March 5th! What a great day! I always get excited about the start of a new workshop. Every workshop owns a personality unique to itself. The mix of people, the mix of writing material, the interactions, and the dispelling of fears and concerns about writing motivate me. In many ways, I get as much out of each workshop as the participants. Possibly more. In the nearly 4 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve witnessed more people grasp and understand the concept of creativity unleashed and the confidence that they can actually capture that creativity and place word markers on it.
There are many who say writing is a discipline, and I see why these folks say that. In order to get from nothing (a concept) to everything (a book) one must produce something at particular “milestones.” By milestones, I’m talking first draft (most important the focus of my workshop), rewrite, edit, publishing, and most critically, marketing. The awesomeness of these milestones is that the first draft is the most free, passion filled, go wherever the hell you desire, fun, exciting aspect of writing. This is where you unleash yourself into chaos, which is in fact, creativity. This is where most writers find their passionate muse.
Rewrite calls for some analytics, usually the lesser “fun” for writers to engage in. Rewrite requires writers to look at their first draft and pick it apart, Beta readers, outside folks who read the first draft manuscript, are recommended to help find all the flaws and omissions possible. While this milestone may still contain quite a bit of creativity, the picking apart of that first draft (which most writers adore with their soul) can wear on a writer’s love of their book. You also begin to formulate who your market is for the book.
Edit, a HIGHLY recommended milestone far too many writers skip, is when you pay a professional editor to go through the process of rewrite on a deeper, more intense level than the beta readers. Good editors edit for market as well. Here is where you will more specifically identify your market as well. A good editor needs to be able to tell you your “baby is ugly” and you need to be able to respond in certain areas “so what, I love it.” That said, if a writer has hired an excellent editor, heeding the advice of the editor is the smart move.
The publishing milestone has become the frustrating to many authors because of the plethora of publishers out there. Many publishers are “head hunters” simply looking for “numbers” to fill the company coffers. What many writers fail to understand is that there is a publishing model for everyone, you simply need to research and learn what best fits you. In all publishing models, there is a price to be paid by authors, not necessarily monetarily. Some publishing comes with no fees at all (like Kindle and Nook, etc) but they do come with a learning curve price on how to do it and how it works. While this is the simplest of publishing models, and has been “cookie cuttered” by the publishing industry, the learning curves can be very subtle and far reaching.
Marketing. Ah, marketing. The biggest bugaboo writers ever face. This is the milestone most vexing and, in the end, most defining to writers. The truth of the book industry that few want to speak of, especially publishers and writers (go figure) is that most writers will not sell more than 50 books. They will sell to friends, family, and acquaintances and find that marketing takes daily work, and they will give up. The marketing milestone separates the writers who really love their books enough to press through all the learning curves and expenses from the ones who cannot maintain a business approach to their passion. The average time for a book to take off and gain sales momentum? Three to five years. You must be dogged in your passion for your book and be willing to invest not only money in your marketing, but time.
All this begins with one day. All this begins with the decision to write a book. I get to witness, incrementally, the creation of the first milestone, and often the second through fifth. Yes, the most passion in the book creation business is in the first blush. That powerfully moving experience of creating something from nothing. Many writers have compared writing their first draft with sex (sex winning out most of the time by a slim margin).
Excitement. Fire. Passion. Dreams. Aspirations. Many more descriptives add to the mystique of first draft writing. The purpose of this workshop is to help you achieve the most complete experience possible in getting those words from the chaos of your mind into the reality of words on a page. Writers truly create something out of thought. Life experience. Imagination. The simple execution of milestone one, the first draft, is a major victory for most. The next major victory comes when you hold your creation, your child if you will, in your hands that very first time. The final, victory comes from each writers’ view of success. This may not be monetary and it may not be large numbers of readers. The final view of victory is delivered in each writers’ definition of success.
I love the creation process. I get impassioned in helping writers work through their roadblocks to writing. I adore the time spent with people undertaking a creative task which requires taking mere thought and turning it into symbols on a page which represent words, more importantly concepts and stories and meanings, stringing them all into one significant volume which transports others who read these breathings of a particular writer’s mind into a place they’ve never been. What an amazing thing a book is. The exhalation of one person’s mind into a world of people who look to find these thoughts and capture them into their own minds and hearts. A book is a powerful creation to someone. Ultimately, that someone begins with the author themself.
So, let’s get this chaos rodeo started!!!