Washed Up Authors

Washed up authors are like creative beings, but only part way, in between the mundane and the creative. Incapable of improvement on their existing work, any current work of theirs is a bit under-designed, a little too utilitarian.

Every dimension of some people’s lives, including washed up authors, will tend to expand to a point then only contract from then on, and since washed up authors don’t have inspiration, drive or even courage anymore they rely on their reputation and financial incentives to develop more work. Based on the nature of the washed up author we can assume that he will be a more or less automatic emotional slave to his former work, and only work to advance it and ensure its perpetuation. This is the upper limit of his present usefulness.

But, not to throw out the quality with the demotivated, now timid hanger-on. Naturally normal people adore and celebrate washed up authors of quality, and sometimes for “good” reason. But to be washed up in any art only implies one has contained a kind of freedom and separation from their former selves and work, trading the slavery of defending one’s work with the freedom of doldrum.

Hard to be a writer or much of anything in a era of censorship. Only the pre-approved versions of creativity are allowed citizen.

Not exactly my point, but I’ll roll with it.

Think of it metaphorically as these forums being one’s creative outlet and the text filling it being one’s work.
One’s work isn’t set in stone, it can be added to, if the author is still fully lucid.

Creative or expressive outlet until they outlaw it that is, but yes, I get your point.

By the way, that time could probably come more soon than most realize.

Forms of expression that recognize censorship as defeating defeat themselves.

Creative people in general, even greats, often have this decline. They look like the same person, more experience (practice) should have led to greater skill and range, but often it does not. Is it a destructive feedback loop, where they are praised for what they were and they either cannot go against what they were or simply rebel, but cannot flow into something new? Is there something simply pernicious in being the center of so much attention? Should there be courses to deal with this? Fame is supposed to be a good, but perhaps it is generally bad, though a few can handle it. Is it that people are generally dying, compromising, giving up, cutting off parts of them selves as they age, so even the 30 year old is a shadow and creative people are not an exception to this decline?

I believe so.

I can only image there is for the creative and uncreative alike.

For the benefit of the famous person’s health I would think it wouldn’t hurt, but I doubt it would do much for a creative person’s continued creativity

I see no problem with the creative person temporally finding a metaphorical death and figuratively cutting off parts of himself. And giving up with certainty, only to start again later is absolutely essential to true creativity. Its all part of the creative process. For those who don’t see themselves as creative all that may seem to be only a decline. The real decline is do to actual ill effects of health or through corrupting things such as unwarranted power or fame

Those who compromise are generally only the ones who maintain any significant fame, but there are still those who adamantly do not compromise in there creative years and still find enough praise and fame to ruin them. And I agree that people of almost any age are susceptible to the loss of creativity that comes with fame.

Those whose creativity survives fame are the ones who absolutely cannot stand praise. But, then I think most people already know that is a trait of the famous but continually creative person. So some creative people try to emulate that by pretending to hate praise, when they really thrive off it, egotistically that is. Its a trait that the true creative genius doesn’t have to make pretenses about, praise truly is like a dagger to him.

Its hard to tell with creative people who shun praise. For example, one may have produced some remarkable work and now be presumably stuck in stagnation and be one to claim to hate praise and shun lackeys and such. But, when I find out that he is actually surrounding himself with lackeys, and shuns all forms of challenge, all through subtle, passive means, its almost a scream to my ears that he wants to be thought of one who still has potential even though it is dead and buried.

Stuart, fame is such a misleading concept nowadays. The really lasting famous have never wanted it, and when it stuck on them, they shunned the exposure and the lack of privacy that goes with it. They became famous more because of middle men-publicists and sleazy profiteers wanting to make profit by them. True artists don’t need fame. They really have little ego to begin with, all their energy. Seems to be focused on their work. Usually the best artists died unnoticed, broke, mozart was buried in an unknown pauper’s grave. Ironic , when he was entertained and entertained at the leading houses of his time. Those that have fame become strangely schizophrenic about themselves, their private and public selves are often divided to the point where there is usually a complete denial of one from the other. The one’s who cannot do this are heading for big time trouble.

One benefit about fame, is that usually you’re never really washed up. The fame is extremely marketable, because consumers are programmed to by the label. Fame means a guaranteed, hefty income for life. The smart famous don’t let this deception get to them.

Good points. A true artist may fantasize about any type of non-artistic “success”, but when he actually sees it coming, threatening to actually happen, he will become psychically ill and sabotage it, usually through unconscious means, anyway he can. I see that on this forum with creative people who are continually becoming more and more “successful” and troubled because of its ephemerality.

And by feedback loop, I mean the feedback loop with fans and critics.

So, is it a rule or a tendency. It seems like some can manage to create even well into old age, but the better examples I think of are more private artists, like writers. Actors and musical creators in the public eye seem to get the life sucked out of them more as a rule.

I was being a bit wry by saying courses, however I think one can take steps to minimize or eliminate the damage. Most people do not want to notice how unpleasant parts of being publically known creators is. Or you have others like, say, Cobain, who knew, but simply kept pushing forward into hell anyway, bolstered by drugs. (and drugs erode the self also once they are habit)

Here language gets tricky. I see no problem with no longer creating in ways one did before. I do not see that as necessarily at all coming from something wrong. And to some degree one MUST do this. But cutting off parts, I meant more actually eliminating portions of the self that do not fit one’s self image because it seems necessary to keep being famous, or to satisfy the public. I think actually one has to cut off parts of oneself to put out the same stuff you did before to make the fans happy. You have to cut offf your own desires, which will include the urge to do something new.

