Monday, October 26, 2009

What's your biggest frustration as a writer? Responses!

Here are all the responses to the question:

What's your biggest frustration as a writer?

The 5 winners will be named Nov. 8.

russelllindsey said...
My biggest frustration is translating the richness of my imagination into the written word.

Carpe Diem.


October 17, 2009 6:36 PM
Ken Weene said...
The greatest frustration is getting an agent who can actually place work. Without one, I am left dealing with the small publishers, etc.

October 17, 2009 6:36 PM
Terry said...
My biggest frustration is trying to remember all the rules, whether its POV, showing vs. telling, passive voice, too much back story or doesn't move the story forward. Rules, rules rules.

October 17, 2009 6:38 PM
Lora's ~ Journal said...
What's so frustrating? Not enough hours in the day or night(I never get enough sleep) - especially when "normal life duties" interfere with creativity.

Lora Mitchell

October 17, 2009 6:40 PM
Single Parent's Soul said...
My biggest frustration as a writer is having so many great ideas for whatever will be the next book project that I often find myself in a state of intertia...because I can't decide where to put my attention first. Then top that off with TEN children/stepchildren, TWELVE grandchildren, ONE slightly annoying husband, and a cramped attic space in which to work...and, well, there you have it. I think I'll go pour myself that glass of Merlot now. Nancy Vogl

October 17, 2009 6:43 PM
Scott R. Davis said...
The most frustrating aspect of writing is knowing how to communicate to an audience and to be effective in conveying the point of view.
It also is frustrating working under a deadline when I also have the pressures of everyday life to face.

Scott R. Davis

October 17, 2009 6:44 PM
RebeccaSRevels said...
Being taken seriously. When I attempt to discuss my current work in progress only to have nonwriting friends laugh and question my sanity rather than attempt to understand can have me wanting to bang my head against the wall. To have them ask what additive is in my coffee or just what type plants I have growing in my backyard simply because the only time they use their imagination is in coming up with reasons why they can't show up for work or why it was necessary for them to drive 55 in a 35.

October 17, 2009 6:58 PM
Apryl Gonzales Sweet said...
My greatest frustration as a writer has to be the barrage of doubtful thoughts that consume my confidence. Some days are spent staring at the blank screen after rewriting sentences with little hope of successfully communicating my ideas and consequently deleting them all. However not all my struggles are internal, I also have conflict with practical matters such as how to manage my time more effectively. This particular frustration has always been an obstacle for me. I enjoy being creative, my desire is to learn to steward well my creativity and move beyond this fledgling writing state that I am in. I hope to learn how to overcome these obstacles or at least learn to combat them.

October 17, 2009 7:04 PM
JoAnn said...

harnessing the mind
the thoughts
the monkey mind
making the most of my thoughts

finding my public audience niche

October 17, 2009 7:18 PM
Elise Krentzel said...
Getting advice from professional writers.

October 17, 2009 7:19 PM
Jules said...
I guess it would be not believing in myself and my writing abilities.

October 17, 2009 7:50 PM
Jeff said...
My name is Jeff Bennington and I love writing. When you ask what is frustrating about writing, it's like asking me what's frustrating about playing drums (I'm also a drummer) or what's frustrating about running, or whatever it is I'm passionate about. Other than the effort and the mind bending that goes into writing books, I find very little in the act of writing dissatisfying. The creative stimulus, learning, and challenge of making something from nothing is what makes it so good! But like anything else, a hobby or a passion can become dry and mundane when it becomes a business.

But alas, being a writer is not all bubblegum and lollipops! To follow ones dreams of becoming a best selling author requires initially low expectations with great ambition mixed well with a cup of poverty. And lets not forget to add a dash of dissapointments and several gallons of rejection. As a result, the flavor of writing is certainly bittersweet, hense the frustration.

So, my answer to your query is not a direct response to the frustrations of writing, but rather the frustrations of the writing institution. You see, the act/art of writing is what it is. It is a work in progress, and a masterpiece in the making. Whether it is your first work or your thirtieth, writing comes from the soul, and that is pure freedom. No frustrations attached. But when something as pure as art is minimized to a "means" or a "paycheck" or a "contract", like anything else, it begins to go south. When writers are recognized because of good timing, while more talented writers are passed over, the "system" becomes a frustration. When a creative person who has something to share with the world can't find an agent, or afford to self-publish (like a lady I met today), the beauty and self-satisfaction of that creation is smashed into feelings of inadequacies and sometimes dispair. So in my opinion, it's not the writing. It's the system that is the frustration!

