Writer's Worries - Jacey Bedford

Venusian Broon

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#2
I do think a healthy does of worrying and doubt are integral to growth in any field to improve. Not too much, mind you. Not enough that it debilitates. :rolleyes:

However, I did think it was a bit sad that "In my case it took years of writing science fiction and fantasy in secret before I even dared admit my genre-vice to my friends."
 

millymollymo

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#3
I do think a healthy does of worrying and doubt are integral to growth in any field to improve. Not too much, mind you. Not enough that it debilitates. :rolleyes:

However, I did think it was a bit sad that "In my case it took years of writing science fiction and fantasy in secret before I even dared admit my genre-vice to my friends."
I've heard that a lot VB. Lots of causes too, stigmas, nerves, self doubt etc.
 

Stephen Palmer

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#4
Interesting, but...
Mmm, I'm not sure. I know some people here think of me as "Mr Random" but you can't - and shouldn't - worry about things out of your control.
Much of what JB has been through is out of her hands - luck, reviews, career progression.
One of these days I'm going to make a "Palmer Luck Timeline" to illustrate just how much luck I've had.
What do I worry about? Stuff like: will I be able to acquire or make a decent cover?
 

Luiglin

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#6
I do think a healthy does of worrying and doubt are integral to growth in any field to improve. Not too much, mind you. Not enough that it debilitates. :rolleyes:

However, I did think it was a bit sad that "In my case it took years of writing science fiction and fantasy in secret before I even dared admit my genre-vice to my friends."
There are many that I've not told I even write, let alone SF & Fantasy. When I do the reaction is either, 'that's fantastic' - encouraging, 'oh yeah' - don't believe you or 'I've always wanted to write a book' - it must be easy if you can do it.

Hence I've not even really publicised the one I've got up on Amazon.
 

Venusian Broon

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#7
I've heard that a lot VB. Lots of causes too, stigmas, nerves, self doubt etc.
I agree, but because she called it 'genre-vice' it could equally mean her friends were 'genre snobs', which was the angle I first thought. (Possibly I'm just a tad too cynical about you humans ;):p)

Excellent point @Stephen Palmer, there is plenty to worry about that you can actually change rather than rely on the whims of the gods.
 

The Big Peat

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#8
I think you can split writer worry into "Worrying about whether I'm good enough for my standards" and "Worrying about whether I'm good enough for other people's standards".

The former - I agree with VB that it is, to a point, healthy. It's as a decent a source of motivation as anything else.

The latter - well, I'd like to see Stephen's luck time line. It certainly sounds a very practical attitude.



In any case - lovely article and nice to see how all those worries ultimately mean nothing, save the good you can take from them (or the bad for some).
 

millymollymo

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#10
Your theme, aside from the obvious graft of writing and re-writing is luck.
Luck is another 'thing writers need' that's doing the rounds.
However, that aside, thank you for sharing, the be all and end all, if you don't do the work, you don't stand a chance. Worries, luck, money are all +1 to your roll.
 

sknox

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#11
Posted here - the Palmer Luck Timeline.
Good article. I fully agree that random events are significant in life. I'll note one thing further; an important thing, I believe. Namely, with each event Stephen listed, either it happened because of some action he took, or because of the event he followed up with some action.

The lesson: if you aren't doing anything, then it isn't luck, it's just a random event. It's only luck if you act.
 

Stephen Palmer

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#12
I do think that at a low level you can make your own luck, and that's by following up every single lead presented to you. That is, you can reduce the odds against you. But the longer I have a 'career' as an author the more I look back and think, "That was lucky... that was lucky... that was lucky..."
 

janeoreilly

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#14
The point is that writing is a long game and publication is not the end of it. The problems don't go away, they change, the same as they do with any job. Sometimes pre publication it feels like that first contract is the holy grail and that it will all be downhill from there but sadly that's not the case. Writing is still hard, there are still people doing better than you, there is always a better contract to chase, and you face new problems, like editors who turn out to be useless, covers that don't work, marketing bods who leave a month before your book comes out etc etc. A lot of it does remain beyond your control but I think it's normal to worry - no-one puts themselves through the hell that is publishing hoping that their book will tank. We all want to do at least well enough to be able to continue.
 

Toby Frost

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#15
Another way is to enjoy the hell out of what you do get.
I was thinking about this a few weeks ago. I did a steampunk event at Chatham docks. If I had just gone there to flog books I would have been bored and cold, and wouldn't have made enough money to justify it all. But I've made really good friends doing events, and met a range of really skilled artists. Whenever I do an event I know I'm going to run into people I like and have a lot of fun. Obviously I'd like a ton of money as well, but as a way of spending time, it's pretty good!

I do wonder sometimes what would happen if I was making a decent wage as a writer. Would I be annoyed that I wasn't making more? Probably. Writing requires both a willingness to improve and a stubborn reluctance to ever think you're not good enough. The flip side of that is that you could always be doing more, achieving bigger things, and so on.
 

Stephen Palmer

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#17
One of the reasons I found myself attracted to steampunk about 5 years ago was the scene. It looked fun and vibrant.
I think steampunk is now beset by the problems cyberpunk encountered - everyone doing similar things in a market becoming crowded quickly - but I don't recall the fun and general joie-de-vivre in the cyberpunk movement.
Note to self. Must buy better top hat.
 

Toby Frost

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#18
Sorry, bit of a digression here. I've found that steampunk isn't meant to be edgy, which means that you don't get the attitude you do in some other subcultures. There's something of an emphasis on being "nice", and the crowd tend to be older and more mature. Also, in these parts at least, there's an emphasis on participation, so anyone can pitch in at any level. Of course, you do get a few egos - there's a guy in the US who claims to have invented the entire thing, somehow - but very few.

In terms of literature, it is a bit limited, and the trick in writing it (I'm not sure I really do - I see the Smith books more as comically Britishised SF) is not just to shuffle a very small pack of cards, but to do something a bit different. But I am digressing. Buy the hat, Stephen.
 

Stephen Palmer

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#19
I've tried to Pullmanize my steampunk novels (eg Factory Girl trilogy) to merge what I have as themes with steampunk tropes.
My new one is themes of selfishness with a bit of "magic," all set in 1899.
I really must read one of yours Toby. I suppose, the first one would be best place to start?
 

Toby Frost

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#20
Yes, although the setting wasn't quite fully worked out until the sequel, God Emperor of Didcot. Space Captain Smith is perfectly good, but to an extent I was inventing the world as I went, and didn't have the background to build upon until God Emperor. If that helps at all!

How about your work? What's the best introduction to the Palmerverse, if that's the right word?
 

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