Getting sick of 'Write for you.'

I assume that’s how Lost was written.


Huh? No more time than it takes to get good at anything. Up until recently I was working 60 hours a week at a non-writing job, plus I have a wife and two school-age children, so I do have to make time to write. Call me Privy McPrivilege, but if I stayed up until midnight writing prose instead of playing Skyrim this past month, I’d have a whole lot more pages to show for it. And it’s also easier for me to write during my lunch hour than it is for me to practice my drums or work on my Mercury during that time. We fill our time and take what opportunities we may… or we don’t.

Ah, now that’s another problem entirely. That’s when you need to work on your voice and build your confidence in your ability to communicate those great ideas effectively. That’ll take practice and feedback and, well, courage.

Well, that doesn’t necessarily follow, unless you’re Donald Trump. I like what I write when it’s good, but it’s not always good. I flatter myself that I can usually tell when I write something good and also when I write something bad, at least according to my own standard, but sometimes I just can’t make a particular scene or story work.

But yeah, writing is communication, after all, and as such it usually assumes the presence of some kind of audience. But until they start threatening to cut me a check, my first-priority audience to please is me.

Can I look? I’ve only seen your writing here at the BBS, where it’s informal but passionate. Can I read some of your fiction and offer my own critiques?

I say this with the caveat that I have no college degree nor any published work of my own beyond a truly awful short film that does not actually reflect the actual dialogue I wrote for it. I’m just a 47-year-old guy who works in TV and likes to read and write. PM me if you want.


Would anyone else be interested in getting a Boing Boing writer’s circle going?

Looks like we got a few writers hanging around, and I’d trust people around these parts to give insightful criticism without being assholes.

We could group up based on genre, maybe even take a crack at an interactive serial writing contest like @LearnedCoward was talking about up-thread.


It was definitely how Gaiman and Pratchett wrote Strange Omens. In the introduction it’s mentioned they had two Wednesdays in the week at one point, but in the end it worked out :blush:.


There was a time when this sort of advice had purpose, when being a fiction writer was a prestigious and insular profession centered around two or three cities and a constellation of genre outlets, and it was important to ruthlessly club down people’s fantasies about how it worked.

But anyone interested in it these days has the resources to develop their skill, identify markets and cultivate an audience. Anyone such advice might reach already knows that there’s a small likelihood of success for some—and the pleasures of self-fulfillment for everyone else.

There’s just no need for the Let Me Tell You How It Is curmudgeon speeches anymore. They’re a performance. They’re the speaker’s own blood in the water.


I’m pretty seriously on board with this idea. For one, I just want to know what you mutants have kicking around in your heads. @singletona082 in particular. Your comments here, pieced together, already feel to me like a tension-filled powerful personal narrative of a young live-wire with their leg in a emotional bear trap (sorry if I’m romanticizing / trivializing / pigeonholing…). I’d love to read your creative work. I wouldn’t have much in the way of criticism, I don’t have a leg to stand on, but I can certainly tell you what I like, or was confused by.

The advice to find a community is a great one, but it seems like @singletona082 has found a community they feel safe at least talking about their situation and their desire to create. Personally, I’d share my filing cabinet/google docs collection with you all before anyone else. I think a site with strong moderation, and a strong culture of long-term pseudonymous participation is a great place, especially for timid people to start to gather criticism, or just to show stuff to SOMEBODY.

I think it would be worth having a new comment category. Like games, but dedicated to sharing creative work of commenters. Kind of like taking the “Watcha Workin on” thread, and turning it into a category, so that then thread topics could be titled with a genre, medium, or even just dedicated to one piece that a person wanted to share. ETA: Well, sometimes I can be a dense bastard, I’ll give me that.


I don’t think this was ever true. There were always schlock writers and schlock writing. There always has been prestige in being a bestselling author, but not much to speak of for writing schlock.

I don’t agree with “write for you” but think “write for fun” is more accurate. You will likely never see a penny from your work unless you find some untapped weird porn market (not joking), but writing is communication.

