Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
Last week, I wrote about my writing residency at Stiwdio Maelor in Wales. I hope I can shrink my backside while making lots of words. If you missed it, catch up HERE.
Garnering a writing residency is a competitive process. One must submit his or her work along with a list of writing accolades and accomplishments. She must have a work-in-progress that meets the stated goals and objectives of the organization. A demonstrated ability to work also helps, because writing residencies aren’t vacations. They’re opportunities to spend concentrated time focusing on our work.
My work is writing.
Only I don’t feel much like a writer these days. To meet readers, I pack my calendar with appearances all over the United States, opportunities I still book myself. I teach classes and give high-energy motivational talks. I drive myself to every appearance, sometimes three-a-day in huge cities where I spend the entire day either presenting or in traffic. I send thank-you notes and run on the hamster wheel with my various inboxes. I try to stay on top of what’s happening to my tribe via social media. I strategize about where to promote my books. I set up online specials and update a database with my progress. I pitch myself for conferences and network with the people who might select me. I scored a huge literary publicist for my next project, and I have a separate book to write for him and his team. (I’m not kidding. Answering his twelve-page questionnaire to help them get me everywhere I need to be will result in a fifty page novella. I take this stuff seriously.) And when he’s successful, I’ll have to set aside time for interviews, time to write articles and responses, and time for last minute requests.
Sheesh. This post is already too long. Are you tired yet?
And I haven’t even listed everything Jendi, my indispensable assistant, does. Since we started working together, she’s taken over content on my Facebook author page. She manages most of my other social media. Do you like the memes and videos? She makes them, along with setting up my posts and newsletters. But she doesn’t only handle online things. When I book an appearance, she sends all materials and does all followup. She maintains the insanity of my calendar and doesn’t call me crazy for how much I schedule. She sometimes even completes online forms and helps me score new appearances. She mails postcards to readers who sign up for my newsletter.
Yes, I did ALL THIS STUFF before I found her.
I wake up every morning and wonder how to convince someone to read my books that day, and I do all of the above things and more to try to connect with one or several new readers EVERY DAY. Since I published my first book, I can probably count my true days of vacation on my fingers, because it doesn’t matter where I am: THE ACTIVITIES REQUIRED TO KEEP WRITING NEVER SHUT OFF.
Announcement: I’m shutting off.
I won a writing residency in the middle of nowhere. I won’t have internet in Wales. For a month, I’m not going to worry about tanking book sales or what I’m not doing to find new readers or responding to everything. A writer must EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER to captivate readers. I’m determined to lose myself for a month and craft new stories where you can lose yourself, too.
This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!