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Hello, and, are there any other aspiring writers amongst us?!

Hi there,
This is my first contribution to this already expansive but accessible seeming website. My name's Ben, I'm 35, currently living in Sheffield, England. I have dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome. Like many of you it already seems, I love reading and writing, listening to and playing music, art, and so on. However sometimes my confidence in my creative abilities diminishes whenever I am consuming the work of a genius, say S. Bellow in literature, or S. Prokofiev in music, and so on, because I often feel that I can't write, etc, like my heroes. Recently I've even been contemplating ‘accepting myself’, and focusing on being more a consumer of culture than a producer of it.

And yet, a dream I've had since I was 20, of becoming a published writer of some sort, has not entirely died. Indeed, on the one hand, the dyspraxia part of my diagnosis illuminates for me in an inspiring fashion that great literary figures of the past were all dyspraxics. Some of you may have also heard the cyberspace gossip that Samuel Johnson, S. T. Coleridge, the Bronte sisters, G. K. Chesterton, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and Jack Kerouac were all dyspraxic, that is, on the autistic spectrum. But this is not all, for, on the other, hand, during that great 2015 book on autism, Steve Silberman's Neurotribes: the legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently , he quotes Hans Asperger as saying "the hope of finding a comrade like themselves’ (sic).

Taken together, in my own context, but maybe in some of yours too, the dream of becoming a published writer is still just about on the cards, however, in my own experience, various attempts have demonstrated to me that, without a serious collaborator, I will never be able to finish a whole book and get it published. Now, on the one hand, in terms of elsewhere in the history of books, Martin Amis, during his breakthrough 1973 novel The Rachel Papers argues that the writerly compositional process can in one sense be procedurally boiled down to ‘first you free-associate, then you spot the jigsaw, then you put the jigsaw together’; and, on the other hand, Cathy Newman, presenter on Channel four news, has more recently contributed a particular thesis to the discourse entitled Bloody Brilliant People; The Couple and Partnerships that History forgot. In one words, as this post perhaps demonstrates, I am okay when it comes to free associating, but when it comes to the intense organisational and structuring sides of writing, I have become convinced that I desperately need a serious collaborator. Perhaps, then, Asperger’s ‘comrade’ could become a latest version of Newman’s ‘partnership’?! Please let me know if this sounds like a project you’d like to partake in! However, naturally, perhaps I should enjoy getting to know many of you people first.

Lastly, I apologise if this first contribution of mine seems a bit pompous. Asperger's syndrome people like many of us are often criticised for ‘speaking in flowery language’ (Neurotribes, and, obviously but importantly, elsewhere). Please know that I both enjoy ‘low brow’ culture, as well as enjoying non phoney self deprecation. I suppose one of my maxims would be ‘an audacious but humble ambition’. Maybe this is true of some you people, too? At any rate, I look forward to cyber dialogues with some of you soon. And, who knows, maybe some of us could—in the fullness of time—pull off the miracle of publishing something together?!

Speak soon hopefully,

Ben
 

tree

Blue/Green
Staff member
V.I.P Member
1670339966364.png
 

Gerontius

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hello Ben and welcome to the forum. Send me a PM. I write, and it sounds like we have a lot of the same favorite authors in common.
 

SacredHeart

Member
@benaspiringwriter welcome!

Sadly I can't relate to much of your post, I'm from the UK and in my 30s, that's about it, but I do love the flow of how you express yourself. it's like reading my own thoughts.
There are some pretty incredible people on this platform, and some I'm sure will be able to relate to you more than i can but I wanted to say Hi and nice to meet you!

I look forward to seeing future posts.
 
Hi Gerontius.

Many thanks for your kind, inviting message. I already feel welcome to this important forum. In his book *Asperger syndrome and autism in adults* Luke Beardon offers the following equation ‘autism + environment = outcome’. Like many people on this site, sadly, I have felt like an outsider all my life. Here perhaps I can find some sort of *home*, however much I think that the also asperger syndrome suffering/enjoying Bob Dylan was rather onto something by naming a key documentary of his ‘no direction home’.

Finding a home whilst on the road of life, to put it in sub Kerouacian style (wink), might become what’s possibly at stake here for all of us. Many of you seem to have arguably achieved this already. Hat’s off to you all, and I hope to, again in the fullness of time (wink), achieve my own version of this happy outcome.