I guess writer’s groups are more accessible now, because of the Internet. I would recommend specific groups for genre fiction.

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Well, they do and they don’t. I know of several people whose families, and especially romantic partners, went to rather extreme lengths to get them to stop writing. Sometimes it’s because they don’t see writing as a respectable activity. Sometimes it’s because they figure they know better than the writer. Sometimes it’s because they assume the writer will write super-personal and/or unflattering things about them.

I had a guy break up with me once over that last one. He freaked out when he found out I had a blog, and assumed it was some gossipy tell-all (the last post at the time we had this conversation was about bike lanes, IIRC). He insisted on getting the address… and then never read it that I could tell. He did keep asking me if I was writing about him, though.

At writers’ groups I’ve heard stories of people not announcing a book was being published to loved ones until there were actual copies available to buy.

That means being very careful about where and when you write – sort of like having a secret porn habit. It also means cultivating an internet presence on the one hand, but flying under the radar of people you know IRL on the other hand.

So yeah, resources are available, but some contexts make using those resources very tricky.


Whaaaa? Rather confused on that mentality. Sorry to hear about the breakup.

It at the very least sounds a lot better, and sometimes all it takes is reframing rather than anything else.

Might be good for us to go to the metathread and make a suggestion… One of those ‘why did I not think of this’ things really.

Youth left me years ago, then again youth is a relative thing isn’t it? The bear trap is fair enough but over simplifying things… And if live wire is a polite way of saying asshole? Spot on. Definately romanticizing though.

I sure as hell would be. We do need to get some guidelines and the like going so anyone participating both don’t sink into whatever their go to comfort zone is constantly, but not constantly putting frameworks up that nobody has interest on.[quote=“Donald_Petersen, post:29, topic:94087”]
Up until recently I was working 60 hours a week at a non-writing job, plus I have a wife and two school-age children, so I do have to make time to write.

For me I am very ‘work at home,’ so my work environment is my home environment and even with walks and such it has a very stir crazy feel about it since anything negative anyone does to me gets magnified by the fact I both see the same people day in and out, and have no other meat space local. So any attempts at being helpful calm or otherwise end up feeling less helpful and more 'I am better than you I do not recognize you may need to do things different at times even while being reminded yes I am disabled. I want to think my stepdad means well but at this stage it less feels like he wants to help and more he’s just being a dick.

So the fun kinda gets sapped out of all things as a default.

Fictionpress stuff:
I do want to pick a couple ofvthese things up again in rewrites but eh.

Short story collection I wrote right after a rather bad patch. I know that site has epub but I think they give you a text option. The anchor story had a fairly extensive rewrite because the original ending was a variation of ‘all a dream’ and I realized I hated that cliche.

Mars Needs Sprockets

Take Life After People, mix Brave Little Toaster, store, and serve. I actually had fun writing this one. It’s the fact different tabletop groups at places I went outright ignoring the setting it’s based on that killed my enthusiasm.

The weird thing is if I can get any momentum going I’m more or less fine. I keep getting interrupted since work is home and home is work and I cannot just go ‘leave me be.’ This also makes gaming an issue. I mean obviously I have time right now, but usually by the time things clear out I just want to sack out and enjoy the quiet.

I have this weird idea of having group based writing done under an explicit ‘boingboing’ banner, clean up after we get satisfied with the end point, and start offering them as epub/PDF/text/etc free downloads (creative commons of course.) Possibly reaching way too far though.


Meh, as you might imagine, we’d only been dating for a couple of months. My own reaction was more like, “well that was dumb, because otherwise you’re a pretty good guy.”

It’s been my observation that many non-writers seem to think writing is the art of recording real life and changing the names, while writers see it more as making up stuff while using real life for verisimilitude checks and for something to bounce against.

Between my last post and this one, I went to Starbucks. Two women were chatting and blocking the entrance. I said “excuse me” and walked between them to get in.

On the way out they were still there, still blocking the door, so we had to do the same thing over again. And I thought, “I gotta use that somehow.”


