I was at a writing conference this past weekend. Well, it wasn’t exactly about writing, the conference primarily centered on publishing your writing.
For the actual writing part, they basically left that up to you and the ghost writer/editing team you may decide to hire once you realize writing is hard work and sucks a lot of the time. 🙂
Well, the one editor did say about 20% of the population were adequate writers. You know, every single person at the conference was sitting there thinking, “Oh, yeah, that’s me. I am even in the top 20% of the 20%.”
I normally don’t attend such conferences or workshops, but the timing/logistics of this one felt right. And plus, my friend signed up first and so like the proverbial lemming, I followed.
I was familiar with most of what was discussed in reference to publishing , what was stirred within me, however is how essential an “internal compass” is for every artist/writer.
The possibilities for publishing now are quite broad. Add to that the diversity of options for developing a “platform” (Publishing-speak for getting your ideas out there and connecting with audiences beyond your book).
Mix these together and every artist/writer is confronted with literally hundreds of decisions beyond the creative work itself.
Do you see yourself as a speaker and writer? Do you have social media associated with your work? How do you handle such media? Is it integrated with social media of a more personal nature?
Do you need an author website? Twitter? How can people find you (or not find you- as those in the audience who asked during Q/A about writing memoirs that are picked up by Oprah, but still wanting to be anonymous.)
I realized that there are so many options that not only must we be authentic with ourselves in the creative process, we must be authentic, and gentle, with ourselves in relation to our platforms.
We can not, most likely do it all, nor should we. Each artist must make those clear decisions for him or herself based on temperament, time available, logistics, topic choice and so on.
As I was sitting there and saw one participant after another in the Q/A trying to get some answers, I understood that no one can give us such answers. Many participants spoke in paragraphs (NOT sentences or a simple statement followed by a question, I am talking – Paragraphs) only to have the speaker say, “And what is your question?”
And in some ways, no one wanted to ask the simple, direct question because the answer may be equally simple and direct.
Sometimes we like too make life harder on ourselves and stay in the nebulous-aspect of life, in which things float about and meander and no clear decision is ever made.
But if one is to be clear in life, then one has to be willing to answer the “Y” questions in life. Note, this is “Y” and not “why” because these are the “Y” in the road questions- they provide one direction or the other.
Every person who walked away from the microphone with a sense of relief that they had “gotten an answer” was because they were finally able to articulate their situation in a “Y”-context. As in, should I use a penname? If I use a penname can I be “unknown” on Oprah? and so on.
Next time you are feeling, perhaps unsure or overwhelmed by your next step, don’t be afraid to ask yourself the “Y” question. The one that gets to the nuts and bolts of what your are doing and what is truly resonating for you.