Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Dabbler vs. The Real Deal

Quick Addendum: While some of you may think I'm clever and witty, alas, I am not. I wish I'd written this, but I didn't. I pulled it off this blog but it was so appropo I decided to post it here today. So credit goes to Boxing The Octopus, not me. But the message is still the same.


The Dabbler vs. The Real Deal

1. The Dabbler's going to do it someday. The Real Deal is working on it now.

2. The Dabbler's waiting for life to get less hectic. For the kiddos to get older, the sick parents to get well, the earth's orbit to grind to a complete stop (so distracting!). The Real Deal writes over, around, and through life's disruptions because they never end.

3. The Dabbler's attending workshops, networking with writers, and reading craft books to lay the groundwork for her dream. The Real Deal is actually writing, with or without doing the foregoing as well.

4. The Dabbler expends far more creativity embroidering her excuses than her plots.

5. The Dabbler frequently (and loudly) decries "that trash" that's getting published nowadays (by sell-outs). She knows she could do better -- and isn't shy about saying so. The Real Deal knows that writing anything commercial is much harder than it looks.

6. The Dabbler refuses to risk criticism/rejection by submitting work to critique groups, first-chapter contests, agents, or editors. The Real Deal knows she'll have to take her lumps, often for years.

7. If the Dabbler does risk and receive any sort of criticism/rejection, she rages against the a) stupidity, b) unfairness, c) potential jealousy of the party involved. The Real Deal feels the sting but realizes it's a subjective business and moves on.

8. The Dabbler is a true "artiste" and New York is just too blind or threatened to recognize her work. This often results in years-long bouts of writer's block requiring expensive therapy. The Real Deal digs in and works that much harder, always believing that the next project with be "the one."

9. The Dabbler is sure that the purchase of expensive equipment/software or travel to distant and costly workshops is "the" secret to success. The Real Deal will write on toilet paper if she has to.

10. The Dabbler's looking for a shortcut -- a favor from the established writer that fills said writer with the urge to run like hell. The Real Deal, on the other hand, knows there *are* no shortcuts and puts in enough sweat equity (without trumpeting it) that established writers feel moved to offer whatever assistance they can.


So which are you? The Dabbler or The Real Deal?


Paty Jager said...

Real Deal! Or I wouldn't be working my a&% off right now! LOL

Great Post, Eli!

Karen Duvall said...

Awesome, Eli! No truer words were ever spoken. Can I post this to my RMFW loop? It's very inspiring.

This "real deal" better get back to the grindstone. I wrote over 2600 words yesterday, and I aim to match it today! Or at least come close. 8^)

Alice Sharpe said...

Well put, Elisabeth. I urge you to submit this to the RWR magazine. I mean that. Print it off -- correct one or two little glitches first -- then send it to the submission department. Do it today. Please. LOL.

I am the real deal and can prove it by stating that I wrote for years without even knowing another writer or belonging to any organization, etc. You spoke the truth. Of course, not everyone is at the place in their life where they are ready to be the real deal, but it is certain no one sees publication without a certain amount of suffering.

Cherry Adair, currently enjoying quite a hot streak, wrote 17 books before she got published. 17. Now, in my book, that's the real deal.

Paty Jager said...

WOW! 17 for Cherry before she was published! My 8 makes me feel better! LOL

wavybrains said...

I'm a dabbler of the worst kind. I totally forgot it was Tuesday until 5 minutes ago. Thanks Eli!!!! #2 is kicking my butt right now.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Wavy! Good to see you on the blog!

Genene said...

Ah, can I waffle and say I'm sometimes a dabbler and sometimes a real deal? :)

I have to confess, though, to standing on the edge of the abyss, just about to jump into doing a series of eight connected books. The kick-off book is about three-quarters done -- one I worked on a couple years ago -- plus I have notes on the other stories.

The test of my discipline will be to finish all the other things I told myself I was going to do between now and the first of the year BEFORE I jump into these new stories. Guess I can continue to expand my notes in the meantime...

Piper Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Pulliam said...


You know what blew my mind about Cherry Adair? She said that when she got her first contract, she destroyed all of her unpubbed manuscripts because she knew she couldn't or wouldn't go back to make them sellable. Wow. I couldn't imagine that. Even destroying one!

Danita Cahill said...

I'm both. Dabbler and dealer. Ha! It depends on the month and the year.

Why would Cherry destroy her work like that? arg. Makes me cringe thinking about it. But maybe it was a cleansing process for her, who knows?

And you are clever, Eli. You could write something like this yourself.