Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Another Post on Writing

The High Country Book Fair in Haywood County this past weekend was a huge success. Osondu Booksellers sold a bunch of books, and the Writers Alive! writing group was thrilled to see so many authors and book lovers alike attend the event.

I got to meet a number of authors, including Thomas Rain Crowe, Fred Chappell, and the delightful Kerry Madden. I also met a poet, Michael Beadle, who recently quit his English-teaching career to become a full-time performance poet ... and he had lots of advice for teaching ninth-graders! The whole day was a lot of fun.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm (mostly) back into my routine of writing in TNP every morning. The going has been slow. I've crossed out a lot of pages. But I'm still plugging away at it; in fact, TNP is my next destination after I post this!

I still don't have a good answer for people who ask me what the book is about. My stock answer has become, "A journey." How that for vagueness?

I am tired of people automatically asking me if I'm writing a "romance novel." No, I am not writing a romance novel. I've written on my feelings on that matter in this blog before. And someone asked me the other day if I was writing "chick lit." I had to look up the term "chick lit" on the internet. And no, it's not "chick lit." My two main characters are a fortysomething man and a young girl. Come to think of it, I have nary a modern-day chick in my lit.

I get caught off-guard when people ask me how I'm going to publish TNP. Publish? Right now my focus is on writing it. Until I get it written (and it's still a draft or two away from that), I'm not even going to think about publishing.

Still, at the book fair this weekend, I found myself a little jealous of some of the authors. Not in an ugly, green-eyed-monster kind of way, but in a way that made me ask myself, "Self, why don't you ever think about publishing anything you write?" My one published book was something that I didn't really pursue ... the opportunity just kind of fell in my lap.

I could have taken on some editing projects this summer, in addition to some freelance writing. I could have worked on several in-progress essays, brushing them up to a level that I'd feel comfortable sending them off to "little magazines." I could have worked on TNP a lot more than I did. But I didn't. I chose to do other things instead--like working at time-consuming, low-paying jobs, preparing for the teaching year, and reading up a storm. It can be argued that taking the teaching job was yet another way of avoiding trying my hand at a full-time freelance writing and editing career.

But it been a good summer. I learned a lot from those low-paying jobs, got a lot of important school-related work done, and relished the opportunity to read with abandon. But I do wonder why I so often hesitate to get my writing out there. It sure would have been nice to have two or three books to offer at that book fair this weekend, instead of just one.

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