Questions You Always Wanted to Ask Writers…
My questions were answered. I counted twenty eight people in our audience, plus four on the panel. The moderator directed the first questions to me. (Ladies first, I guess.) Answering questions is a good exercise. When we’re caught up in doing something we really enjoy and have been doing it long enough that its practice is part of life, it’s easy to forget the baby steps we took to get there; easy to forget what made us want to do this in the first place; easy to forget how hard it is to make a footprint in a glutted marketplace. We can all forget what it’s like to be the freshman.
I appreciate that the panel received a list of questions that might be asked, in advance. I’d had a few days to dig deep for those forgotten answers. “Oh, gee, I don’t know; gosh, it’s been awhile, I don’t remember,” aren’t satisfactory answers for an audience that’s given up a Saturday in the Christmas season to learn something about a writing career. If I’m ever a moderator, I will give this same consideration to my panel; they will get the questions in advance.
One panelist started his career publishing his own work. He told us how many mistakes he made, how unaware he was of all the “stuff” one needs to know before self-publishing, and how shocking it was to see the awful book he’d produced. He now owns a small press and is able to help others not make those mistakes. The other panelist informed the moderator he was doing it his way. He stood up and gave us a history of his career, biography and books. There was good information to be gleaned from it, but it was embarrassing for the moderator who tried to keep us on track and watched the clock. Message here: if you’re going to be on a team, play the game and listen to the captain.
If you are interested in writing, my advice to you is to attend this kind of happening in your community. Find the writers where you live and join their writing group; form a critique group. Attend writing conferences and join your regional support organizations. Read books on the writing craft. No one can do this alone. Whether you self-publish, write e-books or go traditional, you need the expertise of a writing community. You need encouragement and support to stay on track and keep going. You need to learn what to do after you write The End. You need to learn the vernacular and the technique. Don’t worry about publishing. Worry about the writing and enjoy the journey. Publication will come in time. This job requires patience. It also requires information. Seek that first. There is so much more to writing than writing.