THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK
Go Back   THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK > Discussion & Interpretation > Thomas Ligotti > General Discussion
Home Forums Content Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Contagion Members Media Diversion Info Register
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes Translate
Old 04-29-2017   #1
Matthias M.'s Avatar
Matthias M.
Mannikin
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 48
Quotes: 0
Points: 4,595, Level: 46 Points: 4,595, Level: 46 Points: 4,595, Level: 46
Level up: 23% Level up: 23% Level up: 23%
Activity: 21% Activity: 21% Activity: 21%
Writers' biographies

Dear Ligottians,

I often think that I am not able to write my own stories even if I would love to. I have no BA, MA or any other university degree or a college degree in Literature, English or something other in the influence zone of writing. So I often look up biographies of authors I like and hope they also have not attended any degree courses in writing, literature etc. or have not visited a university or college to study the things I mentioned above. It seems this motivates me. Maybe not the best motivation.

What I would like to know from the writers and authors around here is what your biographical learning background is. I would be happy if you could be so kind to tell me this.

Maybe you have some motivating words for me concerning writing even if I have no learned literature knowledge from university or college.

I have written this message to some in private via facebook. So please don't be confused if you read here the same thing twice.

Thanks in advance for your kindness.

Matthias
Matthias M. is offline   Reply With Quote
4 Thanks From:
Arthur Staaz (05-01-2017), miguel1984 (04-30-2017), Raul Urraca (04-29-2017), ToALonelyPeace (04-29-2017)
Old 04-29-2017   #2
Arthur Staaz's Avatar
Arthur Staaz
Mystic
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 164
Quotes: 0
Points: 8,081, Level: 62 Points: 8,081, Level: 62 Points: 8,081, Level: 62
Level up: 77% Level up: 77% Level up: 77%
Activity: 7% Activity: 7% Activity: 7%
Re: Writers' biographies

I have had a few stories published, most notably "The Influence of Thomas Glittio" at Pseudopod and a story to be published at a future date by Lovecraft eZine. So my publishing experience is still somewhat limited. As for education, I have a BA in Political Science and a law degree (a JD , to be specific). Very little of this education has informed my writing. Much of what interests me, such as literature, history, philosophy, and theology, I have learned about on my own. Personally, I would not worry about having degrees. They can be wonderful things but they can also be obstacles. Learn as much as you can about the things that interest you (and maybe even a few things that don't interest you right now but that seem important to know). And write, write, write. You will often feel like your writing is trash. From what I'm told, even many of the best authors feel this way. Put some of your stories before others who can give you good feedback. Send some out to be published. At first, the self-doubt and the hard work of writing may feel like it's just not worth it. Give it a chance. After a while, you'll be able to decide whether writing is really right for you. It isn't for everybody. But you don't know unless you give it a real chance. Self-doubt kept me from committing to a writing practice until I was 50. Now, after three years, I couldn't see my life without it. Getting stories published, even if its only been a handful, has been a real high. But the day-to-day process of creating stories from whole cloth and revising them (and revising them and revising them and revising them until they reach a point that satisfies me) has been the most satisfying part of the deal. And I've made some good friends with shared interests.

Don't let what you don't have hold you back. Start working with what you've got.

"What lay behind me was no longer any normal, familiar life, that everyday life out of which the impulse to pray raises us, with still at the back of our minds that whensoever we wish we can return. A void was behind me. And in front a wall, a wall of darkness." Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest

arthurstaaz.wordpress.com
Arthur Staaz is offline   Reply With Quote
5 Thanks From:
Matthias M. (04-30-2017), miguel1984 (04-30-2017), Raul Urraca (04-29-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (04-29-2017)
Old 04-29-2017   #3
Cnev
Chymist
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 407
Quotes: 0
Points: 11,076, Level: 72 Points: 11,076, Level: 72 Points: 11,076, Level: 72
Level up: 76% Level up: 76% Level up: 76%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Writers' biographies

If I recall correctly, Mark Twain dropped out of school at the age of 12. I also think Mark Samuels has a High School education. I'm not a writer, but as a guy who returned to college later in life I feel you are overvaluing its significance in producing good work.

College doesn't make people into anything or anyone. That is the student's job. The best things college has to offer are mentors, resources and connections and if you are self-driven and passionate, you will go very far because you will likely take full advantage of these opportunities. Passionate and obsessed people are often successful because they are passionate and obsessed. They live for their craft. I don't know your location or background but if you live in the first world this more than likely applies. In college, learning and throughput are completely up to the student, and ultimately have nothing to do with the University itself. A degree guarantees nothing. I met a graduating, 4.0 Senior in my department this semester who didn't even know who her faculty advisor was. She never even bothered to get to know any of the professors in her department, and that is key to opening up opportunities. Subsequently, she has no job prospects post-graduation. Maybe she will go on to be a brilliant plant geneticist or something, but that will be on her and not the university.

