where the writers are

Some writing cross references for the week.

Rachel Gardner posted "Can't Hit Send" on her blog.  She begins, "A writer emailed me:

The novel is finished, the query letter is drafted, the synopsis is as tight as I can get it, and I still can’t bring myself to hit that damned “send” button. I’m sure you see the work of many writers who query too eagerly and make bone-head mistakes… I’m trying to avoid making one of those blunders right now."

The full post can be read at http://www.rachellegardner.com.  

I relate to it.  Some days I'd rather be making a speech - hell, make that most days, as I have little difficulty standing up and speaking - I believe I am a natural born bonafide blowhard - rather than hit the send button to submit something.

Over at  Media Bistro, fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson is videotaping his writing process as he writes a chapter.


Everyone's writing process intrigues me.  I've stumbled onto my own.  Yesterday as I wrote at the Beanery, a stranger confessed to seeing me at there typing numerous times and wondered if it was my office.   No, I told her, I have an office at home but I like to escape its silent familiarity and come here, where I'm isolated in the coffee shop's cacophony.  The process falls me at home.  I suspect it falls it's because writing and pursuing story-telling on paper is an escape and a lifeline as much as a love.  

Walking to The Beanery also allows preparation.  I shed my workday image as corporate planner, husband and home owner, and don my secret hero duds.  The walk to the coffee shop allows me to change focus and puts me where I need to be to write fiction.  For those few coffee shop hours, I'm a writer chasing my muse.

At the same site is a post, "The Financial Reality of a Genre Novelists", with links to several efforts to tell how 'much' success pays.  


Reading that reminded me of my military life.  One of my duties was as career advisor to first term airmen.  One thing I always told them, "If you enlisted to become wealthy, you've made a mistake."  

Genre authors can relate to that:  write for other reasons, like insane compulsion or the sheer love of torturing yourself.  Don't do it for the money.  Yes, you may make a decent living but I've met a number of fantasy writers who lived in a tiny apartment above the struggling used  book store where they worked.  

Media Bistro also covered Meredith's Maran's new book, "Why We Write".  Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons provided a brief review on her Red Room blog as well.  While JKG mentions Jodi Picoult and Susan Orlean, Media Bistro's post by Jason Boog mentioned Sue Grafton as well as Orlean:

"Maran shared one piece of advice from Susan Orlean:

You have to appreciate the spiritual component of having an opportunity to do something as wondrous as writing. You should be practical and smart and you should have a good agent and you should work really, really hard. But you should also be filled with awe and gratitude about this amazing way to be in the world.

She also highlighted some advice from mystery novelist Sue Grafton:

You’ve got to write and revise every sentence, every paragraph, and every page over and over until the rhythm, the cadence, and tone are properly attuned to your inner ear."

I'd been on the fence about buying the book but these comments put me over.  I need to read these comments from writers who made it.  They help direct me to the mantras that propel me forward.

I''ve added the book to my Red Room bag.