Tuesday, January 20, 2015

taking instruction, or not

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, there are two "how to" books in that pile. "The Fire in Fiction" by Donald Maas and the other that I won't even  mention because, one chapter in, I'm already disappointed. Oh well, out of a heap like this I'm glad the first stinker is non-fiction.

"My writing has been stalled by a variety of life circumstances" is complete bullshit and a handy statement of fact. When the fever is on me, I write, no matter where or when. Any writer will tell the same thing.

In this little slack sail period I've been reading. Didion and Maas are great inspirations from two very different points on the compass, but when I started reading "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" I did what I always do, check the first date of publication. In this case, 1961. It helps me to fix the author in her time to get a better feel for the writing. I got to wondering if Joan Didion could even find work these days. I don't think she'd make a good blogger.

Then I started reading a few online articles about the trials and tribulations of present day authors and the pros and cons of the various methods of publication. To simplify, either the traditional path or e-publishing and all the variants in between. Daunting? How about stomach turning.

An associate, who was actually making a comfortable living selling her writing, has had that rug yanked out from under her by this changeover in the publication world and spoke about having to find part time work just to survive. It's almost enough to make one chuck the manuscript in the drawer and hire oneself out as a nanny.  Almost.

"Just write" they say.

Not inspired or hopeful, I opened said manuscript up last night and picked out a section with only a few paragraphs. It was a framework for action, like a trellis. In about an hour of work, it became a living thing with heart, head and purpose. If no one but me ever sees the finished work, the satisfaction I felt when I was finished working on it last night was enough to keep me going today.