Writers who write, into published authors...
Final thoughts on the AJC Decatur Book Festival Writer's Conference....
I hadn't mentioned that George Singleton, author of "Novel," spoke regarding the difference between southern writing and writers from the South; they are not necessarily one and the same. It is mostly a lifestyle which we reference in such a broad categorization. In fact, he mentioned a writer from Maine that he considers one of the best "southern writers." (Substitute moose for deer, he used as one example).
He is a very funny, and I think, humble person given his success. What I found to be his best and most profound advice (which if I'm not mistaken, the blog panel - Snynder, Jones and Guth echoed) is that as up-and-coming or just-getting-going writers, we don't really need to mess with all of this yet! Shut everything else out but the short story or novel.
Obsessing over the "how-to" [insert: find agent, market your book, any number of imaginary problems or points of procrastination] when you don't yet have a product, is really counterproductive. Listen to the successes and failures - a little bit - for pick-me-up and inspiration, but don't get bogged down in designing each step of the way, just yet.
Our jobs right now are to shut everything else out and put together the first drafts, the better drafts, and then start that marketing process.
It's almost like sitting at a smorgasbord and wanting the food everyone else is eating, a want it all sort of thing. Pick your project, and work on it!!
The Catch-22, I think:
Working with such focus and concentration doesn't allow us to "see" progress, so in the true American immediate gratification sort of way, we have to write pieces and get them out to visualize the progress, and it gets us in knots - the excruciating pain of waiting, which then keeps us too harried to write more! It may be hindering the long-term goals, and here I am truly speaking of myself, because I think I should be working on my novel!
I wonder how many of us are in that boat? I absolutely adored novels when I was growing up; I honestly believe that's the form I am [will be] probably at my best. Last year, when I participated in NaNoWriMo, the story really began unfolding - developing - as a novel should while I was writing, and I was amazed. I think it was the first clue to my overly dense mind, that I write as I think - as a big-picture person - and I get comments (a lot) regarding my so-called shorts: "Seems like a piece of something larger."
Maybe my shorts really are.
However, whatever the individual case, the true goal, the advice he gave is prudent....agents, publishers, editors and publicists mean nothing to us yet, if we aren't writing. Every day.
Go. Write something!
Another small press find that MANY people will like:
Impetus Press, publishing folks such as Nick Antosca and Dave Housely.
It was founded by Jennifer Banash and Willy Blackmore, the site says "on a mountain of contempt for mainstream publishing." The story of Impetus is an extremely interesting read (even after my general admonishment to just write), and might give hope to writers that lie in that grey area between commercial and experimental.
So see? Don't feel like there's no home for your treasure. There's going to be - don't worry about it now - GO Write!
Image : Adventures in New Zealand