And with that, I will set off to compose a rambling PM to Gerontius. After all did not, on the one hand, the dyspraxic Samuel Johnson once write a book called *The Rambler*, and on the other hand, F. Dostoevsky finish his preface to *The Brothers Karamazov*, with the rousing, fascination capacity focusing line “but now, to business”? I think a case can be made! (wink)

Well, after me and Gerontius have enjoyed some aspirational literary ‘stimming’ (wink) exchanges, then I look forward to future even more general exchanges on various threads.

((((((( Sacred Heart, please know that I composed most of this post after having read Gerontius’s comment but before reading yours. Thank you for your kind words,also. Please know that, like many people on the autistic spectrum I have suffered for many years from anxiety and depression, which is not to diagnose you with anything, but your stated partial lack of self confidence in certain areas, is, believe me, something I share, also. It’s why I don’t feel I could plausibly finish and publish a book without serious collaboration from one/many people. What’s more, because you are perhaps suggesting that we are spectrum brothers/siblings of a kind, then not only do I passionately agree to such an idea, but also want to make it clear, that it is by pure chance, nay, complete fluke(!), that I made a rambling reference to Dostoevsky’s *The Brothers Karamazov* whilst composing this comment *before* having read your comment and quickly concluded “why, we are brothers,too!”. This is perhaps a latest historical example of a chapter in the great book *The Power of neurodiversity* by T. Armstrong, who quotes from T. Edisons’s book ‘A stroke of luck’.(!) Indeed—one last thing—it has also reminded me that there is a great Iron Maiden song—Maiden, to my knowledge a popular band amongst us fantasy-loving, friendly-but-fierce sub culture seeking aspies et all— a song called *Blood Brothers* from earlier in the century! Being the quite mechanical, literal minded guy that I am, I see for no other subjective-cum-objective chosen path to steer me on this latest journey to midnight, than to wack on the said Maiden anthem on good old youtube, whilst awaiting future nourishing exchanges on various threads. Overall, can I also say that I’m so excited to discover that the wonderful welcome I’ve received hitherto seems to have been extended. This is beautiful news from my perspective. Let’s hope to experience more profoundly palpable brotherhood/siblinghood redolent moments throughout the rest of the, long winter months…)))))))

Well…Overall, *nice one*, guys and galls, et all. And many thanks for collectively creating this tantalising forum, and for the welcome to it.

Any comments on what I’ve said here, are, as always, welcome. (at the end here I’ve realised that I haven’t asked any questions—-hardly conducive to a healthy, multiple-person symbiotic dialogue!--- and I currently can’t see a way to shoehorn them in without rendering the whole thing even more cumbersome-ly clunky than it already is! This is one example of why I am asking for long term help to perform ‘midwifery’ (wink) work on as yet unknown creative, perhaps even globally barnstorming, projects of the near future. Why!, what, I wonder, can a bunch of autistic spectrum dwellers come up with in, say, a few months of ‘concentrated toil, clear purpose, and unconquerable worldly courage.’ (G. K. Chesterton on the young, ascending Charles Dickens), which can perhaps favourably compare with the various canons of texts (literary, extended essays, sci-fi and so on)?!

Well, speak soon hopefully,


Warmest comradely greetings

Ben
 

foliodoe

I'm living my whole life at once.
Ben! It's nice crossing paths with you. I'm currently in the middle of working through my second novel. I had some poetry published about ten years ago and since then I've never found anything else as compelling or interesting as writing!

I have been working on writing songs and composing since I was young, but shifted my focus to poetry in my 20s. Now I'm focused almost exclusively on being a novelist, but still enjoy writing songs and poetry when inspiration strikes.

My first novel was more of an experiment than anything else. I learned a lot about how much time and effort goes into actually writing a novel. Beyond that, getting a manuscript published is apparently kind of like a lottery. Traditional publishing seems like it's mostly out of reach for the everyday amateur writer - no matter how passionate or skilled or gifted they are.

Self-publishing music is easy because of modern streaming services. There are similar avenues for self-publishing one's writing, but it feels like a consolation prize for those deemed unworthy for mainstream publication.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts on the topic. I'd love to talk to you some more about it!
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome!

Looks like you've already met some of the literary writers here. :)

I do some writing, but more on the technical side.
 

