Reflections of a Failed Writer

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I by no means whatsoever claim nor ever will that what I write has any special significance or inherent value to anyone but myself. I do not claim nor ever will that I am a uniquely talented writer and do not really think so. However, after recently attempting to publish some of my poems in the form of an E-Book and failing to attract that much interest from the world I realized that most writers these days and people in general are constantly thriving for the approval of others and for some sort of recognition or appreciation for what they deem so great and worthy to share.

The bottom line is that throughout history the greatest artistic creations were rarely recognized or appreciated only to be picked up many years later by revisionists – analyzed and dissected. Added to that of course, is the great amount of competition writers are forced to acclimate themselves with these days in the realm of publishing.

I found myself thriving to craft my work and package it in a way that would sell to the average buyer on a virtual store that sifts through hundreds of book covers. Consumerism is eating away from our ability to share valuable information. Consumerism has made our minds more geared towards idiosyncratic gratification that is not in line at all with the difficult and sometimes unpleasant messages that result from inspiring works of art.

So a creative mind today is faced with two options. Either go rogue and write without caring about being recognized – and recognition here (for the record) is for the sake of sharing and not vanity – or allow yourself to compromise the quality of your message in return for higher chances of dissemination. Packaging, toning down, addressing certain issue areas and styles, digital marketing, graphic design, keywords, hash tags, artistic approaches,  trending genres etc. are all noble ways to reach a wider audience.

However, is there a way to maintain that raw message resulting from pure inspiration and that desire to share with as many people as possible? No, and that has become clear to me now. There is no value judgement in this statement. Those who wish to reach a mass quickly and effectively have every right to do so. I do not think that the quality or value of their messages are less relevant or of inferior quality. But I do think that true and raw inspiration cannot be packaged and disseminated widely at the click of a button. It needs time to mature and slowly grow organically into the everyday lives of people.

That said, after more than 2 years I’ve decided to refrain from publishing and turn this blog into a virtual scrapbook in which I share any message I feel I need to share, any poem or couplet, any prose or thought or image. A virtual scrapbook of a person that honestly and earnestly appreciates beauty and longs for inspiration in a world that is in dire need of both.

Love,

J.K.

206 thoughts on “Reflections of a Failed Writer

  1. It is a quandary: there is no reason to write it down except to share it; but as soon as that desire is articulated, the risk is acknowledged that no one will read it. But writing so that someone will read it denies or stifles the impulse to speak in your own voice, unadulterated. Here is my encouragement: Beauty is never wasted. So be as wantonly, creatively beautiful as you like, and hang the consequences!

  2. I understand the point you are making. It is difficult in a world saturated by consumerism to find a toe hold but I’m sorry you have decided not to keep plugging away. I’ve found that enrolling e-books in KDP Select helps to gain readers. I received two reviews for my short story, Samantha by doing this and one review (so far) for my collection of short stories, Sting In The Tail. To enroll in KDP Select you do have to make your book exclusive to Amazon but enrolment does allow the author to promote their book, free for five days in every ninety day period. Very best of luck, Kevin

  3. I stopped reading when you mentioned not for vanity, as I thought yeah, this one is a plea for money. You share quite nicely, your writing, right here. I believe that a person writes for his or herself. Especially poetry.

    I can understand (I write my own poetry) a wish to be published and thus accomplished–if that is what you believe and feel internally makes you accomplished. That is what was the bar for being enough as a writer. Being recognized and praised and watered by critics in the know. I do not believe this is so any longer. I am not sure that it is ‘correct’ for a really good writer to be on the same par as a hack, which comes from the ability to blog and to post by any human, simply by the ability to make public a work. I like being able to read what you write. I like being able to determine what I feel, or do not feel, about your own writing, in the privacy of my chair. Sometimes I share this with you, sometimes not. I read it, I take what I want, and I leave the rest. For me, it’s that simple.

    • Thanks. Yes of course this isn’t a plea to be read. It’s just a reflection. An honest one. Sharing is for the sake of touching others and spreading love, inspiration. I totally agree with you though. But I do think that this is a really debatable/complicated topic. Love all the comments. Thanks! :)

      • I love this topic… WordPress often tips bloggers to read each other’s blogs in order to be seen. And yet I find it gratuitous self promotion to do so for such reasons.

        I am a sloppy blogger who writes when I feel compelled and don’t when I don’t. My blog lies stagnant for months while I express in other ways… But sometimes I really feel like breathing through words, and I love that I have a place to do that.

        In the meantime… I am a poet, and find that it is a difficult way to participate in the consumerist game… I have found a way to package my poems, and it is a good one, but yet, I find it difficult to actually do the marketing.

        And so my little side “biz” of self-publishing remains as my blog does, waiting for stretches of time between when I have the gumption and when I do not.

        this topic continues to come up as my inner narcissist battles with the heart on the subject of Art…

        I am glad that this was my “fresh pressed pick of the day and I am commenting BECAUSE I enjoy the conversation. I bet I will be back to read more of your posts… and just for that reason.

