Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, wrote Robert Frost.
The lesson: choose one and that “makes all the difference.”
But be advised: after you choose one, you will eventually come to another place where that one road again diverges into two.
You must keep choosing. [This applies to all of life, not only writing.]
I attended my first writers’ conference in 2010. As instructed by the organizers of the conference, I had written ten pages of a manuscript in order to participate in a critique group led by a professional author.
The advice I received at that conference is with me to this day.
We were told we needed:
Website. Got one.
Book “trailers” or previews. Had them videoed.
Independent authors? Need your own publishing company. Need to pay state sales tax. ISBN numbers. Cover artist. Editor. Formatter [unless you can do it yourself, which to this day have never even tried.] Host a book signing. [In itself, an art. Place to host, invitation.]
The first few months after that conference, I drove myself to distraction, trying to learn and manage all these items I needed, tasks I needed to complete.
After a while, I realized, If I do not finish the book first, I have nothing to publish, and therefore won’t need any of this.
So I went back to writing and published the first book in 2013. I thought that would be “enough,” but I wasn’t finished… not by a long shot. So I kept writing…happily.
Soon I realized I was doing “all the right things” by instinct. They had become second nature…the fulfilling of writing and publishing tasks was as natural to me as going about a daily routine of washing dishes, or putting gas in the car.
Then…the writing went well…not easy, mind you…it is arduous work…done alone and even after it is finished, you don’t stand on a stage, bouquet in arms, and bow to thunderous applause.
You can’t follow the reader home and watch them read your book. You can only imagine…and hope…they reach for your book when they can’t sleep, take your book on vacation to enjoy when they have time to read. You hope they smile, laugh, perhaps get misty-eyed once in a while. And when they say, “I love your books,” you head right back to the book underway and keep going.
After 10 years of writing, I finally feel like I have my feet under me and I’ve reached another fork in the road.
January of this year, I determined to stop acting like Harper Lee or any one of the other eminently successful writers, who withdraw from the public, never to be seen, devoted to their art, but not to people.
This year I have attended the Jax Book Fest and the Florida Heritage Book Festival.
I have had my website redesigned to fit where I am now. As of this writing, the redesigned site will go live in a few days.
And…I finally heeded the advice to “start blogging,” joining in the Blog 31 Days Challenge at the beginning of March.
In days ahead, I may not have a blog every day, but at least twice a week, possibly more. And I’m going to start compiling a list a topics for May and its 31 days, when I will again participate in the 31 Days Challenge.
Thank you for joining me here. I have appreciated your many kind comments.