PS. Just a side note: I love the system and will continue to kiss the systems butt like the rest of the writers out there until I am homeless and broke or a best seller. I know, it's pretty likely I'll end up somewhere in between.

Jeff Bennington
Author-Killing The Giants: The Road to Nihilism

October 17, 2009 7:55 PM
Susan said...
Organizing thoughts and ideas into structured, readable material! It's why I write well under duress and less well (if at all) when left to form something from free floating thought. If I don't have a solid deadline, it's likely to NEVER get done!

October 17, 2009 8:31 PM
Lee E. Shilo said...
My biggest frustration as a writer, is trying to get Publisher's to look at my manuscripts. I have read all of the advice's and have followed them, but to no avail. It can't possibly be that hard, can it?

October 17, 2009 8:39 PM
jdistefanonyc said...
Hi Mike,
First I was going to say discipline. Then, I was thinking self-
confidence. It's neither of those though. My biggest frustration as a writer who blogs about food is seeing things I've blogged about first show up in print media afterwards as if the print journalist had discovered it.

October 17, 2009 8:45 PM
writeloudly said...

October 17, 2009 9:22 PM
Amy L. Harden said...
My biggest frustration is keeping my editor and critic quiet until I am finished writing the story. I write all the time in my head or while I am sleeping, doing things, waiting in line or at the doctor...whole chapters, character creations, dialog...I wake up or get home and when I hit the computer the words are gone or they are not a good as I thought when I was talking them through in my head.

October 17, 2009 9:40 PM
Liz said...
My biggest frustration as a travel writer is other people's reactions upon learning my occupation. "I should be a travel writer--I love traveling!" Or, "I could do that job!" Or, perhaps best of all..."You're so lucky! It must be great to get paid to go on vacation."

I endured comments like this over and over and OVER again, while working a full-time day job and researching then writing my first 650-page travel guidebook. I hadn't bothered putting my suitcase away in months. I was working 14-16 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Writing is the best job there is, but it's also the hardest job I've ever had.

October 17, 2009 9:43 PM
Armchair General said...

October 17, 2009 9:58 PM
Melanie said...
So, I wrote a book. Took me two years so I've worked through all the garbage and frustration that seems something of a natural by-product of the writing process. It's work. You do it, or you don't. If you have to write, well then, you write... Fairly simple in my mind.

What annoys me most about writing in this particular moment of my life is-

Query letters.

When I take the time to research an agency, and then research each agent in that agency, and then research each genre and book published by the agents to see what fits my style, and then to craft a letter (minimalism sucks) which must condense the universe into a sentence, no-- a period at the end of a sentence--to be told I must wait six weeks for a non-response to know if they are not interested, to not even be afforded the courtesy of a generic rejection letter (e-mail takes what, three minutes tops?) Well,
this annoys me.

It's very unprofessional, not only that, it is rude.

I have gotten to the point that I am actually happy to be rejected--as long as it comes quickly. (Two weeks should be as long as it takes.)

I know that rejections are part of the deal, that does not bother me, but it is annoying that agents will spend two minutes reading a query (that took me several hours to compose) and decide in that two minutes if they are interested or not.

This annoys me also. How can they judge ability by this? Seems something of a crap-shoot to me.

October 17, 2009 9:58 PM
cvwriter said...
My biggest challenge is trying to find a box, label, genre for my quirky, complexly plotted writing.

October 17, 2009 10:13 PM
BrennaLyons said...
I can deal with almost everything. I can deal with writing outside the box and all that entails. I love indie press, after all, though I'd like a shot at NY someday. I can deal with the grammar, punctuation, and spelling "rules" changing every few years and there being no such thing as a "standard format."

What frustrates the heck out of me? NY editors and agents who CLAIM they want a certain thing (say strong urban fantasy written for women or dark erotic romance), but when you provide it, the results (selling well in indie, I'll note) freak them out, and they (and their marketing folks) shy from it.

