How hard can it be?

A mother of one of my daughter's classmates announced on Facebook yesterday that she was starting a college course in creative writing and is going to write novels for a living. _ she ended her post by saying 'I read loads of books - some of which are rubbish so how hard can it be?'

I smiled and will say nothing - but who knows she may write a best seller straight off....

Comments

  • Datco2019 said:

    A mother of one of my daughter's classmates announced on Facebook yesterday that she was starting a college course in creative writing and is going to write novels for a living. _ she ended her post by saying 'I read loads of books - some of which are rubbish so how hard can it be?'

    I smiled and will say nothing - but who knows she may write a best seller straight off....


    It's probably hard work writing a novel which turns out to be bad in some people's opinion. It's one of those things that if it were easy then lots of people would turn their hand to novel writing.
  • Oh dear, this sounds like another would-be author about to join the ranks of the crap self-published books that gives self-publishing a bad reputation. 
  • I had that confidence once
  • Claudia said:
    Oh dear, this sounds like another would-be author about to join the ranks of the crap self-published books that gives self-publishing a bad reputation. 
    Or, with their inner belief, they'll be snapped up by an agent and a publisher before they've chosen a pen name. 
  •  Hah! :D 
  • Oh... dear. 
  • If she reads lots of books then that's a good start.
  • DeneBebbo said:

     It's one of those things that if it were easy then lots of people would turn their hand to novel writing.
    A lot do!
  • Perhaps it's overly harsh to pass judgement. Experience is a great teacher, and from what I see, our experiences have taught us that writing anything for a living is harder work than first realised. To pour scorn on someone for not knowing how hard this is while they are still in school is bad enough. I would rather encourage the trying of a thing, rather than scoff in disbelief at naivety.
  • I take your point, CuppaJoe, but in my defence there is more to this than immediately meets the eye. Speaking for myself, I was not pouring scorn on someone's naivety (at least not intentionally). 

    I have spent the last twenty years learning my craft. It takes time, diligence and sheer hard work to become a proficient writer. My reaction was based on years of frustration with people thinking that what I do is easy-peasy and takes no skill. (Whoever says that of musicians, for example?) It's ignorant and hurtful to be dismissed by someone who has no writing experience and says 'how hard can it be?' because to be a good writer takes a great deal of hard work as you yourself acknowledged. 

    Call me over-sensitive if you will.


  • Sadly we've probably all been exposed to these scenarios and knowing how hard it actually is, comments such as that do annoy.
  • I understand your frustration at the easy dismissal some people have of an earned skill however I don't believe the classmate in question was pointing their barb at you in particular. All I'm saying is, when I either hear someone or hear of someone expressing a belief that a specialist skill, earned through graft, nous (is that how you spell that?) and yes, talent, is easy, my first reaction is to say "you do it then". Whether you fail or succeed, only when you've tried it properly, can you appreciate how hard it can be.
  • I think the problem lies in that virtually everyone CAN write, and does, most days, whereas not many draw or play an instrument. Pick up any trumpet and you soon learn how tricky it is to get the blowing correct so you even make a noise, but pick up a pen and every one can write, once upon a time. 

    If she is doing a creative writing course at college I she must have done some writing already, otherwise surely she wouldn't have been accepted? Unless it's just a course by an outside tutor and done for instance in the evening when they will accept anyone. If the latter, she'll soon learn. If the former, maybe she is a genius and one of those for whole perfect prose flows. Pretty unlikely though. 

    Having said that I went to one of the latter courses and had my stuff sent off by the tutor and accepted. And Usborne sent a letter back telling me they loved my manuscript (which was a story), it wasn't right for their list, but giving me the list of two other editors at other publishers, they had 'alerted'. I didn't realise this was such a good thing and didn't send it off again. I had two young children and got busy. I was too was naive! I didn't really believe you could just go to one writing course and get published. Naive the other way! i was published in anthologies form then on. It took a further ten years to get my own book. 
  • So many courses are in the evening, some with qualifications at the end, others not. 




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