  4. This is wonderful. Today there’s just too much saturation for writers to stand out without 1 whoring themselves out 2 luck. Of course many writers work very hard, but there are so many very talented ones who get read only by other writer/bloggers and in social media. Then bang their heads against the wall for more i.e. self-publish, indie publications, where they’re read by no one. Where’s the reward and credential in that? And how does it all affect the integrity of the writer and his/her work?

    You got me right away with my whole thing about being “found” when I’m dead haha To me focusing on craft and overall creative growth and accomplishment long term is the only way to feel I’m getting anywhere and has to be its own reward. I’m giving it up for the art!

    This by the way was very well expressed- I wonder why I didn’t write it. :)

    Godspeed. Stay an Outsider!

  5. The sharing I find is the important part, even if only one person actually reads what you’ve written. It can be enough to make an enormous difference, or none at all depending on how you wish to view it. Sharing however, enhances people’s lives in ways that they or you may not fully comprehend. So keep doing it in whatever way feels most appropriate to you. If you make money from it, great, if not then it’s not what your writing is meant for right now.
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
    Ishaiya

  6. Thank you all for you great points. Ironically enough I’ve just been contacted that this post will be featured as an editor’s pick under the freshly pressed section.

    The universe works in mysterious ways lol :)

    Much love

  7. Forgive my interruption or my apparent bluntness or naivete, whichever you like- but why are you a failed writer? Clearly, you can still write. You’re always going to have the ability to write and express yourself in a way that’s unique to you. You don’t need anyone’s approval for that and that’s clearly something you’re not going to lose.
    As long as you write, you’re a writer.
    If that’s the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you do before you sleep, that’s what you are- a writer, a singer, a dancer, whatever it is.
    Yeah, it’s tough. It’s not easy.
    But if you stop writing- if someone who has the same aspirations as you- if I stop writing, it’s not fair to those people stuck in dead end jobs with their ears straining for the tick of the minute hand, who say ” I wish I could do something I loved.”
    You found something you loved and that’s quite rare.
    So I say stick to it. Actually,you know what? whether you stick to it or not, it’s something that’s never going to leave you because it comes so naturally to you.
    So have a good time being stuck with the ability to write, love it and enjoy it
    – cause it ain’t going nowhere.
    TW

    • No bluntness at all. This post was more of a personal reflection. But I agree, we are who we are and do what we do and no one dictates that but ourselves, though it is tough sometimes :)

      Thanks for the comment!

    • I love what you have expressed here. So many of you are such eloquent writers that it is an honor and pleasure to read your creations…how said it would be if you should give it up. As an aspiring “published” writer myself, I agree the challenges are great…but even if my small circle of friends read my work…I will have accomplished the goal of sharing who I am as an artist. Good luck and keep writing!!

  8. I tend to think that writing for popularity and dissemination in the end compromises the quality of the work. That’s one reason I self-publish. It allows me be as creative as I like, and I can do the work that allows me to get people interested in my published fiction. It’s worked for me so far.

  9. A great writer writes from the heart. Therefore you are a great writer. The fact people are not reading you is their problem not yours. Rejection is not failure. It is just you have not reached the right people. Tom Clancey wrote over a hundred publishers and was rejected every time. On the last one he was published. He did not give up and so you should plug away. If one person reads you than you had purpose. Keep the faith.

  10. Prior to having a couple of strokes, I played guitar as a hobby, but practiced seriously. Never recorded my playing to capture the level I was at, but occasionally would catalog some of the rifs/songs I was playing…quickly to get them down.

    When I was told I had at best three months to live, and neither my left-hand nor memory were working well. I had to stop playing and wait to die.

    I didn’t die. In late 2011, after several years of meds and waiting, I decided to try to start practicing again. Had to start from the very beginning to make the mental connections that had been lost, and to make new ones to counter the problems that remained in my left arm/hand.

    Although nothing worked right, I started playing one note, one string and one fret, then building to the next note on the same string, next fret.

    It was a labor of love to work to play just the notes on a string in one position. After a few months, I could suddenly play a few licks that had seemed lost forever.

    As I became able to play those first licks, I decided to video-record my progress so that I could look for problems and progress.

    Soon, it occurred to me that beginners might find the recorded licks/solos and finally songs to be useful, so I began uploading them to youtube.

    Almost instantly, I had requests for tablature for those licks/solos and songs, so I started a blog as a place to host the tabs and videos for beginner and intermediate guitarists.

    Less than two years later, I have over one-thousand YouTube and one-thousand blog followers, and 315,00 youtube views along with 98,000 blog views.

    It seems crazy to me to have been seen playing by so many people, even playing as poorly as I do post-strokes. Dream come true, even if in a dramatically altered fashion. Not exactly rock-n-roll stardom, but immensely gratifying.

    All this, for no reason other than I enjoy practicing guitar, and thought others may benefit from my relearning after a life altering setback.

    There is little financial reward, but great personal satisfaction every time someone thanks me for helping them learn something they’ve always wanted to know how to play.

    I am a very happy, failed guitarist. It’s life, not a pursuit.

    Thank you for your post, and keep writing. You are touching people with your words.