Why? Because they are so busy trying to change what works in indie to fit their sensibilities (which makes it no longer what worked in indie) and "remaking" established genres to tap into existing markets with some Pablum that tastes good to their execs (irritating readers of the genres in the process), they aren't asking for what they really want. THAT frustrates me to death.


October 17, 2009 11:02 PM
Gerri George said...
I just want to go out and play.

October 17, 2009 11:13 PM
Mark Terence Chapman said...
My biggest frustration is striking the right balance between writing and promoting. If I spend too much time writing, my work gets lost in the sea of other books. If I spend too much time getting noticed, nothing new gets written. If I had the money, I'd hire a publicist, but that's for somewhere off in the future. (I hope.)

October 17, 2009 11:37 PM
Krissy Gasbarre said...
OMG I have worked and dreamed so hard to be a writer and today I'm a WRITER! It's the best job in the world!

So, no frustrations from this girl...just so grateful for my fortune.

October 17, 2009 11:57 PM
Backfence said...
My biggest frustration is trying to get BEYOND the query. Knowing my book's future - perhaps even my whole writing career - rests in the hands of that one singular page is without a doubt the biggest frustration. Even the best written query is subject to the mood of the reader, his genre preferences, the time of day and whether he's reached his query saturation point just prior to picking up my letter. I was much impressed that Nathan Bransford (Curtis Brown), in response to readers’ comments, recently changed his submission guidelines to abate this very issue. He now allows a partial along with the query letter.

October 17, 2009 11:58 PM
Scott said...
The most frustrating part of being a writer is generating content upon content and not making any money from it. This is especially hard when you write plays--there are only about 40 playwriting agents, mostly not taking new writers, and the best theatres require an agent to get your work done, and the more ambitious your work, th harder it is to get smaller theatres to do.

October 18, 2009 12:00 AM
Robert Medak said...
Finding clients for my writing. I have written all over the web and have edited manuscripts, but no steady clients is what is frustrating at this point. Everyone expects cheap writing, not a decent rate for what they are asking for.

October 18, 2009 12:23 AM
Poetscontestcorner said...
The discipline that it takes to sit at the computer and actually write. Being able to forego the distractions of checking email, weblogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, et. el. Then, of course, ignoring the additional, enticing diversions of the links that are in your messages or on the aforementioned websites. Gone are the days of Papa Hemingway, when sitting at an unconnected, mechanical typewriter truly allowed you to face a blank sheet of paper. I wonder if Kilimanjaro would ever have been written.

October 18, 2009 12:27 AM
Mary E. Burt said...
When I DON'T write!

October 18, 2009 5:52 AM
valentinedefrancis said...
My biggest frustration, at this moment in time, is not being able to control the urge to get up and eat when I have a mental block.
I try to stay focused while staring blankly at the computer screen, but the words 'chocolate cake' magically appear in my character's dialogue; I don't know how they get there. The next thing I know,I'm heading towards the kitchen. I think I need to be hypnotized.

October 18, 2009 8:37 AM
JenKnox said...
The blank page.

October 18, 2009 9:00 AM
Tim said...
Getting out of the way of the words.

October 18, 2009 9:13 AM
Bodilates said...
Fear of success. I have had successes with getting agents, having my screenplays read by the NY Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at HBO, but then I stop pushing and let things drop. Is there such a thing of "fear of success".


October 18, 2009 9:13 AM
Theresa Chaze, Wiccan Writer said...
Finding an executive producer with network connection.

October 18, 2009 2:14 PM
Kwoody3939 said...
Mu biggest frustration is that people think "anyone can write," and often have the interns do it. Hence, web writers get paid a fraction of what web designers make. Because designing is considered an actual skill.

October 18, 2009 2:29 PM
G Thomas Hedlund said...
My biggest frustration as a writer is chasing down those perfect words sometimes. The little buggers are slippery and manage to wedge themselves in the tightest places. Then, of course, I have to hear them laughing like giddy children when I actively search for them. Then, only when I've given up and move on to the next sentence, they tiptoe up beside me, snickering, and then dart once more when I turn away. After a while, though, they give themselves up and all is good. Until next time.