Darkkin

Lioness of Spoons
V.I.P Member
A number of members here dabble in writing, and from a writer's standpoint using unattained publication as an indicator of one's writing ability is really one of the biggest disservices a writer can do to themselves.

Traditional publishing is dictated by trends (both fiction and nonfiction). There are a lot of traditionally published authors who have truly horrific works available. The only reason they were published was because the topic of the book was in vogue at the time.

Look at all the celebrities and athletes who have cookbooks and picture books, most of them are cobbled together, largerly ghostwritten, and generally paltry works that are 'bestsellers' because of a label.

I work frontside retail at a bookshop. This is the kind of junk that gets released in mass quantities, but never sells and is returned to the publisher within six months and ends up being purchased for pennies on the pound.

Good writing are the books readers truly like. These are the books they recommend, talk about, review, and gift...and a lot of these books are small press, digital, or print on demand. They aren't the big gloss hardcovers from Celebrity Q.

Effective and impactful writing is not limited to just the printed mediums. It is making an impact on whatever platform or medium that is readily available. We have a lot of good writers on this forum. Their replies are insightful and in many cases highly educational, too. Being someone other's like to read is a much truer measure of a writer's success than an unpublished novel. Everybody has an unfinished or unpublished book...

Main reason I don't often share the fact I write is because people take it as a cue that I want to hear all about their work and: 'Oh yeah, could you edit this for me, too? And you know I can't pay you anything for that. Real writer's are always poor." Real world situation encountered an average of 5 - 8 times a year.
 
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Outdated

I'm from the other end of the spectrum.
V.I.P Member
I love writing but I wouldn't call myself a writer. Perhaps "verbose" is a more accurate word. :)

Welcome to the forums.
 
Hi Foliodoe,

Thanks for your kind and constructive words. I’m genuinely impressed that you have had stuff published. Your analysis of the publishing world is also impressive. I’ve never come anywhere close, to be honest. I was a teaching assistant for several years, and then was a full time voluntary Trotskyist (don’t laugh!), so it is a rare occurrence at the age of 35 finding myself full time unemployed, with time on my hands, and a perhaps long-postponed chance to achieve and taste a form of what Harold Bloom, in *The western canon*, called ‘aesthetic dignity.’

And yet, please know that I’m aware, that even with the best will in the world, with the strongest symbiotic fellow autistic comradeship, shall we say (wink), in the final analysis, books aren’t published by duos but by single writers. Hans Asperger once said, in his 1944 paper *Autistic Psychopathy in Childhood*, that autistic people typically display behaviour that can be summed up as demonstrating ‘a preference for abstract content’. As is maybe evident from my ‘epsitolary-cum-informal essay’ prose style today, I find the compositional mechanics of, say, ‘plot’ quite daunting. (btw, which parts of novel writing do you find most difficult and easiest, Foliodoe?) Little autobiographical, commentary filled riffs, however, I can do, and enjoy doing. However John Motson never got round to reading *Lolita*. He was too busy commentating on football games no one else but his aspie self cared about, like those in the Vauxhall conference.

Talking of the Vauxhall conference; well, concerning that fabled hypothetical land, the Vauxhall conference of the literary world, whilst this forum is more elevated than that, perhaps my own predicament is somehow partially akin to how Ian McEwan once said of the also once Trotskyist Tariq Ali “he’s not in the same league as Christopher Hitchens”. But, then again, lets face facts—-as V. I. Lenin once said, “facts are stubborn things”--- Hitchens once got spanked by M. Thatcher with a parliamentary order paper (its there for all to see in his memoir *Hitch 22*(!), from way back in 2010, before what Polly Toynbee and David Walker called *The lost decade*), *and* supported the Iraq war that commenced in 2003. So forget Christopher Hithens! However as the also late Simon Hoggart once said in the *Manchester Guardian*, “He left his first wife when she was pregnant….but heavens could he write!”.

At any rate, confession time. I have actually just dropped out of the second year of my sociology degree at Sheffield Hallam university. When I was within the Hallam bureaucratic machinery, what Erving Goffman in his sociology book *Asylums; Essays on the Condition of the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates*--- a sort of sociological version of *One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,* I guess— called ’total institutions’, I often thought of another Oscar Wilde obsessed high functioning autistic type, S. P. Morrissey's, specifically his lyric “I was looking for a job, and then I found a job. And heaven knows I’m miserable now”. I can’t write like my heroes. Period. But I’ll never stop writing, because I love it.