      • I took longer than probably necessary to say: It is truly the journey, and not the destination.

        You changed directions, and are now poised to succeed. Just remember to not narrowly define success.

        Thank you for your kind words.

      • I just think its important to share; to say, this is me, this is what I do. I love it when people like my stuff, but if they don’t, hey, I’m not going to stop. Good luck with your writing, Bohemia, and Richard, I’m going to go and see if I can find you on YouTube. Brilliant

  11. When I started writing poetry, it was a hobby. I was willing to keep it just to myself and sharing it was a violation of a very personal right. Gradually, I talked myself into taking a poetry writing class just so I could improve my techniques and get to know other fellow writers. I was amazed that a community of this sort existed on my campus. I was not ready to be published. Over the course of the semester I saw the joy sharing gets; when someone else could relate to it, wonderful feeling. Of course the approval would elevate me to great heights. Which is now why I have a blog.

    And I want to publish and not publish at the same time. Publish mainly to leave a mark in the literary world and people’s lives more than anything else. I am just scared that I still am not good enough, not ready for this step. Plus, it isn’t my sole career really pulls me down. I may hopefully be ready for it in the near future but for blogging it is.

    It is a long post but I just wanted to let you know: Publish or not, always tell yourself there is someone out there who will appreciate your work and connect to it. Even if it is just a person, it still makes all the difference in the world.

    Poetry itself is not as well read as work of fiction so it is harder for us poets anyway.
    And really you should give both sides of poetry a try. It doesn’t hurt right? Why not wrap the ideas, something worthy with the new technology? A blend of the old with the new. :)

  12. I respect that you are turning your blog into a place to post all of your writing but I feel that you should certainly not stop trying to get published and noticed. Don’t give up! It is good that you are not giving up on writing completely, however, because writing is such a wonderful pastime to have. Either way great blog post, I like your voice a lot.

    Check out my blog if you get a chance. :)

  13. Once you stop writing, you will die. Not suddenly. Perhaps not a years- or months-long demise. But death will win you.

    Certainly not my wish for you.

    If you fail to write and share, the words shall remain confined, fenced in by the internal parameters of your mind, heart, and spirit, pleading for an outlet yet oppressed by the imaginary gatekeeper in the deadly guise of “why bother, no one’s reading.”

    Someone’s always reading. And enjoying. And being inspired.

    My grandfather once said, “Build for the sake of building. Write for the sake of writing. Create for the sake of creating. Make art for the sake of art. Why? What else is there in the end?”

    We need you, your contribution, your breaths in words.

    Rumor of your “writing death” is greatly exaggerated.

    -Rg2
    Pamper-Her-Friday by Rg2

  14. You are so correct. Do we write to please people and gain popularity and risk losing our true voice, or do we write to express our true voice and risk losing the acceptance that we so crave? Too bad we can’t have it both ways.

  15. We write because we want to share our inner most thoughts… those who come across our writing and connect with, whether negatively or positively, are our true audiences.

    Unfortunately consumerism and the magnitude of ‘mass crap’ out there may make our message get lost in the clutter, but you are missing the point of consumerism and the masses… that is not all that exists. It is not all encompassing. It is not our audience.

    Think of this as a filtering system, mass audiences will be distracted and the few who are not will search deeper till they find us and connect.

    Whether you make money out of it however… well art and $$ rarely come hand in hand.

  16. Writing is it’s own reward. If your appreciative audience is only your friends and family, be glad you have enriched their lives. As long as you have touched one person, it’s worth it.

  17. I have to agree with RG2…..Even though I’m a published author, that really doesn’t mean anything to me. I wrote most likely the one and only book I’ll ever publish. Now, I didn’t do it for Fame or Money, lets face it, the ONLY people who are making money and make it on *The New York Times Best seller list* ARE Famous People! Like they are any more Special then MY Story or Yours….

    I wrote my book to help give *HOPE* to others in Recovery. Since being in recovery over 6yrs, it was now time to be of service to others who still suffer. I just happen to have a publisher who believed in me, and gave my a voice to the people I can help the most.
    Now I write and blog to continue my Journey and share it On-line. You never know who may read what you have to say, and Save a Life in the process. Please…..LET YOUR Voice be Heard. Your an awesome writer!

    God Bless, Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon :-0 :-)

  18. Lovely post! I think first and foremost we need to write for ourselves. We need to keep fuelling our passion and success (in whatever shape and form) will follow :)

  19. I’ve been thinking lately about how we share art in the digital age, where there is so much for us to view and consume, and most of it is for free. I wonder how that changes how we create art? What we expect, when we share it?

    I’ve always been a firm believer that the cream rises to the top, but with so much other milk sloshing about, it can be difficult to make it. Still worth putting yourself out there, however, in whichever form works for you :) I’m glad you’ll be blogging (and how funny that you’ll get so many people looking at this post in particular, as you’ve been freshly pressed!)

    Good luck with your writing.

      • I should be thanking you, because this post is just the ‘jagged little pill’ I needed to swallow.

