By Leslie Lindsay
So, I just got back from this writing conference. Let me tell you, writing is so much more than cracking your knuckles and sitting down to your keyboard, coffee cup nearby and a blank slate on which to pound out the world’s best novel. Oh, no!
Here’s a quote from a session I attended: “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Yep.
I am still trying to get my bearings after being back. It’s overwhelming in a sense. You take a step out of your “real life” and surround yourself in the throes of writers and the writing life and it all becomes a little bit…well, suffocating. But I say that in a good way. You eat, breathe, and sleep writing. Really. I dreamed about all of the crazy interactions I had over the course of the two days I attended the conference. Lunch and dinner is with the same group of people. The topic of conversation: why writing, of course!
My totebag is full of notes, goodies, and loads of free books (I have yet to really clean it out). I probably have enough reading materials to keep me out of trouble for a good while. They hand ’em out like they are candy. And in a sense, they are. My brain is full of ideas, too like how to make setting a character, how to conduct oneself in interviews, how to market when time and money matter, how to dissect a novel, how to connect with an agent, how to go ghost hunting (yes, really!), and how to pull plot from character.
I heard about $500,000 advances and how it really can happen….but not usually until your 3rd or 4th book. I got books signed by authors and I learned how to talk like a man. Yep. There was actually a workshop on how to make one’s male characters seem more life-like in terms of their word choice, body-language, and reactions. Good stuff.
There was a time when I was at the conference in which I felt totally and completely jazzed up to go home and crack the ol’ knuckles, pull up a cup of coffee and put everything I learned to good use. And then there was time when I felt like it was a stupid pipe dream to become an author. What a dumb idea! What am I thinking?! In fact, it’s not uncommon to get to that point about half-way through one’s manuscript, as Susan Elizabeth Phillips told us. “All good writers get to the point,” she chirpped, “about half-way through that you think what you are writing is just total, utter garbage. You want to give up. But don’t. Keep writing.”
And that, my friends is what I am going to do. Write on, Wednesday!
Leslie Lindsay is the author of “Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech,” (Woodbine House, March 2012) You can find it at Woodbine House, www.woodbinehouse.com, www.amazon.co, and www.barnesandnoble.com. She is working on her next book, “Slippery Slope” in which she still won’t make a hefty advance, but oh well…she just “writes what’s in her heart.”
I stumbled across your blog last week, specifically the Wednesday post “Knuckle Cracking & Time”. What a great find! It was thoroughly enjoyable reading your thoughts about writing. I came across it while looking up stuff about knuckle cracking, an activity that I absolutely *love*!!! So your post brought a smile to my face every time it mentioned that. Have you ever read anything by Janet Evanovich? It’s pretty light (nowhere near Margaret Atwood or Martin Amis, for example) but one thing that I like about her books is that every single one features a female protagonist who casually pops her knuckles throughout the story.
Sorry to bother you with something so trivial but I just thought you’d want to know that you made someone’s day!