Big learning curves: with writing and blogging (and a tidbit about Natalie Wood)

Learning curve re: blogging (among many):  Pat Walsh sent me a comment thanking me for the review and I can neither find it or see that I approved it for posting on this blog.  Not sure how I did this but, Pat Walsh, if you’re surfing the web again and find this blog, can  you re-send?  And let me know if you have a website or a blog so I can link to it.

Bri Spicer, one of my students, picked up on something in my review of Pat’s book, which is that publishing is something that you really shouldn’t consider until you’re really, really ready.  And needn’t necessarily be an end goal of writing at all.  Besides which, I’m publishing right now, aren’t I?

But back to Bri’s comment:  you absolutely must separate the idea of publishing from your writing, especially early on.  Not the idea of a reader, which is based on give and take and important to the writing process, but the idea of a publisher, which is completely marketplace driven.  Considering publishing and all that comes with it can be crippling if it’s done too soon.

Unfortunately, family and friends and even our own alter egos, have a way of pressuring us to see results.  Several examples: the beginning student writing a children’s story in my writing for children class years ago who asked, “You think I could publish this?” To which I responded, diplomatically, “Well, you could try,” and she replied, “Good, I could use the money.”

And yet another undergrad confessing angst about a novel, just begun, and whether it should be written at all, because will it ever be publishable? 

If all writers approached their early drafts with that question, given the odds in publishing, we’d never even start.

You need to write because you have a story to tell, something to say.  If you stay with it, publishing, in one form or another, will probably come someday, though monetary rewards, in any great Amy Tan/Stephen King-like numbers, will probably not.

Meanwhile, you have to learn.  And you can only learn by writing.  There is no other way.  And there is no failure except in not writing. 

In other news. . .


Comes not from our usual source but from our older son, whose interest in things sartorial continues to be nonexistent except when it comes to Natalie Wood.

At his insistence, because he’d watched in music class and LOVED it, we rented West Side Story for family movie night.  Yes, you heard right, not Shrek 3, not Happily Never After, our usual family movie night fare, but West Side Story!  And we sat rapt for the whole 2 1/2 hours, for although it is dated, there’s a reason why it won 10 oscars.

And older son may have revealed a few things about his tween self, basically that he seems to be crushing on Natalie Wood (we haven’t had the heart to tell him what became of her).  During the early scene in the dress shop,  Maria tries to get Rita Moreno to lower the neckline on her dress and complains endlessly about being the only one at the dance in a white dress.  Then she puts it on and all bets are off as she appears transcendant.  At which point our eleven year old, turns to us and says,

“You have to admit.  That is one beautiful dress.”

Out of the mouths of babes.


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2 responses to “Big learning curves: with writing and blogging (and a tidbit about Natalie Wood)

  1. mondastrange

    So true! The only real failure is not writing at all. That idea assumes the Writer must be always and forever intrinsically motivated To Write. I think of all the writing students with secret notebooks full of scribbling.

    All that nobility aside, I’ve seen more than a few successful, extrinsically motivated writers who do write to publish. And there they are…published.

    I have to note that despite the Capital-P publishing of Capital-W writers, there are scads of folks writing and being read every day online. Just like we’re doing right now.

    Some writers need Pulication, others just want to be read. Blogs may answer the tree-falling-in-the-forest question…

    even a tree needs a real audience to make a sound.

  2. Doctor Grr

    Hello, Dr. Vanderslice! This is Garrett. I just wanted to touch base with you on your Internet.
    I have an Internet, as well, but it’s going to need a fair bit of tidying up, I must confess, before I invite anyone over. Bri is encouraging me to get it up and running, so maybe I will?

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