        I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve been so focused on doing it not only for the sake of personal enjoyment, but for the recognition of peers and readers alike. I have hopes of one day publishing a novel of my own and people the world over having been touched by what they’ve read.

        As creatives, we hope to leave our impressions, make people think and help them establish ideas that can make the world a better place. Sadly, not every writer has the luxury of selling millions of copies of what could be their most compassionate writing, while the work of a select few flies of the shelves.

        It is frustrating, but I do remind myself there are people who read my blog (both here and on Tumblr) because they’re genuinely interested and/or can relate to my experiences. I’ve posted fan fiction and have gotten reviews and kudos/likes from readers because it was what they were looking for, and the writing was something I was passionate about and invested in, writing that came from the heart.

        Honestly, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a failed writer. I don’t even think failure is a bad thing. Maybe this was a wake-up call for you, a way to remind you that you don’t need to sacrifice the quality of your writing or your sanity for the sake of recognition.

        Thank you for writing such a beautiful post, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed (which is how I found this post!), and I will follow you and look forward to reading past and future work of yours!

      • I’m really happy to hear this. To be honest, it is really ironic how this post in specific was stumbled upon by Editors of wordpress to be freshly pressed. The universe works in mysterious ways and I think this should be a message to us all :)

        Thanks again for commenting. I’m humbled.

        Cheers!

  20. Writing, as in any form of art, does not exist in a vacuum. One cannot expect a writer not to want to be read; just as a cook (or chef) would not want his/her souffle to go un-eaten. It would be a fortunate work of art (or work of literature) that gets unearthed after centuries of being unappreciated. But of course, one is only human, and one wants to be appreciated NOW.

    “I’ve decided to refrain from publishing and turn this blog into a virtual scrapbook in which I share any message I feel I need to share, any poem or couplet, any prose or thought or image. A virtual scrapbook of a person that honestly and earnestly appreciates beauty and longs for inspiration in a world that is in dire need of both.”

    Best of luck in your endeavors JK! Incidentally, you have the same initials as that Rowling woman who became a gazillionaire after writing novels about a boy and his wand. I heard that she had a hard time, initially, to get published too :)

  21. It is rather interesting because I love writing and have recently started and sharing it online through this platform, yet I don’t really spend any time reading any other blogs. So then I ask myself, why would people want to read my writing if I don’t want to read theirs?

    Being so new to writing with a purpose, it is both discouraging and encouraging to know that writing is another over-saturated form of art filled with beauty and nonsense and it is up to us to make sure that what we write lasts through the sifting of quality.

    Best of luck in your work.

    • And best of luck in your new writing endeavors. If there is something this post has taught me, writing for the sake of writing is worth it. Never let anything discourage you! :)

      Best

  22. Raw appeals – perhaps not to a very vast section but it has its own audience who thrive on honest writing – like just now, so many people have read your work and shared thoughts. brilliant and congratulations on being pressed.
    good luck with your work.

  23. After selling thru three times on my last book, I was floored to discover that people actually did want to read what I had to write. Nothing fancy, nothing too intellectual. Simply stories and articles that people could relate to (or so I was told). In my last move to the place I inhabit right now, I discovered about a dozen or so unsold books from my last book signing. Because I didn’t have enough books to have another book signing, I decided to send-free of charge- a copy to each of my friends who hadn’t purchased a copy (due to finances, unaware that I had written a book or whatever). That one act to those friends generated more feedback and genuine happiness and excitement to read my book than did all the copies I actually sold. And got into the hands of people who wanted to read my book.

    It’s like you said, it’s more important to have your words read and appreciated than the fleeting amount of money you might make. The money from my book sales is long gone….but the fact that people still come up to me and tell me they read my book and loved it…is what makes me most happy.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts w/us.
    ~Debbie~

  24. I write to myself with the secondary hope that someone else will read and appreciate it. . . . I publish books because it’s fun, but I have no vision of grandeur when it comes to sales. . . . and to be honest, would I even want do book signings and all that stuff? No.

    I can not tell you how much I have grown from writing it down, but I believe I have. I think deeper . . . contemplate and remember more. . . . writing is a GREAT hobby . . .

  25. The real problem is that your collection of poems has to compete with literally millions of new eBook offerings. Why not consider sending them one at a time to a major on line Ezine like Angie’s Diary at http://angiesdiary.com/ . That way your work will soon become known. Angie has a large poetry section. Just a thought… ;)

  26. ~ First, let me congratulate you for being so brave about putting yourself out there! Most writers think that they fail. I also think I am a failure yet I still continue to write for a living. Hence, I still write which is what I plan to do for life, no matter what happens (I wrote about what I’d do with my writing: http://thelurkerslist.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/raise-our-hopes-and-hope-some-more/). I hope it would make you smile and think that other people also feel the same way you do. Please continue to write and publish, who knows in time you’re going to hit it. The first times always seem like a failure but who knows what happens next? Give it a whirl, dude! Btw, congrats on being FP, you rock! Being FP is a surprise and getting published the next time around with lots of readers will be another surprise! Cheers! :)- Bliss, The Lurker’s List

  27. What’s the saying–writers write? Not because we want to, because we have to. If your writing touches even just a few people and has the intended effect–you’ve done your job. I think commercial success would be huge, don’t get me wrong. But not all of us win the lottery on that one. A tough pill to swallow for many of us.

