Monday, March 2, 2009

Writer's Group

So last week I went to my writer's group and it was really great.  
I was able to ask a lot of questions of the group leader (who has more than 30 books published), and connect with other writers - some who want to write a book but don't know what they're writing about, some who are in the process of writing, some who are getting published as we speak - so it's a good mix and there's a lot of encouragement and excitement about getting our books published.
I'm sure that as we all get to know each other better, there will be a lot of cross pollination with ideas as well.   

There are many things to consider when wanting to publish a book.  There are lots of new things that are happening in the book industry right now - for one, the printed word is becoming less and less.  People are buying digital books and downloads.  What does this mean for the author?  Less profit, of course, but also presents some new opportunities of how books get out there.  The sad thing is, bookstores are dying.  I really love the smell of books and the stiff creak a brand new book has and you open it up and the pages are straining against the binding.  I love love love going into book stores and just hanging out for hours, browsing, reading, dreaming.  Will that still be available in the future?  I hope so.  I don't want to read all of my books from a screen.  I want to feel the weight of the book in my hands and hear the turning of the pages!  Granted, the digital book option is more green, so that is a huge plus.  But why can't I have it all?  Why can't we use recycled paper for book pages or something?  

In all of the books I read about writing books, they ask you about what your motive as a writer is.  Do you want to be famous?  Do you want to make money?  Do you want to satisfy some personal goal.  Things like that.  It helps the writer determine what kind of book they are writing and their audience.  Are they writing to a small, academic community or trying to appeal to the large mass-market?   

The only thing is, in my group, I feel like I am one of the only ones who is dreaming as big as I am about my book.  I mean, in private, I'm secretly hoping about the possibility of getting a whole series of books picked up, movie options - a whole franchise, really.  I wonder though if I am being naive, or if I just have a lot of confidence in myself right now.  

But for me, this is not my motive.  I guess more than anything, the book I'm writing is for me and my future kids.  I have sort of bought into the idea of selling my book for money and actually making at least a little money.  But more than that, I want to entertain.  I think that is the primary goal.  So if I don't make money or become so wildly famous author, I'm okay with that.  But it would be pretty awesome.  ; )  

It's funny when I tell people that I'm writing a book.  They're all amazed.  I usually get raised eyebrows and a "really?" or a "wow, that's a really competitive thing to get into," or something like that.  But really, anyone could write a book.  I'd do a little market research first on what you're wanting to write, but other than that, have at it!  Who knows if my book will be any kind of success, but I can tell you, someone out there will probably want to read it.  If no one else, my friends and family - just to satisfy their curiosity about what I've been doing with my time.    
My first novel is about the ocean.  It includes myth, history and my research / imagination about the ocean. So far though, most of the imagination applies to the characters.  Some of the real creatures that live in the ocean are so strange that I wonder if I could even dream up something as weird as what is really out there.  I know I'm going to go back in my second draft and polish and add some more imagination in there - I'm just getting the skeleton of the story down for now...34,000 words so far (about 1/3 of the way through the first draft).  Crazy.  I've never done a project like this before in my life.  But it makes me happy.  

Especially because it's for me.  No one else is demanding a product from me by a certain deadline.  Pretty cool.  That would be an amazing lifestyle, but much like becoming an actor or something that is a highly desired profession, only a few really make it big and the rest have to keep their day jobs.  Many continue to write or act or paint, but as a creative outlet, as a passion rather than profession.  So, if that is what this turns into for me, so be it.  I'll have something that really makes me happy to think about and immerse myself in after a stressful day.  
This is a bit random, but I'm going to try and take people through the writing process as I see it and the one thing I wish I could control in this process is no more 4 A.M. brain storms that I can't turn off.  My brain wakes me up and is like, "OK, I've got this great idea.  Want to hear it?" and then, without waiting for my sleepy response of "no," my brain begins to babble and make crazy connections and change things in the book without permission - and if I don't write it down, it's lost forever.

So, I'm at the mercy of the strange state of between sleep and awake where things sort of become clear.  I love and hate these times - I just wish I could control when these moments decide to show up!   If you've ever had a big project due and you lose sleep about it / dream about it, you know what I'm talking about!  

Here's to my love/hate relationship with my crazy brain!    




CaRoLiNe said...

i am envious of your time to just write and explore!!!---i have crazy school and the only writing i have time for is the school newspaper (not really my favorite).
amen sister to all of your hopes and dreams---i will most def read your creation and in it i know i'll find a world of imagination and excitement!---but if franchise success IS on your horizon just know i am totally fine with having a role in the movie version ;).
with love, affection and all that jazz.

Lauren said...

Ah, my little grasshopper. You too can have the time to write. Granted, it means not making any money and not being in school - so I don't really recommend it.

When I was in college, I didn't realize how much free time I really had. I think I was learning that ever elusive art of time-management. And didn't realize how good I had it until it was over.
Not to say you're not working hard and probably reading 10 books at a time with 15 different projects due all tomorrow.

But just know - if you're busy and you want to do something, schedule time for it. Maybe an hour or so is all you'd need to really get your write on or whatever you want to do.

Don't you get to write for your major?

Thanks for the encouragement BTW. I do hope that when they make my movie, I'll have a say about the casting. ; )