discovery #21

writer's market 2010

i actually remember several years ago, i was unemployed (again!) and decided i would become a writer. like it was something you could just jump into...a pool on a hot summer's day. i can picture myself at the bookstore, sifting through the pages of writer's market, amazed by all the publications just waiting to praise my work. i had so many stories to tell, insights to share...

and it's true, i did have a lot to say. but as jane friedman so humorously states in the opening page of beginning writer's answer book: "more than a few accomplished editors and authors will say that your book should remain exactly where it is (inside yourself)..." i'm gonna go ahead and give it my best shot.

for me, writing has similar characteristics to quitting smoking. i had an interest in it, but never a strong commitment. there would be periods of intense desire to assume the challenge, but also very poor follow-through. i had my last cigarette on 9.18.08, and not a single puff since. i must have tried quitting 7 times prior to this final (and successful) attempt.

i've been flirting with the idea of writing for about that many years, and have finally committed to doing the hard work. i started this blog as my gateway drug; the first step toward writing more consistently. i hoped the various "discoveries" would become seeds for further development.

i also completed my first creative writing class...this was my attempt to improve my writing and truly learn about craft. the class was a partnership between the hospital where i work and inprint, a 7-week course led by a local professor. although we didn't do as many writing exercises as i would have liked, it allowed me the experience of my first critique and showed how much i still had to learn!

the one thing i have going for me is that i'm always ready to learn...and i know i have a ways to go in my education. out of sheer curiosity, i gathered up all the books i purchased in 2009 on the subject of writing. i found 8 books...apparently i was more focused on learning than i thought. here's the list:
  • beginning writer's answer book (referenced above)
  • if you want to write (brenda ueland)
  • on writing well (william zinsser)
  • writing as a way of healing (louise desalvo)
  • freelance writing (casewit)
  • writing your life story (selling)
  • juicy pens, thirsty paper (SARK)
  • and of course: writer's market 2010

and i still need to get bird by bird (anne lamott), which everyone seems to recommend! these all represent a direct effort to become a better writer and gain insight into the daunting world of publishing. i am ready to put my books to the test! and as you may remember me mentioning (over 3 months ago!) here, i am going to put together something to send off.

i am taking a staycation next week and will be solely focused on my writing endeavors. it's like my own writer's retreat...only free! i'm taking all my books, all the subject ideas i've amassed over the years, and my dream to have something published in 2010. i now understand the use of a query letter, the importance of researching target publications, and knowing your audience. i am ready for this challenge. i am ready to combine my academic training with my personal experiences with my passion for words.

i'll keep you posted throughout the week on my progress...and maybe a peek at some creative writing as well. stay tuned...

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