What I'm trying to get at is that if you want to get really good a writing, then write, read, write and write some more. Throw yourself and your work unashamedly out into the world and roll with what follows. If you want to go to college, then use it for what it is; a giant resource hub. No one and Uni can teach you how to be a good writer. Who cares if you suck? You're going to be terrible at first, as we all are at anything we try, but you have to keep going. How many great musicians have degrees in music? Not many. It simply doesn't matter unless you are a clinician or teacher.

I wish you the best.
Cnev is offline   Reply With Quote
8 Thanks From:
Arthur Staaz (04-29-2017), Matthias M. (04-30-2017), miguel1984 (04-30-2017), mongoose (04-29-2017), Raul Urraca (04-29-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (04-29-2017), waffles (04-30-2017)
Old 04-29-2017   #4
Arthur Staaz's Avatar
Arthur Staaz
Mystic
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 164
Quotes: 0
Points: 8,081, Level: 62 Points: 8,081, Level: 62 Points: 8,081, Level: 62
Level up: 77% Level up: 77% Level up: 77%
Activity: 7% Activity: 7% Activity: 7%
Re: Writers' biographies

In certain venues education does matter. And not only education, but where you were educated. An Ivy League or equivalent education is likely going to be demanded or you don't have access. But this would tend to be very established and mainstream venues, like the Atlantic or the New Yorker. Otherwise, I'm not sure how big a deal higher level education is in getting published.

"What lay behind me was no longer any normal, familiar life, that everyday life out of which the impulse to pray raises us, with still at the back of our minds that whensoever we wish we can return. A void was behind me. And in front a wall, a wall of darkness." Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest

arthurstaaz.wordpress.com
Arthur Staaz is offline   Reply With Quote
5 Thanks From:
Cnev (04-29-2017), Matthias M. (04-30-2017), miguel1984 (04-30-2017), Raul Urraca (04-29-2017), ToALonelyPeace (04-29-2017)
Old 04-29-2017   #5
Revenant's Avatar
Revenant
Mystic
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 223
Quotes: 0
Points: 5,383, Level: 50 Points: 5,383, Level: 50 Points: 5,383, Level: 50
Level up: 17% Level up: 17% Level up: 17%
Activity: 7% Activity: 7% Activity: 7%
Re: Writers' biographies

Writing is not so much a factor of education as it is the relentless inner need to do so.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
Revenant is offline   Reply With Quote
8 Thanks From:
Acutely decayed (05-01-2017), Arthur Staaz (05-01-2017), Cnev (04-29-2017), Matthias M. (04-30-2017), miguel1984 (04-30-2017), Raul Urraca (04-29-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (04-29-2017)
Old 04-29-2017   #6
Raul Urraca's Avatar
Raul Urraca
Acolyte
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 83
Quotes: 0
Points: 3,463, Level: 38 Points: 3,463, Level: 38 Points: 3,463, Level: 38
Level up: 76% Level up: 76% Level up: 76%
Activity: 7% Activity: 7% Activity: 7%
Re: Writers' biographies

I don't think you need a university education to be a writer. You just need to read a lot and work hard. Many of the writers mentioned on here didn't have much in terms of university education. I'll list a few-

Edgar Allan Poe: Dropped out of college after a year.
H.P. Lovecraft: Didn't even a high school diploma.
Ambrose Bierce: Dropped out of school as a teenager
Arthur Machen: Didn't go to college
Robert E. Howard: Dropped out of college
Clark Ashton Smith: Didn't go to high school.

Other authors mentioned on this forum who had college degrees, but not in literature:

Bruno Schulz: Studied art and architecture
Franz Kafka: Studied law
Georg Trakl: Pharmaceutical training to get drugs

Outside of weird fiction, I can name more than a few famous names:

William Shakespeare: Didn't attend college, insulted for lack of learning.
John Keats: Studied to be an apothecary.
Herman Melville: Formal education ended at 13
Hart Crane: Dropped out of high school
Arthur Rimbaud: Ran away from home and ceased education; also too young for college.
Homer: College not yet invented.
Wallace Stevens: Law degree
Emily Dickinson: Ten months studying theology

You're in good company. You don't need a formal education to write well. Just read a lot, read closely (very closely). Imitate things from writers you like, but also play around with your own techniques. Personal study and hard work are just as good as, if not better than, a university education in literature.
Raul Urraca is offline   Reply With Quote
7 Thanks From:
Acutely decayed (05-01-2017), Arthur Staaz (05-01-2017), Matthias M. (04-30-2017), miguel1984 (04-30-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (04-30-2017), Zaharoff (04-30-2017)
Old 04-30-2017   #7
Zaharoff's Avatar
Zaharoff
Grimscribe
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 624
Quotes: 0
Points: 7,948, Level: 62 Points: 7,948, Level: 62 Points: 7,948, Level: 62
Level up: 33% Level up: 33% Level up: 33%
Activity: 100% Activity: 100% Activity: 100%
Re: Writers' biographies

