Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Writing: The Game

"I do not like to write - I like to have written." Gloria Steinem

Here is the fence. On each side are writers. On each side are paths worn to dirt from anxious contemplation of what it will take to leap to the other side. Sure there's the fear that on the other side dwells a big, bad monster who will consume the writers. Not "kill" them or "destroy" them, but "consume" them to a point where springing back across the fence will prove impossible. And, yet, every writer needs what lies on both sides of that fence.

On one side is actual writing: the toil of wrestling with a basic story along with all its posse: style, voice, character, setting, grammar, etc.

On the other side hunches the ugly ogre of marketing. Not merely finding the right "home" for the writer's story, but all its elements: finding an agent; dealing with editors, publishers, publicity departments, printers; developing a fan base; selling the finished product (constructing and maintaining websites; attending conventions and conferences; visiting bookstores, libraries, and schools).

"But all I want to do is write!" one writer says.

"But I love being on the road and meeting other writers!" another writer says.

Of course, any writer can straddle the fence. A lot of "writers" do that quite successfully. Some attribute their location to "writer's block." Or children. The day job. No inspiration. No money. No control. (Fill in the black.)

Still others pace back and forth on their side of the fence. It's a familiar place. Less scary.

Either could readily swing their arms around Gloria Steinem's words: "I do not like to write - I like to have written."

Yeah, less work. Less stress. "I just want success and a gazillion dollars!" more than one writer says.

Stephen King, who retired a couple of years ago after a very successful career as a writer, has announced the publication of yet another new novel. Is this his fourth or fifth since his "retirement"? I think Mr. King likes wrestling with the words more than he confesses. No fences for him.


Ass on the chair and write!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Spring Sprung!

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." Henry David Thoreau

We'll let my indulgence in "living life" serve as my excuse for the little break in posts on writing. Spring arrived with blasters on and the Earth bloomed and blossomed under the searing heat. But it's back to being a chilly spring, and here I am back at the keyboard where I should be.

So... how is your writing coming along? Have you been successful at penning those 1000 words every day? How about your reading?

It is important as a writer to get out and mingle with people, to live life. Otherwise you become stuck like the songwriter whose every tune seems to be about how lonely she is singing at some smoky bar to indifferent ears.

If writers are to be authentic in their tales, in the voices that they use, then they need to walk the walk and talk the talk and get out there and live. But more. Writers, more than others, need to reach out further for experiences. Don't be afraid to grab your helmet and lance and go charge at some windmills. Because if anybody questions your sanity, you can simply smile and own up to being a writer.


Here is Evansville, the Midwest Writers' Guild will meet on Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m., upstairs at Barnes & Noble Bookstore on Green River Road. We'll be welcoming some more new members, so if you are considering rubbing elbows with others who write, please join us!


The next gathering for Writers Write! is May 7, at 10:00 a.m., upstairs at Willard Library in Evansville. Our topic will be "It's Only Just Begun: Revisions." All writers are welcome!