I think the impact of a single person not loving something one creates can be significant. To read in some national paper that thousands of fans were disappointed or to get hate mail or stalkers or have experts explain why what you just did was bad or derivative, etc., has an enormous impact on the social mammal, and one that there is little training to prepare for. Especially for those hurtled into fame by their first novel, album, show…

I don’t think they need to hate praise, at least all forms of it, but to be utterly absorbed in your own process is critical. That the receptions of praise and criticism are separate from the creation process. You have to be faithful to that process,w hich the word ‘obsession’ describes well, though it is misleading since it implies pathology.

I agree with this. I think people often confuse form with what is really going on. And since there is such a taboo against confronting people with such things, it is allowed to go on, not just by fans, but even by loved ones. I am being specific here. Recently in a thread here I was basically told that if someone says they are happy, they are happy. The second idea was that one cannot know when another person is doling out a line of BS or is confused about their own emotions or patterns. Transposing this to your thread, this means that if you are a friend of a creative person, even a creator yourself, you 1) must take at face value claims of indifference to praise and prioritization of fame and 2) you cannot know more than your friend about the pattern (iow know they are pretending, perhaps formost to themselves) and y ou certainly should not say anything, since it would be rude and epistemologically indefensible to say, BS X, you lost it, you are kissing the public’s ass and you can’t admit it.

But I think that is ridiculous.

Which reminds me that Sean Penn did this with Nicholas Cage - who was once not a star and actually quite talented.

So one thing that this all makes me think is it is important to have connections with people who are creators themselves, are very psyche savvy and who you allow to confront you. And then of course you need to have some serious courage and allow yourself to take breaks. There is this panic that if I actually breathe and feel into what I am doing and how the praise and negative critique is affecting me, I will lose momentum. So steps are skipped and they accumulate and suddenly you don’t nkow yourself anymore.

And then one must love what one is doing. Not in a hallmark card smiely sort of way, of course.

I see no problem in knowing more about some people than they know themselves, or at least knowing some aspects of them better than they do. Months ago I wrote in detail on that subject. You led me to thinking more about it just now and I think I found a better way of explaining it. I started a new thread:


Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s so hard to find any stories, videos, or media in general that goes against convention or the status quo these days.

Bingo. Let me tell you, it’s designed intentionally also not by accident either.

When I showed my first unfinished short story to a teacher, she flipped out, told me to enter it into a writing contest. I won. I wrote another one, won a second contest. Both these contests were sponsored by two authors in my hometown. I was then on the front page of a local newspaper, where it was proclaimed that I would be the “next big thing” or become the third author from my hometown. Before I could even learn to love the process of storytelling, I was already consumed with the idea that writing would make me famous. The bad thing about that was I was young enough to believe that talent was enough and required little hard work. This has sabotaged my writing process ever since.

Now I see the book industry as middle aged woman market. The idea that I would have to please this target market is something I can never fully commit to. At this point I consider writing things that would not entertain anyone but myself. As a result I expect no success and to deal with that disappointment I begin to identify with artists that sold nothing during their lives until someone found their work and capitalized on some dead version of genius. Some times I play video games instead of write, because I don’t know why it matters if I’m recognized or appreciated after I’m gone. I was washed up before I ever got started.

I think it’s more a function of the way the book industry works. Take 50 Shades of Grey as an example - a terrible trilogy of books. They are awfully written, they tell a boring predictable story but because that story is about a naive virginal woman being seduced by a controlling sociopath, and the sociopath is portrayed in such glowing terms (massive cock, wealthy) the books got published and had masses of money spent on promoting them. The fact is that the book industry can take ANYTHING and turn it into a literary phenomenon, even when the writer has no talent and has nothing original to say. Harry Potter would be another good example.

So, one of the main reasons for washed up authors is that they were washed up to begin with but no one noticed until after the hype bubble had deflated. Same with rock stars.

Meanwhile you get authors like me who have writing talent and have lots of things to say, but because my agenda is anti-sociopathic even small publishers who pride themselves on publishing radical material won’t touch my work. I’m fine with that, I just published it myself and so all the profits from the book are my own (I broke even in less than 3 months), but the main reason I won’t be a washed up author in 10 years is because I have literally dozens of books that I could write. I am always adding to my stock of knowledge, always trying to learn more and understand more, hence I’m never short of things to write about. The limiting factor with me is time.

Furthermore, the fame aspect others in this thread have mentioned is a key factor. The hyped authors who have nothing to say spend literally years being interviewed about books that were so bad they never should have been written. When the writer realises that it wasn’t because of their talent, imagination or hard work but because some culture creator decided their book fitted into what they wanted people to think this year/decade and that no one really cares what they have to say about anything - that must be quite depressing. JK Rowling even adopted a pseudonym to try to get away from all the Harry Potter bullshit, she was that sick of being defined as the person who wrote those books. Now, the pseudonym was leaked (by the culture creators) to help promote her new, pseudonymous book because no one was buying it without knowing it was written by her. Once the pseudonym was leaked, sales went through the roof.

My advice: stop trying to ‘be an author’, just write and publish. Worked for me, but then like I say I actually have talent and things to say…

I understand how that contest was really unfortunate. I was lucky enough to incorporate terrible drawings with my writing so as to get it shunned rather than noticed. Then, even still, it took me a long time to overcome the idea that to author something means associating it with some base replication.