This morning in the newsroom, as one of the reporters and I began to talk about his first writers conference, I grew excited. I did not realize how much I missed talking about writing until I sat behind the editor’s desk sans literary chatter.
When I first sat behind the small desk by the window in the corner, I was an unhappy writer and a scared editor. The newsroom buzzed with a radio scanner, obnoxious editors and know-it-all cub reporters. I didn’t fit in. I wanted to be in the comfort of my home office creating and writing on a PC with the abitlity to move into the living room or the bedroom or outside under the tree.
Neither the editors nor the reporters talked of the ups and downs of the writer’s life. They did not talk about books and authors and literary creation. Instead Wednesday through Tuesday reporters were out and about gathering information about town meetings, school events and community activities. When those stories had been composed they were then passed the editor, who spends Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday reading copy and designing and layouting pages.
The more I read other people’s work the angier I grew. My own writing was suffering. At the end of the day, I was exhausted from reading newswire emails, press releases and calendar items that there was no room to squeeze in the writing, my writing. My goal, from the moment I said yes to the job, was to make money so I could write.
This anger did not subside until October during a poetry weekend at Manhattanville College with poet Dianelee Velie. She simply said, write without thinking. Although poetry is not my genre, I was free to create songs of frustration, love, food and anger. During that weekend I also befriended other women writers dealing with the same anger. Our art had taken backseat to life, was not popular among our spouses and seemed painful to let go.
When I realized I was not alone, I embraced my new title as editor, and forged ahead as a writer. Remembering one step at a time. Although I could not write six hours a day, it was time to write when I could and stick by a schedule, even if it meant 30 minutes a day.
So, when the reporter, who writes children stories, said weeks ago that he just wanted to write and forget the business side I immediatley gave him a slice of the writer’s life. Attend the children’s writers conference, join my friend productivite children’s writer’s group of published authors and check out ezines. I was excited about the literary life, again. With my goal back in front, I too went to a writers conference, BEA/Writers Digest Book Conference, specifially for the pitch slam.
That’s why when the reporter said, on Thursday morning, that he didn’t know what to expect at his first conference I gave him another slice of the writer’s life. Meet as many people as you can, collect cards, don’t force your manuscripts on editors, and if an editor is interested as how they would like to recieve your work via e-mail or regular mail. Remember there will be workshops and choose what fits you and don’t be afraid to leave. Then I asked if he had business cards, and encouraged him to go home and create a blog, especially since I had just created mine. He had no biz cards and was reluctant at creating a blog. Of course the writer mama in me, went home and designed and printed 20 cards for the neophtye writer.
Why? I have been blessed with a circle of writer friends that are loving, caring and sharing. The writer’s life is hard and in reality we are not true competition with each other if we know our niche. There is enough for all of us.