  28. After spending just a short while on your site, it is apparent that you are quite talented. If I were you, I would not give up. Poetry is a tough ‘row to hoe’ for the writer. Writing a poem that someone wants to read is not easy – but you have already accomplished that. And,you seem to have a good readership here on your blog. It looks like you are doing everything right – except using the word “Failed” in the title of this post.

    I wish you the best!!

  29. The only failed writer is the one who stops writing.

    You write, dearest, so you are by definition not that! :)

    And you write with honesty and feeling: that is an accomplishment if there ever was one.

    Keep at it. I’ll give you a follow to keep an eye on your wordy adventures and make sure despondency of any kind is kept at bay.

    Warm regards from a fellow writer x

  30. Im so glad this post made it onto freshly pressed. Our world needs more people with the intrinsic desire to spread beauty and inspiration san the debilitating hunger for an audience.

    I hope to be and stay one of those people.

  31. This is a very thought provoking post. I recently started blogging ( two weeks ago) and I have also been asking myself the same question… when i choose topics to write on.
    The moot point is are we writing about things we want or are we writing about things,we think ,the ‘readers’ want to read ?

    Are we doing this for ourselves or them?

  32. Henry Miller’s “The Wisdom of the Heart” contains some good advice – write until you find your voice, and then write in your voice. Don’t be overly concerned about the rest of it. Marketing is an entirely separate skill, and not one that most writers find fulfilling. “The Wisdom of the Heart” is worth reading if your having thoughts along the lines expressed in this blog.

  33. It is harder today, I would think. A Norwegian psychologist said: It`s a society where everyone needs to be seen, so that noone is left to see. And we want to learn. A lot. But sometimes its better to sit down with a book than go through 10 new blogs. I have respect for how you fight on, no matter what response the E-book got. When we are old and grey, we think about if we followed our dreams, not how much money we earnt :)

  34. The only objective of a writer is to write, ergo you can’t be a failed writer if you write… or so I keep telling myself ;-)

    Great post, and food for thought. I go back and forth on this issue myself: at this stage in my career (I’ve been writing for a decade +) I know that the secret is to find pleasure in the writing itself, and if or when somebody reads and enjoys it, that’s just gravy. That said, knowing the secret, and believing it all the time are two very different things!

  35. “When you come to a fork in the road.. Take it..!!” ~~ Yogi Berra
    Sometimes we must be smart enough to hold on to our faith.. while being brave enough to let go of the outcome. Follow your heart… There is where your faith lies.. God Bless.. :)

  36. I’ve had the debate that you are describing in my head too. I do graphic art work,and keep a blog. The thing I keep going back to is what is my goal. When I am doing graphic art for a client, the goal is to make the client happy and put out a quality product that I can feel good about. My blog though? That’s mostly just for me. I write what I want to, and I’ve accepted that few others will be interested in it. On the rare occasion that someone stumbles on it, and shows appreciation for it, I consider it a bonus.

  37. Don’t stop trying to get published. Two years is a very short span of time. Keep on blogging but don’t stop trying.

  38. I’ve had many of these same thoughts of late. I realize that I’m really just keeping an on-line diary and allowing others who might like, to read it too. How weird is that. I’m always going to have the hope and aspiration to be a writer who might actually produce something that inspires or encourages or opens a debate to someone who may not have ever thought differently about any subject, but have realized that I have no aspiration or talent to become rich or create a career path for myself through writing. And it’s okay.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  39. There are so many writers publishing online books that it is more challenging today for serious writers to attract an audience. A great way to build an audience is through a blog…you’re already on your way! Remember, real writers write because they are driven to put words on paper (or more appropriately perhaps in today’s world…online).

  40. The virtual scrapbook idea is really nice. I enjoy looking at scrapbooks. They give the viewer a chance to imagine the life between the scrapped pieces. That’s way more enjoyable than being told exactly what that life was like.

  41. I decided when I was a teenager that I don’t care about other’s opinion and that I won’t be waiting anythng fro anyone.

    Today as a writer, the only thing I can say is that I prefer to stay true to myself instead of breaking down my way of thinking and feeling in order to find recognition.
    It might be hard on you if you’re waiting for a positive return. I am writing to share something with others. As I am not waiting to receive money in exchange, I am putting everything in my blog and website.

    If you’re writing for yourself, why don’t you do the same thing?
    The choice is yours.

  42. I’m a person who believes that self contentment and happiness are the two key factors that fulfills any writer’s passion. No matter what the world says, if words can be the right medium to express your emotions, feelings and true self as such in raw, there isn’t a much better reward..

    Great post friend and keep on writing!

  43. Plan C is my answer. Plan A is art (and recently writing). Plan B would be tweaking and manipulating to get closer to success, or teaching art, or arts administration. All good plans but ones that mean you can no longer truly get in to plan A. Plan C is a job for money (cleaning for me – hard work, which I enjoy, I don’t care about it, which I enjoy, nobody dies if I get a residency and don’t turn up) and all of my real hearer and thinking is going to plan A. And I have learnt to know it doesn’t matter whether I am read, seen or successful. That doesn’t stop me from capitalising on chances to be seen or read, because as you say, connection is everything!

  44. I hear you, and welcome to the club. English is my second language and I write with it because I find more people listen than when I write in my first.

  45. If you really want to get published that bad, save up your money and have a small number of books published yourself at a place like Offset Paperback in Dallas, PA, which has short run presses in the nearby town of Laflin, PA. You can have one book, 5 books, 100 books or more printed. Then you have something to hold that you can pass on or hand down to your descendants.

  46. By the way, where do you get all those photos for this blog? Do you write the poem after looking at the photo? As if you are a illustrator painting with words?

  47. Here’s some info about OPM: You want to PRINT ON DEMAND division. I was wrong about the smallest amount they start at 20 books.

    Offset Paperback Manufacturers, P O Box N, 101 Memorial Highway, Dallas PA 18612; 570-675-5261; Fax: 570-674-9407. Nancy Lavan, Vice President, Commercial Services, 10 Passan Drive, Laflin PA 18702; 570-602-1316; Fax: 570-602-8813. Email: nancy.lavan@opm.com. Web: http://www.bvg-opm-books.com. A division of Bertelsman, this company specializes in softcover books, both trade and mass market. Also digital printing of 20 copies or more at reasonable prices.

  48. Very provoking, and something I have considered lately.

    This problem doesn’t only exist with hopeful writers. I myself failed multiple times to begin a blog as I was trying too hard to adhere to my expected expectations of what readers would be interested in reading and as a result of that, I was no longer writing a blog as my own creative outlet, but rather as an attempt to place myself in the midst of other bloggers.

    In a completely different context, as a student I often found it horrible difficult to adhere to the criteria set upon us when writing anything. I only ever scored well when I wrote what I felt and thought, rather than what I felt I should be feeling and thinking. It just goes to show that we really shouldn’t aim to ‘fit in’.

    Great post!

  49. Congratulations on a post that achieved both sides of your question at the same time – reader appreciation and interest, and quality writing that expresses an issue you care about. You’ve written with clarity and thoughtfulness about a crucial aspect of writing that resonates with most of us. I think that’s the key.
    I’ve come to believe that writing is essentially a way of expressing ourselves – like talking – and the process isn’t complete without us sharing it in some way. Although I must admit to talking to myself sometimes, like you I decided the only part I can control is to make my writing available and hope someone will listen.
    I’m looking forward to hearing more from you.

  50. I completely agree with this post. I’ve been writing one blog for the last few years and barely have anything to show for it.

    I changed my message to be like those I saw around me and I felt like I sold out for that reason. I started a new blog, with the message I wanted to share in the first place, only this time I refuse to compromise my writing for the marketplace.

    A wonderful post, Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  51. What an interesting piece. I found your post strangely poignant, which caught me by surprise. You have a very direct way of expressing yourself, and an unfussy style which demands the readers attention. As for your message, personally i think that creativity and inspiration can still thrive within the boundaries of what a given audience might want, but i agree that this takes time to mature. For me, that all happens when i’m nowhere near a keyboard.

  52. I am so glad this post was Freshly Pressed, because I really needed it today. I find I do my best writing when I free myself from thinking about an audience, and concentrate instead on letting the words tumble onto the page in the way that feels most natural to me. I have gone through the hoops with agents, the pitch slams and the submitting of 50 pages, and then 100 pages, and then the whole manuscript, only to be told in the end, “Meh, it just didn’t connect with me.” I have gone through self-publishing as a way to at least get my work out there so I feel like my time writing was worth something (a different blog post, or neurosis, I am guessing) and now deal with the reviews that come in. Do I believe them? Just the bad ones, or the good ones too? And should I care? Should I even read them at all? Exactly what is the worth of others’ opinions of my work when I would have created it regardless of the ability to quickly upload it on Amazon? To counter balance this, I blog. Some days nobody shows up, and that is ok. It is out of my head, and once out there in the world, I figure it is no longer mine alone to coddle and correct. If others find it, and get something from it, that is art doing its thing. I look forward to reading more of your work/ scrapbook.

  53. Thanks for writing this. I struggle with this dilemma everyday before I post. I would love to write whatever pops into my head, and I usually do. However, there are limits imposed on all of us.

  54. This post reflect the energy we as writers harvest when we feel so passionately about our craft, understanding the purpose isn’t always an easy task. Look at all the history encompassed in your pieces, the smiles and the pain. Leave people the option to enjoy your treasures.

  55. Too true! As a writer, I have (almost) learned to be satisfied with the process of writing, period. So, there we are. A vanity press is a vanity press — whether the medium is paper or electronic. And I will be the first to admit that publishing a blog is intensely satisfying. Is it self-serving? Of course. All art ultimately is.

  56. You made the right choice and by the way you are by no means a “failed writer.” I look forward to reading more of your posts and major kudos for not compromising when it comes to writing.

  57. This is exactly what I’m talking about. That consumerist mentality is what keeps a writer from writing from the gut about what makes them feel passionate and alive, instead of the more popular specialized and cookie-cutter writers that seem to be getting pushed farther into the front lines. I’ll be following you friend, and I hope your journey is as satisfying as I’m hoping mine to be. :)

  58. Reblogged this on The Wry Owl and commented:
    This is what I’m talking about. It’s time to see writing and expression in real time and from the heart. Every perspective is different. Every perspective has a voice and a life of its own. Hear hear bohemiaspeaks!

  59. When you can get over a hundred comment to one post you are not a failed writer. I just published my own poetry book. Waiting to see how it does. Also, I bought yours today, will read it soon.

  60. I’ve been working on my book for over a year now. It’s for the most part finished and my mom keeps asking why I haven’t sent it to agents. Well, the reason is, I want to be completely confident that I have written something that is honest and that I love. You have to be in love with what you write first and foremost. Once I love it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If it’s perfect in my eyes, then I won’t second-guess myself and wonder why so-and-so didn’t approve. At least, that’s what I tell myself. haha.

  61. my favourite saying descibes this to a tea. Thats believe and you will achieve. You are not a failed writer at all as people are still reading what you are writing, they are evening sharing it xx

  62. I read your book. My son is schizophrenic, and I like that one the best. I also thought the soldier was a great read. All of them however, are good. Poetry scares people because it exposes emotion. Those that write it are expressing it and those that don’t read it don’t want to feel it.

  63. A lot of artists kind of scoff at this, but if you want to be a professional writer something you have to take very seriously is marketing. I bet if you were to focus on marketing things right, they would be more successful (in terms of sales). Being a good writer just isn’t enough in this day and age.

  64. Hello.Writing is sharing a world that only you experience, giving the audience the opportunity to share that emotion that forms your reality. I have determine the illumination of human nature and soul expression to be my desires to write. This is my reality, my universe I am interjecting into all other universes on this thread. Be blessed! Adam.

  65. hash tags? hmmm, I resemble that comment. Literally. Is it just a coincidence that I read this?

  66. Love your resolution to make your blog an outlet/scrapbook. My suspicion is that when you surrender to your own unique thoughts, you’ll be more valuable to the world in every possible way.

  67. This revelation jolted my careless ‘web skipping’. Now I’m here, thinking… Thank you. Even If you’re not/(were not) anymore a writer, rather, an aspiring _succesfully published_ writer, this should make you feel, well, good, you’ve always been a writer, you have the gift to touch readers, make us stop cold on our tracks and… think…

    Modern life is not conducive to prose, let alone poetry, don’t you think? A thankless job. Frustrating.

    It is the readers’ fault, often. F. ex., over at NPR radio (won’t say _where_, except that it was in the Central CA valley) the host was thanking a new contributing listener for the donation. She mentioned what was relayed by said donor, that h/she just felt like contributing, _in spite of the fact that friends branded him/her wierd_ for listening and donating…
    I’m not with this now commenting about “public radio, good”, “dissing it, bad” (although it’s my opinion, yes). Your loss with this kind of attitude, as well as so many other writers, artists, the creative types, is that you never even in your wildest dreams imagined what you’re also up against, _cultural_ bullying.
    Hey, are ‘the players’ _your_ photographs?
    J

  68. Love the way you fail at writing! lol Not caring is where it’s at, it being the gold, the purity and the bottom line, anything that comes our way after that is a bonus in my world. Write on.

  69. Poetry is not a horse that the majority of society wants to get on to anymore. People are way more interested in shallow, mind-dumbing books of silly indulgence. But you shouldn’t give up. Exposure is vital and with enough patience, you can achieve anything.
    Now I’m off to buy your book.

  70. This is totally true! Reading your article @bohemiaspeaks inspired me to blog thoughts of my own about the industry. Check it out, let me know what you think: http://wp.me/p3XZqY-1M thank you for being yourself and continuing at your craft!

  71. JK I can somewhat understand what you mean. A person’s work can be edited to a point that a proportion of the story or whatever originally written is either left out or not written the way the author wanted it to be. Last year I wrote a poetry book as there was a need from friends of mine that could not find appropriate poems for tributes or cards. I then thought since I have been writing poetry for many years I could help people by them using the poems in their own cards etc so giving permission to use them the original way I wrote in the book and self published it. Now with the children’s stories I am editing them and writing the activities to go with them and self publishing.

