I've often written here about the necessity of taking the long view in the writing life because ultimately, in writing, as in any art, the internal reward must come from the doing of the art itself because the external rewards can be, shall we say, uneven.
But they do surface from time to time.
I've enjoyed writing this blog and the ample audience of people it gives me to inspire in their writing, to even strategize with about keeping their writing going and learning from my experience and mistakes. I've met some amazing friends through it--people who friend me on Facebook or twitter or come up to me at conferences say things like, "I read your blog on Huffington Post and it helped me decide about grad school," or "I liked what you had to say about writing contests." In the hopes of gathering all that inspiration and strategizing all in one place, in 2012 I wrote a proposal to launch the blog into a book and began shopping it around to publishers.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of books about the writing life out there (I know, as a fan of the genre, I'm pretty sure I've read them all) so it took four years for mine to gain traction. Four years. So when I'm talking about persistence and rejection, you can be sure I've walked the walk. But I'm thrilled to report that The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Guide and Memoir for the Rest of Us has found its forever home with Bloomsbury a publisher with great vision and foresight, especially in terms of writers and writing. I couldn't be happier. I'm sending the contract back today.
It's a working title; so I'll be asking readers here for feedback about that in an upcoming post. And about feedback. I know what I plan to elaborate on in this guide cum memoir about carving a successful writing life out of the twenty-first century landscape. But I also want to hear from you. What are your burning questions? What would you really like me to elaborate on?
Continuing the theme of this blog, this book is about being a writer and a regular person, one who tries to fit in her passion for words and stories around a busy day job and a demanding family life. Someone who dedicated her life to this art and yet who still has to do a lot of juggling to make it all work (and I have a lot of juggling tips, by the way). Someone who has an agent and who's been on submission and who's deep in second novel revisions and wants to tell you what that's like and how to get there and get through it.
More than anything, in this crowded market, I want this book to be different. I really have read most of the writing life books out there, for better (usually) and for worse, and as I read most of them, I'm often thinking, "What can I tell readers--other writers--about writing that no one else can?" Because that's always what's most important in any kind of writing--your own unique voice, and your own unique message. It's what sets you apart. No one can write like you do, no one has lived that life that you have, inside your own body and mind.
As I finish the book in the next several months and in the lead up to publication, I'll be reporting here on the process, giving you a window to what that's like. Throughout, I hope you'll use the comments section here to lob me some ideas on what you'd like to see in it, so that perhaps I can tailor my words to your questions. While I may not be able to answer all of them specifically, I intend to address all of them in spirit. Let's make the give and take of social media in the twenty-first century work for us.