I am very successful at making music. I finished 120 tracks in 2016, and 23 tracks in January 2017.

What I am not successful at is making money from it, or building an audience. And that’s fine. I don’t enjoy marketing. I kind of hate capitalism right now. I’m not in this to compete with all the other musicians in the world. I don’t want to limit my creativity to the things I think a target market will enjoy. I just make stuff, and then most of the time, I enjoy what I have made.

Occasionally I hear from other people who enjoy it too. That’s nice, but it’s not important.

I have a day job that I neither love nor hate, which pays the bills and keeps me comfortable and buys shiny new music gear sometimes.

So, I write (music) for me. And I love it.


People are so vain they think this book is about them.


I knew a guy who was like that. He was on disability and liked to write, but didn’t like writing at home. There weren’t any nice coffee shops near him, or places where you’d think of writers setting up shop, so he just camped out in a local McDonald’s and worked on his writing.

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I have had as a hardcore hobby for many years yoga, and it’s something that I have wanted to make a living at forever. I’ve been in a lot of discussion groups where people have talked about the same thing and I always felt like, “I’ll just never be good at making money.”

A few years ago I attended a retreat and I had this epiphany that to be a working artist or yoga teacher or whatever simply means to be supported by people who think your work is important.

I’ve started to make the connections to other people to blog and market my work, and I have spent the past two years starting up a business that also helps my friends to promote their work.

So far, I’m still spending and not making, but I can see the progress I am making.

There have been so many lessons I have learned in the process about my own issues around money making. But the biggest insight is that by not making money or being responsive to your readers/customers you stay in control.

Go and build an audience and then start finding out what they love about you and go in that direction. It’s not selling out. It’s being responsive to the people who like what you do.


I am a far better judge at how I am at music than at writing. With music, I can tell if the music flows right, or if the technical aspects are where I want them to be. Style can be a bit weird. I have no idea what people listen to, and I play music in the style I grew up listening to, not the style I listen to now, so I definitely play for me.

With writing, it’s harder for me to tell if I’m reading between the lines, or if I skipped a step and didn’t put what I was thinking about down on paper. I can’t tell if I captured everything I wanted to capture.


One thing regarding writing advice that I have to personally attest to is the comment that “you have your million words of shitty writing to work through before you can get to be decent, and then you have another million words of decent to get through before you get to be good.” I know that I look back at my earlier stuff that I was so proud of and just cringe.

Or, to put it another way, there’s an apocryphal tale of a pottery class; the teacher tells everyone the first day that they have a choice–they can sign up to be graded by quantity of what they make, regardless of quality, or by quality, regardless of quantity. So the class quickly splits into two halves–one group just throwing clay onto the potter’s wheel and making crap, knowing that they’ll just be graded by the combined weight of their intact pieces, and one group trying to make a singular masterpiece.

The ones trying to make the singular masterpiece end up being so afraid of trying that they just end up staring at the clay, afraid to try anything that might affect their grade, while the ones just throwing crap into the kiln… started getting better and better.

The professor calls it to a halt after a week, his point made, and gets the class going properly.


What works for me isn’t “Write something for you,” it’s “Write the truth.”

By “truth,” I’m not referring to the plot, I’m referring to the theme.

My honest belief is that, while there are bad actions, there are no bad people. And so I write my “bad guys” as people whose decisions, while still called out as being utterly wrong, are done for reasons that make sense given the character’s backstory.

I sincerely believe that no one is beyond redemption, so I write about bad guys seeing the light and becoming good guys (or, at least, less-bad guys). And I believe that change needs to come from the inside, so I don’t write about convincing, but about being convinced.

When I found something I wanted to say, a truth I wanted to convey, and found time to sit down and write it, the words flowed from me remarkably easily.


For anyone in this thread that has expressed interest. I have decided to try spinning off discussion of a writing group into another discussion. I am open to suggestions because I am terrified this will end the same as most attempts do. Voiced interest then come time to do support melts.

So opleaw, anyone who has ideas or interest speak up. I have no clue what I am doing.


That makes all of us.


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