it applies to me. Stage 8 or bust!

Stage 1: Excitement
Ideas come easily and every one is brilliant. You are brilliant. It will be only a short while before the world recognizes and rewards you for this brilliance.

Stage 2: Amateurland
You start submitting stories. Sometimes you staple your manuscript, sometimes you forget the SASE, sometimes you say a little too much in the cover letter. You have great hope for every submission, and every rejection is a shock. You start to learn that it's maybe a bit harder than it first seemed.

Stage 3: Disillusionment
You still haven't sold anything. It's possible--just maybe--that you aren't as brilliant as you first believed. You're reading more in the genre, getting to the know the names of other writers. You're in a writing group and although most of the people suck, there are one or two who are actually better than you. And still the rejections come.

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Postby pengwenn » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:08 pm

Okay I'm probably at Stage 5 (even though I've skipped Stage 2). I should really send something out. :(
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Postby Anblick » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:03 pm

I'm in stage 2 1/2 and skipped 2. I'm disillusioned from internal sources rather than external ones... :roll:
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Postby JillStar » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:39 pm

I must be somewhere mingled in 3 and 5.
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Postby hyperfine » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:59 am

I'm around the beginning somewhere, I guess, maybe....
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Postby Hissmonster » Sun Apr 09, 2006 7:23 pm

Stage 4: Drilling Down
You read more books on writing, maybe take some classes, maybe go to Clarion. You learn about plot and point of view and theme. You begin to analyze everything. You read more in the field and realize that some people are brilliant, and that you're not one of them.

Stage 5: Chrysalis
You hibernate, maybe even for years, mulling over all that you've absorbed. You get depressed as your peers make sales and advance their careers, even though you are happy for them. You feel like you're standing still while the industry races by you. Locus goes unread. You become paralyzed at the thought of writing a new story, convinced an important element is wrong or missing. Story ideas, once so numerous, have dwindled, and most you discard before even giving them a chance. Your mind is full of reasons why something won't work.

Stage 6: Awakening
The jumble of lessons filling your brain begins to arrange itself into craft. You begin writing again, slowly. You're so much better than before. No, not brilliant. Not yet. But better. And now armed with the tools to continue improving. Writing is still slow and you're far more critical of your work than when you started. But you're better, and you're still writing.

Stage 7: Confidence
It's not that you weren't confident before, it's that you had no reason to be. Now when you think one of your stories is good, it probably is. Editors agree and you start making sales. Not everything you write is stellar, but that's okay. A rejection doesn't break you now. You understand the game and you want to keep playing. Brilliance is still in the distance, but competence feels pretty darn good.

Stage 8 and Beyond: Professional
However well you do, there are always greater goals ahead. Story sales lead to industry recognition, more story sales, maybe interest from an agent. You sell novels for modest advances. You sell more novels. You get bigger advances. You dream of being as big as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or Ursula LeGuin. Maybe someday you will be.

Well I haven't hit stage 8 yet, but I have been bouncing all over 1-6....maybe I can get further...maybe.... [-o<
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Postby LilacWine » Tue May 30, 2006 9:58 am

I'd say I am in stage six, but it took thirty-five years of writing to get there. Plus the eight years of planning to be a writer before I even put pen to paper, having first conceived the idea when I heard "Paperback Writer" on the radio when I was six.
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Postby LostCoastArtist » Tue May 30, 2006 11:43 am

Heh. Seems like there's quite a few of us that have skipped Stage 2. I'm another one of those people.

I definitely feel like I'm stuck in Stage 5 right now.
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Postby blank_parchment » Sat Jun 03, 2006 8:40 am

For the most part, I skipped one and two, and am now trying to find my place in between 3 and 5 somewhere (though I'm not at 4 exactly, a mixture of the 3 numbers). Ah, all I need is for someone else to tell me writing isn't a profession. I'd make them eat their words...
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Postby ragingredhawk » Sat Jun 03, 2006 1:36 pm

I skipped Stage 2, too, except for the one time one of my Grad School instructors made us send something out (I got rejected and rightly so). Grad school itself sent me right into Stage 3 and I've bounced from one stage to another ever since. Been in Stage 5 a lot lately, especially after a buddy sold his first screenplay. But lately, I feel like I'm coming out of it, which is good :)
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Postby Mlou » Sat Jun 03, 2006 4:09 pm

Well, probably #7. If I think it's good enough and submit it, it usually is picked up. But don't kid yourself. You NEVER get beyond rejections getting you down.! :evil: You just have to tell yourself, waaall-they just don't know a good thing when it comes their way. :D
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Postby sarjane » Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:00 pm

Hanging between #5 and #6, though slowly fulfilling stage 6....happy to be submitting poetry again after a year of off-and-on writing periods.

Rejections, schmections! Just because one person doesn't agree with your writing doesn't mean that it's wrong.....maybe it just hasn't made its way to the right audience. Gotta work hard, believe in your own unique view of things, and keep writing (and hopefully improving)!
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