Thursday, November 15, 2007

Did I try?

When I started this blog I stated that I wanted to be a famous writer and at the time was working on something that I realized quite soon would turn into a real manuscript. I thought it was fun to talk about being an author, to hold the fat stack of papers in my hand, to smell the ink after I'd printed it out on my not-so-fancy inkjet printer. I've wanted to write a book since I was thirteen years old. What I have now is a document that could potentially be a book although now I'd have to go back and add stuff to it, simply because I've lived more of my life since finishing it the first week of August. Things have changed. I have changed.

But in my quest to be a famous writer, I found much more satisfaction just doing this blog. People who are serious about actually publishing a book do much, much more than what I did on behalf of trying to "publish" my book. I emailed an acquaintance who is a local book publisher, and whose wedding I just so happened to be at. I told him I was writing a book and he expressed a small interest in me - we at one time were going to meet, but we never did. He never was told what the book was about and never read one word of it. I don't think I ever even mentioned the title to him. I emailed a lady with Skirt Books and told her I had a memoir and she gave me some advice: memoirs are hard to sell. It was never about "selling" the book anyway. I got excited simply because I was able to write over 50 thousand words. That's quite a feat. Made my fingers sore!

People who are actually trying to publish a book get agents, hire editors, craft proposals for advertising and marketing, have money to put into the process and have much more experience than me. Not only did I not have the time to do all of that, I didn't have the financial resources either. I got excited about the prospect: about what it would be like to hold my book in my hands. But I didn't actually try to get it published. I have no rejection letters and there's not a book by me on the bookstore shelves. If you try, one of those two things will happen.

Ariel Gore says that when you write a "manuscript" that it's a good start. That the manuscript becomes something to work with. You can't make bread without kneading some dough. So a first draft of something that started as a personal reflection one night in late June and grew to be over fifty thousand words in one month isn't a publishable thing anyway. I knew this. I asked smart people and they told me this. But I wasn't let down because in all that typing, and in all of that self discovery, I noticed something. I'm already a writer. I don't need to publish anything to be a writer. I don't need to make money to be a writer. All I have to do is write and have fun doing it. I'm happy with this blog. If anything else ever happens to me and somehow I have a book deal, it'll be just as much a suprise to me as it is to you!

Perhaps that is disappointing news to some of the people who may have been following the excitement in the air when I first started this blog. I'd still like to be a famous writer though. Let's not forget about that...

No comments: