Friday, May 21, 2010


That's me. Frolicking in the woods. Dancing to my own band. It appears that I'm not WRONG--just different in my approach to writing. Like most things in life, there is no one correct way to do it. Unfortunately, also like most things in life, everyone believes their way is the only right way.

So I'm a square peg in a round hole. Or visa versa. It doesn't really matter which way it works. Either way, I don't fit.

I don't mind being different. I do mind being told that different is wrong. I can deal with the limitations of different. It might handicap me in my endeavors. If that's the end result, I can deal.

I find myself unexpectedly angry about the whole thing. I spent some time last night trying to figure out why that is so. And I believe it's because our culture penalizes anyone who doesn't conform.

Conformity stifles creativity. Yep, I know there are rules. But within that framework there are variables. Who decides which variables work the best? All the major scientific discoveries were possible because someone stepped out of the box.

I find myself facing a true paradox. Writers are among the most conformist humans in the world. Print publishers are best, they cry even as the digital revolution is inundating the marketplace. Thou shalt only write in such and such POV, because that's the way we do it. No one will read this genre or that genre, until the day a digital publisher proves them wrong.

In an industry that should thrive on creativity and out-of-the-box writing, the powers that be are cramming more and more writers in that box. I know about economics. Boy, do I know about the recession. Most writers do.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, though, I wonder what the writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century would think of the industry now. Would they applaud us for our conformist strivings or would they scratch their heads at our sheepish ways?


  1. You most certainly are not wrong! You choose to do things your way and I applaud you for that!


  2. Nothing wrong with being an 'individual'. There should be more of that otherwise things would get awfully boring

  3. I have read your two most recent posts and I believe your right. Being 'odd' or 'different' isnt a bad thing, people just make it out to be. To me though, being 'different' is the same as being 'normal'.For, when you think about it, everyone is 'different' so obviously everyne is 'the same' making 'different' 'normal' and 'normal' 'different'. I'm terribly sorry if my posting was completely off topic and random, but without some stuff like that in life it would be dull wouldnt it? I mainly posted because I was curious as to how it is you can finish a story. I'm a tad of a want-to-be writer, but I cant seem to get a topic and stick to it. I ussually have four to five different stories stuck in my head at the same time, and its hard to begin one and never be able to finish it. I also have the same POV problem. I love to write in omnicient narrative most of the time too. If you are able to help me with the whole 'unable to complete a work' problem, please leave me a coment.Thank you.

  4. Dear Angel,

    I always have two or three stories in progress. The way I deal with it is simple. Work on story A until I hit a dry spot. Then work on story B while story A is simmering. When I run out of story for B, then I work on story C. Then back to A...

    Each one will vary in time and length as I work on them. Usually as I reach the end of a story I concentrate on more on that one until it's finished. When a finished story is submitted, I start another one so I always have three.

    That's my working plan. Every writer functions differently. I find by limiting my active works in progress, I must eventually finish one. Right?

    My best wishes on your progress!

  5. In this instance we both know that editor is wrong but not unusual for that publisher. As I have previously stated you are worth so much more than sending stuff there. I'll send a personal email in a moment when I have a coffee under my belt...though. I am wearing pj's so no belt on...

  6. One of my favorite quotes comes from Eleanor Roosevelt. "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission."

    I applaud the way you continue to refuse to grant them permission.

  7. Well move over, I'm another square peg. And you are right,publishing seems to expect conformists.
    Even over the last 50 years POV has changed dramatically. That's one thing I really admire about NR. She has successfully escewed the POV rules and her writing is richer (okay not just her writing:) for it.

  8. Conformity is highly overrated. Be your best self in whatever you do because you're the one who has to look at you in the mirror every morning. No, trust me, it won't make you popular but it will bring you peace which is sometimes more valuable than anything tangible you can come up with.