Monday, October 18, 2010

Lessons From the Weekend

On Saturday, I went to a wedding.  It was a lovely affair, peopled by friends from college.  Lots of fun had by all.

In the course of the evening, I talked to a friend who, when I asked what he was doing now, replied, "Writing, teaching and traveling."  I was struck by his priorities, but first asked about his teaching.  Then, I bucked up and asked about his writing.  He is a screenwriter in L.A. who has an agent, and is currently making the rounds at studios, trying to sell one of his projects.

I decided to take his example and be bold.  I told him about my own writing, my search for an agent, and the poor market for my kind of stories right now.  We talked shop for a while, discussing crit partners and sharing your work and the fact that "writing is rewriting."

He told me in L.A. lots of people say they are writers just because they have an idea.  They've never put a word on paper.  I've heard a lot about this on the Interwebz--that the distinguishing feature of writers is that they write.  But this was the first time I ran into someone who had experience with it firsthand.

I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by such an active community of writers, on Twitter, on my blog and in my critique group.  And I wanted to give all of you props for getting out that and doing it everyday.  Writers write, my friends, and you guys do that.

Write on.

- Liz


jasouders said...

Cool! And yes. I've seen that a lot. There's lots of times that I'll admit, kinda embarrassed I'm a writer and someone, infalliably, lets me know they've got these great ideas and that I should take them and write about them, becuase they "just don't have all the time I do."

I never know if that's a stab, or what. But I usually thank them and file it away. Probably never to be used, since I don't write about half the stuff they tell me I should.

Kristan said...

Aww. (This dovetails nicely with my recent post on Gratitude! :D)

Yeah, I'm always surprised that anyone would say they are a writer when, um, they're not, but I think it's more common than we think. A lot of people don't have a great sense of self-awareness.

But we write, and we rewrite, and we query, and someday we will publish. :)

MJ Heiser said...

Last year I was introduced by my husband as a writer to someone with ideas. He told me about one of his ideas about a military oligarchy on Mars, and said I should write it. I said, "Okay, yeah, but what's the PLOT? What's the story? Who are the characters?" He just gave me a blank look, like that wasn't the important thing; the scenery and the pathos was the story.

Great message, honey. I'm proud of you.

Eleven Eleven said...

Love this post, Liz.

I've had a love-hate relationship with the title myself. At some points it gave me more respect than I deserved. Other times, I get the same assumptions of ease from people. It is not like sleep; you do not perform it well automatically just by giving yourself the time. It is a skill, and it requires serious focus and effort to acquire.

Maybe people think the same of all arts, that it's all just self-expression with no training required.

Jon said...

Yes, most writers in Los Angeles are actually bartenders/waiters/tree clippers. It's one of those weird catch-alls that really just means "I'm trying to make it but haven't yet...and I'm not an actor."