I joined the Atlanta Writer's Club about six months ago, after my husband got involved with the group, but I'd never attended a meeting. Until today. Either the timing wasn't right, or the subject matter didn't interest me or I had a full blown case of lazy. Hubby has actually been to a monthly gathering though he spends most of his time meeting monthly with his smaller critique group of about a dozen members/writers. He graciously took me along to his December/Holiday meeting and as nice as the folks there were, I knew a critique group like that wasn't for me. I'm not an experienced writer, I don't particularly like writing critiques of other people's work and I think my skin is far too thin at this stage of the game. I choose instead, to count on the support of a handful of people I trust and whose writing I like very much. And I know they view me as much more than the words I've put on a page. This month, however, the speakers at the meeting did interest me. George Scott of Peerless Bookstore gave a mini-talk about "What Self- and Independently Published Authors Need to Know about Dealing with Bookstores." The main speaker was successful author Ann Hood who spoke about "How to Write Through the Land of Sorrow." She was so funny and honest and open as she talked about the sudden death of her five-year-old daughter and how she turned to knitting as a way to work through her grief and get back her writing mojo. The more she spoke, the more a little bell went off in my head. It was then I realized I had read her essay on the subject in Real Simple Magazine. As sad as her story was, it was also incredibly uplifting, but what I took away from her talk had little to do with grief and everything to do with patience and tenacity. I don't doubt for a minute she has some innate talent that we mere mortals lack. And I don't doubt that she's had some luck and some people along the way that believed in her. But she wrote and wrote and wrote and it just reinforced for me how much time this will take. I think sometimes, when you tell people you wrote a book, they wonder why it's not in the bookstore and you haven't quit your day job and been on the Oprah show, as if the act in and of itself realizes your dream. That's like saying I deserve a gold medal in swimming because I actually got in the pool. Although my hero, MKA, is so prolific she generates a best-seller a year, Ann, no slouch in the best-seller department herself, will take two years to write a book, and when her daughter died she didn't write at all for two years. Ann did touch on the advice MKA gave me and the inspiration for the name of this blog: she said you have to sit in the chair and write. And that's what I'm going to do -- walk the walk, talk the talk, and sit in the chair. You know, maybe I won't even talk the talk. Maybe I'll just post blogs and wait until I can say I'm a published author. I'd like to think my first book has potential. Is it perfect? Hell no. But I found an editor to work with me to make it better (more on that in a later post). I hope my second book will be better and my third better than that, and one day when I've honed my craft, learned some lessons and weathered some rejections I can go back to that first book and say "I know what I need to do now to make it better." I may not go to another AWC meeting. Not sure it's for me. I think the median age was around sixty; not much older than me to be sure but most of my friends will tell you I can act like I'm eighteen. Folks looked so earnest. They had their pads and pens with them in the event words of wisdom were imparted that would make their writing dreams come true. And though I was inspired by the speaker today, rather than sit my butt in a seat in a dim auditorium at Dekalb Perimeter College, I think I'll sit in this chair right here. And write.
I think sometimes, when you tell people you wrote a book, they wonder why it's not in the bookstore and you haven't quit your day job and been on the Oprah show, as if the act in and of itself realizes your dream. That's like saying I deserve a gold medal in swimming because I actually got in the pool.
Glue YOUR BUTT
TO THE CHAIR
The ups and downs, small victories and major setbacks of trying to get your first book published. There will be laughter, tears and all that good stuff.