And yet, ‘heaven knows I’m miserable now’; that’s to a large extent the gist of the way I feel about my current, and foreseeable, creative plight. Indeed, you argue, Foliodoe, in favour of the notion that the non writing public, tend to underestimate the sheer blood, sweat and tears that goes into writing a successful novel, however, believe me, even whilst penning these optimistic sounding gregarious riffs here, I feel the often end-product-no-where-in-sight drudgery of writing novels far more than you, Foliodoe. Again, the urge to drop out, last month, was immense. And yet, as Scottish indie rockers Idelwide sing on their album *The remote part*, “It’s like your life hasn’t changed”. In other words, ,there is S. P. Morrissey’s lyrical analysis rising up phantom like once again! ; “I was looking for a job, and then I found a job/ And heaven knows I’m miserable now.” (!). And yet, as another great poet, Alexander Pope, once said; “hope springs eternal in the human breast”. However hopeless my general prospects and general spirits, day by day, become, my fingers are certainly perpetually crossed, my friends!

By the way, is it possible to buy your first novel and/or one of your poetry collections on, say, amazon, Foliodoe? Can I order it on other sites? (uncharacteristically for an aspie, my computer-based knowledge and skills are fairly limited) And would your advice to me be to keep on going down the ‘epistolary informal essay’ daily writerly output route, and hope that at some point, also high functioning type Leon Trotsky’s idea that ‘the transformation of quantity into quality, the most important law of dialectical logic' —-see the 1993 *Workers Power* article *Ways of thinking; Trotsky on dialectics*—- will deliver the goods for me?! Or, as ace novelist and essayist Tom McCarthy says in this youtube video discussing David Foster Wallace (
), “he describes something *clicking* ”?! In world class literary critic James Wood’s *How fiction works*, he references E. M. Forster’s idea that after a certain stage of compositional development he would deem ‘why, one of my characters is ‘in’! ‘; In her underrated book *Caged in chaos; a dyspraxic guide to breaking free* Victoria Briggs talks about being ‘happily ensconced in a library’.

The also disabled Argentinian short story writer J. L. Borges both once said ‘heaven is a library’ as well as ‘blindness can be a new way of seeing’. I’ve written a few thousand words today, across threads and including one PM. And yet, I can’t at this point in the day shake off the ruminatory phantom that, as S. P. Morrissey phrases it with such pathos during another Smiths song *I know it’s over*; ‘And as I climb into an empty bed/ Oh well. Enough said.’’—some autistic lives after all often playing out in real time like bonafide, living incarnations of Smiths lyrics---and so I can’t, at now near midnight, despite all today’s frantic scribbling, shake off the ruminatory phantom that, as G. Flaubert says in one of his letters…well, “useless effort!”. However maybe the whole aforesaid equation-formed notion of autism expert Luke Beardon, ‘autism + environment = outcome’, will *eventually* prove to be the making of me as a writer even in a published sense? I’ve also said elsewhere today, in a PM, I think, that another commentator on Christopher Hitchens, Geoff Dyer, once said ‘he could write essays, but not novels, he was always more limited from the start”. Maybe I’ll have to become an informal essayist but not a novelist? A consolation prize— in both the also Scottish indie band *Orange juice*’s sense, and not— for sure, but not a bad one, surely?

Anyway, please let me know your thoughts on some of what I’ve said Foliodoe? (and others, if this be a sufficiently non-tedious-seeming invitation of sorts!); including whether you think that my tendency to disclose significant personal, emotional autobiographical material is both a potential boon for compositional potential as well as an obviously oft emotionally stressful and sometimes compositionally counter productive one? That favourite writer of Htichens’s , George Orwell, once said of Dickens’ s *Nicholas Nickleby*, “the sheer amount of *unnecessary* detail!’. The also dyspraxic, thus autistic spectrum residing G. K. Chesterton once said “There is more of the spirit of the French revolution in *Nicholas Nickleby* than in *A tale of two cities*.” Although reading this may not have been existentially akin to ‘the best of times’, hopefully it has not been a metaphorical dead ringer for ‘the worst of times’. (!) Anyway, Foliodoe (et all!), constructive comments welcome, and I look forward to future exchanges.

Ben
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
Lastly, I apologise if this first contribution of mine seems a bit pompous. Asperger's syndrome people like many of us are often criticised for ‘speaking in flowery language’ (Neurotribes, and, obviously but importantly, elsewhere). Please know that I both enjoy ‘low brow’ culture, as well as enjoying non phoney self deprecation. I suppose one of my maxims would be ‘an audacious but humble ambition’. Maybe this is true of some you people, too?

Speak soon hopefully,

Ben

I love writing but I wouldn't call myself a writer. Perhaps "verbose" is a more accurate word. :)

Welcome to the forums.

Welcome, Ben! :)
I was passionate about writing fiction when I was in college, but unfortunately, I got burned out on it after a certain point and have never experienced the same creative flow again :( Maybe someday.
I consider myself more of a scientist than a writer (I am a cynologist, and animal behaviorist), so when I do write it's usually more technical (like @VictorR said) but I am also an artist and musician.

But like you and @Outdated , I have sometimes been described as "verbose," and told that I provide too much detail when explaining topics and telling stories. Some people have also said that much of the descriptive language I use is "unnecessary."
You will find in reading my posts here that I tend to ramble, go off on tangents, and I can be overly descriptive.
I read and write much more proficiently than I speak.

I'm glad you've encountered some of the talented resident writers here :) I think you will fit in just fine.
There are many of us "creative types" here, and quite a few threads to showcase art, music, media, and literature.

This post is yet another prime example of me rambling... but I'm happy to give you a warm welcome and hope you enjoy your stay :)
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
Welcome!

Lastly, I apologise if this first contribution of mine seems a bit pompous. Asperger's syndrome people like many of us are often criticised for ‘speaking in flowery language’

Don’t worry too much, if you can. I doubt you will be criticized for that here. I think most of us will not only get it, but appreciate it. Nothing wrong with any kind of writing around here. I hope you enjoy your time and gain a lot from participating here.
 

WhitewaterWoman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Welcome. I am glad to see you are already connecting with some writers here. I have one book and several magazine articles published and even two scientific papers, but they are all nonfiction.

To organize my thoughts, at a very basic and pre-computer level, I wrote every sentence or idea on a 3x5 card and then sorted the cards first into large categories like chapters, and then smaller subcategories, down to paragraphs and then sentences. I would sit on the floor with piles of cards around me. Cards could be sorted and resorted as I gained some clarity as to how to organize it all.
You might or might not find useful something similar.

I wish you good luck in your endeavor.
 

Wolfnox

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
A number of members here dabble in writing, and from a writer's standpoint using unattained publication as an indicator of one's writing ability is really one of the biggest disservices a writer can do to themselves.

Traditional publish is dictated by trends (both fiction and nonfiction). There are a lot of traditionally published authors who have truly horrific works available. The only reason they were published was because the topic of the book was in vogue at the time.

Look at all the celebrities and athletes who have cookbooks and picture books, most of them are cobbled together, largerly ghostwritten, and generally paltry works that are 'bestsellers' because of a label.

I work frontside retail at a bookshop. This is the kind of junk that gets released in mass quantities, but never sells and is returned to the publisher within six months and ends up being purchased for pennies on the pound.

Good writing are the books readers truly like. These are the books they recommend, talk about, review, and gift...and a lot of these books are small press, digital, or print on demand. They aren't the big gloss hardcovers from Celebrity Q.

Effective and impactful writing is not limited to just the printed mediums. It is making an impact on whatever platform or medium that is readily available. We have a lot of good writers on this forum. Their replies are insightful and in many cases highly educational, too. Being someone other's like to read is a much truer measure of a writer's success than an unpublished novel. Everybody has an unfinished or unpublished book...

Main reason I don't often share the fact I write is because people take it as a cue that I want to hear all about their work and: 'Oh yeah, could you edit this for me, too? And you know I can't pay you anything for that. Real writer's are always poor." Real world situation encountered an average of 5 - 8 times a year.
You know any safe sites to write stories on without legal trouble?
 

GypsyMoth

Sui generis.
V.I.P Member
Welcome, @benaspiringwriter!
'Fraid I have to call it an early night but will hopefully be able to post something more substantial tomorrow. Looking forward to finishing reading your post and the replies.
 

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