I wasn't completely serious, though there were a few there who needed a basic writing class, not one on pitching agents. And people left smiling (some even sent thankful emails), so I failed as a meanie if not as a workshop leader.
Nevertheless, I'll be the first to sneer that there are wannabe writers whose work shouldn't be inflicted on anyone other than themselves. (Ditto musicians, visual artists, singers, etc.) But if writing gives you pleasure, and keeps you off the streets and out of the pool halls, who am I--or anyone?-- to say, "Give up, you're wasting your time"?
This morning I was talking with Steve Bennett, the mastermind behind AuthorBytes. (Small world: Book Promotion 101 alum Julia Flynn Siler, author of HOUSE OF MONDAVI, is a client.) Steve sent me links to some of their other recent creations, one of which is the relaunch of Chris Bohjalian's site. The Q&A page has the ultimate dream-crushing story; scroll down to:
Many writers are hardly "overnight success" stories. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? Any rejection-slip horror stories or inspirational anecdotes?