Bukowski - Two years at Los Angeles City College studying art, journalism, and literature before he dropped out. Aside from those lacking college degrees, consider how many writers never bothered with writing seminars or workshops.
Zaharoff is offline   Reply With Quote
6 Thanks From:
Arthur Staaz (05-01-2017), Matthias M. (04-30-2017), miguel1984 (04-30-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (04-30-2017), waffles (04-30-2017)
Old 04-30-2017   #8
Justin Isis's Avatar
Justin Isis
Chymist
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 491
Quotes: 0
Points: 17,914, Level: 92 Points: 17,914, Level: 92 Points: 17,914, Level: 92
Level up: 54% Level up: 54% Level up: 54%
Activity: 43% Activity: 43% Activity: 43%
Re: Writers' biographies

Quote Originally Posted by Matthias M. View Post
Dear Ligottians,

I often think that I am not able to write my own stories even if I would love to. I have no BA, MA or any other university degree or a college degree in Literature, English or something other in the influence zone of writing.
Relax, because the two sentences above really have nothing to do with each other. You get to the point of being able to write your own stories by...trying to write your own stories. That's really it.

I decided pretty early on (around age 14 or 15) that writing had nothing to do with academia and that most of my teachers were unqualified morons with no especial understanding of either art or life. Later, at university, I saw no point in soliciting advice from professors, because I had a fairly clear idea of the things I wanted to make and didn't see why anyone else's opinions on them were necessary.

"Creative Writing" is a pyramid scheme at best - anyone who says otherwise is invested in the system. Think about it - why would you trust anyone to give you advice on something as important as the things YOU want to make? Writing is not a craft.

TL;DR: Just write things and finish them, that's it.
Justin Isis is offline   Reply With Quote
10 Thanks From:
Acutely decayed (05-01-2017), Arthur Staaz (05-01-2017), Kevin (05-01-2017), miguel1984 (05-01-2017), mongoose (05-01-2017), Raul Urraca (05-01-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (05-02-2017), waffles (05-01-2017), Zaharoff (05-01-2017)
Old 05-01-2017   #9
Sand's Avatar
Sand
Mystic
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 212
Quotes: 0
Points: 11,906, Level: 75 Points: 11,906, Level: 75 Points: 11,906, Level: 75
Level up: 52% Level up: 52% Level up: 52%
Activity: 7% Activity: 7% Activity: 7%
Re: Writers' biographies

Dear Matthias, I have had quite a bit of writing published and I did not go to college or university. My formal education stopped at 18. Justin has a fair point about creative writing courses too. Some of the most powerful and original writers in our field did not have formal education beyond school either: eg Robert Aickman, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, M P Shiel, David Lindsay, Hope Hodgson, Mary Butts. The best advice about writing is the simplest: read a lot, walk a lot, look and listen a lot, write when you must. Good luck!
Sand is offline   Reply With Quote
8 Thanks From:
Acutely decayed (05-01-2017), Arthur Staaz (05-01-2017), Doctor Dugald Eldritch (05-02-2017), Justin Isis (05-01-2017), miguel1984 (05-01-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (05-02-2017), Zaharoff (05-01-2017)
Old 05-01-2017   #10
Zaharoff's Avatar
Zaharoff
Grimscribe
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 624
Quotes: 0
Points: 7,948, Level: 62 Points: 7,948, Level: 62 Points: 7,948, Level: 62
Level up: 33% Level up: 33% Level up: 33%
Activity: 100% Activity: 100% Activity: 100%
Re: Writers' biographies

Quote Originally Posted by Sand View Post
. . . best advice about writing is the simplest: read a lot, walk a lot, look and listen a lot . . .
Echo that.

You will observe far more walking the neighborhood, than peering into the phone.
Likewise listening ... the nonsense that comes out of nearby mouths.
From the banal to the unbelievable.
Zaharoff is offline   Reply With Quote
4 Thanks From:
miguel1984 (05-02-2017), Mr. Veech (05-02-2017), T.E. Grau (05-02-2017), ToALonelyPeace (05-02-2017)
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
authors, biographies, biography, writers

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Some More Obscure Weird Writers Doctor Dugald Eldritch Other Authors 3 05-26-2014 05:51 AM
Where are all the great Horror writers? Malone General Discussion 3 11-07-2012 06:30 PM
Rare photos of writers, little-known and well-known too fluteboy General Discussion 33 03-18-2011 01:55 PM
Currently writers to watch nomis General Discussion 13 07-12-2010 03:25 PM
Writers on Writing G. S. Carnivals Other Author Quotations 0 01-08-2010 09:06 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:21 PM.



Style Based on SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER as Published by Silver Scarab Press
Design and Artwork by Harry Morris
Emulated in Hell by Dr. Bantham
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Template-Modifications by TMS