    In some ways you are compiling like a book through your posts. Eventually a book could be made from all the blogs you have done and remain the same way. Books are also a way that people who buy them may not be on the internet and by word of mouth its something they need. Some people may choose to give away their book rather than sell it. Hope you keep up the blogging. Madonna

  72. Although I agree with you, todays writers get hardly any recognition for their work. I tried the same thing as you. I tried to get my work out there and finally read by someone other than my mum. I am a 14-year-old aspiring author and being told my whole life that I was great at my passion, I was confident everyone else would think so to. Sadly not, and I had to learn that the hard way. I was blinded by my own family, bubble-wrapped. But I didn’t give up. I kept up my writing, it’s what I love to do. I wasn’t going to let people I barely knew tell me to stop doing what I love. I’m not trying to lecture you on not giving up. What I’m trying to say is that sure you might not get the appreciation you wanted or deserve. But who cares. Be creative and stay that way. It’s the best way to be. We can all relate. EMB

  73. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 51: It’s All Over, And I’m Standin’ Pretty | A VERY STRANGE PLACE

  74. You’re not alone … You simply join the masses who, like me, just blog for the sake of it. Who cares if anyone reads it? I write for myself, and a few close friends who appreciate my unusual stories, musings and essays. It’s quite cathartic. And I can Google myself when I’m old and don’t remember who I used to be.

  75. Pingback: Reflections of a Failed Writer | labmus

  76. I feel you! Take heart that you are not alone, that there are many of us who need motivation. Maybe sharing this and other thoughts here, will give you the peace you need and maybe just maybe it is better this way.
    As a writer myself, I believe that even though I yearn for praise of my work at times, what gives me lasting satisfaction is that I have the freedom to write, and not have to put failed thoughts abd words (that are never irrelevant) into the dustbin.
    Social media allows us to keep that from happening! Forget about the publishers, they are overworked and are bound by their own issues!

    By the way, very good read! Thanks!

  77. I understand what you are saying. I agree for the most part. Unfortunately the market doesn’t come to us–we have to find creative ways to bring our product (books, poems etc) to the market. I am writing my first novel. I am excited. If only one person were to buy a copy of my book–I would be overjoyed (unless of course I was depending on it as a source of income). If one person read it–great. If no one read it–well, I would keep trying–I think?
    I do enjoy writing though. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from completing your/my work of art.

  78. I write solely because I love to write, I share solely because I love to share. I have been the beneficiary of some amazing free works through the mediums of blogs and E-books. My greatest accomplishment in publishing terms thus far has been publishing in Scientific Journals where beautiful prose is sadly under-rated. My greatest accomplishment overall is adding to the vault of beauty which modern literature comprises, whether read or not, whether there is pecuniary benefit or not, beauty for beauty’s sake. I write for the love of writing, I write for the love of reading.

    I really enjoyed your post by the way, having all but given up seeking external appreciation I can sympathise with your frustration however true validation can only come from within, writing for the love of writing, for the joy it brings you makes ones writing worth it’s weight in gold.

  79. Pingback: Reflections of a Failed Writer | Deeshu's Weblog

  80. wow. that was totally fucking beautiful. i’m only blogging because it’s one of the steps to epublishing, marketing, as stated my mark coker, founder of smashwords. but what you said was profound and it had meaning to me. so you’ve touched atleast one person and i would so buy your work.

  81. You should put up a donation button on your blog, then! That way people who appreciate it can compensate you with whatever they feel they can spare. Just a thought, because I totally would. :]

    Write on!

  82. ‘…true and raw inspiration cannot be packaged and disseminated widely at the click of a button. It needs time to mature and slowly grow organically into the everyday lives of people.’ Very aptly said.

  83. I wrote and self-published an ebook novel (“John Doe Versus Death”) a year ago and sold a few copies. No one has cared enough to comment on the book, not even to say it sucks (its theme deals with the fear of death and confusion about beliefs. What can you do? Life goes on for now. And I’ll keep writing. Do the same.

  84. The only failed writers are the ones who have stopped writing completely. Commercial writers and Successful writers are two different things in my mind! I’ve published a short story, doesn’t mean I’m successful… but it’s neat having it out on the iBook store for people to download for free! Stories should be told, not sold! (But money always helps, heh)

  85. I’m sorry, but I guess I will be the lone dissenting voice. I, too, have not managed to find success in becoming published, but it’s not because I’m being true to my art. Honestly, I grow tired of being told to stay true to my vision and not worry what everyone else thinks. Nonsense. The point of writing is to be read. Doing what it takes to accomplish that isn’t selling out, it’s facing reality.

    These words of support strike me as nothing so much as the sort of concession pep-talk the coach gives to the kids on the losing team: “So you didn’t win. The important thing is you played your best and that’s all that matters. You should feel proud of yourselves for that. That makes you all winners.” No it doesn’t. They lost. It wasn’t about having fun, it was about winning; that’s why they trained and practiced and went out on the field. There are no trophies for just showing up. Okay, there are, and they are meaningless. They are an insult to both the recipient, who knows he didn’t actually do anything to earn it, and to the players who really did achieve something and have to applaud as their efforts are diminished by everyone getting the same recognition.

    Whichever decision you make is, I assume, the right one for you. But the irony of so many people reading, and then sharing, a post about hoiw it doesn’t matter if anyone reads it, just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

  86. Loved this post. One of things writer definitely struggle with is keeping their work true to them-self while also trying to please their audience. I feel like this stems from our desire for people to like our true self. I think the best we can do is ignore the desires of other people and just write.

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