National Novel Writing Month starts this Friday and I'm scared out of my freakin' mind. Honestly, I haven't done any serious writing since who-the-feck-knows and I'm terrified I've forgotten how. Don't scoff – writing is like marathon running. Well, I think it is, not actually being a runner and getting winded when I make the way down the Twizzler aisle at Walmart.
Seriously though, writing is like any kind of training – the more you do, the easier it gets, and the better it gets. I did Nano two years ago (it's when I did the majority of writing for Green Eggs & Weezie) and I remember colleague Mark Kerstetter commenting that he could tell I had been doing some intensive writing because even my blog posts showed some powerfully buff writing muscles. Well, he said something like that. I forget exactly, but the point is he wrote that two years ago and his words still ring in my head, not only as a compliment but as a warning that my writing muscles are now as flabby as their owner.
Still, I'm not going to let that get me down. I am going to write at least 50,000 words during Nano. I will. I make that pledge to you and to myself this very moment. I will persevere. I have to. Because now, at the ripe old age of 53, I am finally starting to think of myself as a Writer. I've been playing around with it my whole darned life but I've never fully accepted it as a description that belongs fully to me. Yes, I wrote as a journalist. Yes, I blog and write short stories. And yeah, I finally realized my lifelong dream and finished an entire book. Still, I was sort of mincing around the title of Writer.
Not now, though. It's do or die for me. I've practically accepted the fact that nobody wants to hire a fat, grey-haired old broad anymore. No, don't scoff – it's true. I've tried. Wait until you're 53 or older and suddenly your old field of endeavour doesn't exist anymore (graphic design in newspapers is almost entirely done in India) and your experience doesn't apply anywhere else. I've tried applying at sign companies and for social media jobs and they've hired youngsters. Nobody wants to invest in a grey-hair. We think we know everything. We want to be paid too much. And, who knows, we could die at any moment so why invest training if we're just gonna pop off one night? Yes, I could work at Walmart. Or the grocery store – IF I didn't have such bad knees. Seriously, I couldn't stand behind the till for more than 20 minutes without crying in pain. Granted, I could lose weight and fix my knees and get a job at Canadian Tire, but why would I? For minimum wage? And be unhappy?
I'm lucky right now. Dave makes just enough money to support us both. You don't have to tell me to be grateful, because I am. This is an opportunity. The opportunity I've been wishing for my whole life. I can be a Writer. Now all I have to do is write. Oh, Nano, you're scaring the crap outta me. But I need you like an alkie needs a bottle of Listerine.
I was intrigued by a comment on yesterday's post from author River Fairchild who wrote: Cathy, published is published. It doesn't matter who published it. You are a business. You are not only a writer, but also a publisher.
She's right. It doesn't matter if you're self-published or published by Harper Collins. But there I was at a party denigrating myself, saying that I was "only" a self-published author. Yeah, I know. It's ridiculous. I know that it's almost impossible to get a traditional publishing contract when publishing companies and bookstores are going bankrupt. I know that e-books are the wave of, not only the future, but NOW. Because I'm also a reader, I know that self-published books are every bit as good as the other ones. I know this. I do. But I have to start owning it.
River is right. (If you know her, you know River is always right.)
I am an author. Period.
Speaking of authors, Marian Allen at Fantasies, Mysteries, Comedies and Recipes invited me to do a guest spot at her blog. (Thanks Marian! *waves*) Please, if you have a moment, drop by and leave a comment. So far I'm the only commenter - I'm beginning to think I drive people away in droves! Just the mere mention of MY BOOK sends 'em a-running! I do understand that you're sick of hearing about me and my book. It's just that it's the biggest thing going on in my life right now. Not working has limited my blogging experience. I find that I have three things to write about: my book, my dog's butt hole and cleaning kitty litter. I think I'll dress up as MY BOOK for Hallowe'en. That'll scare the little feckers who dare come to my door!
So go see Marian. Way you go, Alex ... yup, you too, William and EC. Delores and Deb, stop stalling. JoJo, step away from your sick couch. Geez you guys, somebody give Buzzard and Buttons and Karen a shove, will ya? And stop trampling on Juli, Dana, Deb and Linda!
One more thing - congratulations are in order for Madeline Mora-Summonte at Shellshank Redemption who has just today released her first book! Love the cover. Love the title. And the stories are fabulous – I just downloaded People We Used To Be this morning and already I'm halfway through.
If you buy her book (it's only a buck) and you love it (because you will), don't forget to leave a review on Amazon. It really helps other people decide whether or not to buy it.
Best of luck Madeline! So happy for you!