October 18, 2009 3:48 PM
RowenaBCherry said...
My biggest frustration as a writer is how much is beyond my control: the typos and not-quite synonyms inserted after I've signed off on the galleys; short blurbs on book pages that mislead readers; good and bad reviews written by people who apparently haven't read the book; returns and the premature "stripping" and pulping of books; the ease with which book lovers can "share" copyrighted e-books but the difficulties and opprobium authors and copyright-owners encounter if they protest...

October 18, 2009 5:11 PM
Alia said...
My biggest frustration as a writer is that once my idea is in print its never seems as good as the way I had pitched it to myself in my head. I think it will take years of practice before I attain the effect I imagine in my head.

October 18, 2009 5:28 PM
eddiexray said...
Why I Didn’t Write Anything Today

I didn’t write anything today because the sky is blue. Cerulean blue. Cerulean is one of those words only found in books on writing and old poetry. It’s from Cerul – the god of blue. Or maybe it’s not. That’s why I didn’t write anything today.

I didn’t write anything today because of the air. The air is necessary for breathing and it moves the wind around, too. Or maybe the air IS the wind. The air can be cold or warm – it depends on the weather. The air goes way up in the sky – the sky of Cerulean blue which I already covered. That’s why I didn’t write anything today.

I didn’t write anything today because my #2 pencils were not sharp enough. The reason my #2 pencils were not sharp enough was because my pencil sharpener wasn’t working. The reason my pencil sharpener wasn’t working was because it wasn’t plugged in. The reason my pencil sharpener wasn’t plugged in was because I forgot to plug it in. That’s why I didn’t write anything today.

I didn’t write anything today because it was raining. Rain is composed of water and makes things grow. The things are crops which are important because we eat crops when they’re fixed up and placed in cereal boxes. That’s why I didn’t write anything today.

I didn’t write anything today because I think there should be world peace and no more world hunger. These are deep questions and I thought about them so much my head started to hurt.

I didn’t write anything today because I had a headache and I ran out of aspirin.

I didn’t write anything today because I went to bed feeling poorly.

Maybe I’ll write something tomorrow.

October 18, 2009 5:56 PM
Cher'ley said...
Worrying about getting an agent and then getting published. Trying to write a query letter strong enough to stand out from the crowd.

October 18, 2009 7:49 PM
Blade said...
The "thoughttopapergizmo" converter I spent a year developing and prototyping doesn't work. It fits funny on my head and the little steel probe things hurt a bit, the massive bundle of cables is a quite unwieldy and the propeller on the top has never worked. All of which I can live with, but when I fire 30,000Volts into it I just get a headache and nothing comes out of the printer connected to it.

Seriously, what is so fluid and uncomplicated, what appears so vivid and real, what is amazing and outstanding in the mind, is often so hard to express on paper.


October 19, 2009 9:40 PM
trilby said...
Thanks Mike! My frustration is me taking myself & my writing seriously. My writing always seems to take a back seat on other tasks and other people. When I don't write, my butterflies in my stomach flutter, and my little angry girl leaps up & down in my psyche. Sigh.... but, I did start a blog! :)

October 20, 2009 12:12 AM
Eleri said...
Even though I set aside the time to write on the story I know will make me millions. I dont. I wait till I feel inspired to write.
2.)Finding an Agent
I still haven't found one

October 20, 2009 7:57 AM
Lyndon Baptiste said...
The biggest frustration is the biggest joy; unravelling the human heart.

October 20, 2009 11:35 AM
JuJuthePoet said...
I love writing and I do not get frustrated by the process. I am more frustrated with the publishing industry and the lack of representation for voices like myself- young, single parent, poor, and black. All of those qualities are often frowned upon and yet there are so many people who live within those adjectives. The "cannon" also infuriates me; it makes literature seem elite and dull, I think. I don't like that literature has a hierarchy attached to it. I read the New Yorker and think is this is what good poetry is? No wonder why mainstream America does not support it like poets and artists should. To me, most, if not all is a load of crap, and I hate when universities and schools make me have to take out the pooper scooper.

October 24, 2009 6:42 PM
CeeBee said...
I'm taking an online course about Internet writing markets, so I'm going to be too busy to be frustrated. (As a librarian, I lived in a world of print, so this course is amazing!)

But I will send you a batch of homemade caramel brownies (also with gooey chocolate and pecan halves inside)if you pick me.

October 25, 2009 9:50 PM

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