The folks replacing the water lines on our block are taking a day off. I suspect it’s due to the black ice on the streets and the wrecks all over Kansas City. My husband is working from home so there’s one less thing to worry about. The cats are snoozing, thankfully not on the keyboard. I’m wrapped in a blanket, sitting at my computer, and trying to figure out how to blog.
They tell me all authors need to blog these days. I’m game. I’m always happy to talk about myself–no false modesty here. Problem is I’m a bit of a Luddite. Still, I’ve managed to get a book published, or so they tell me. It was all done electronically, so I think it went through as expected. I’ve seen the Amazon page for ordering it and told all my friends, hoping they’ll tell their friends. I haven’t actually held a copy in my hands yet, but that’s coming. I hope.
I take a lot of things on faith. I assume my editor is going to pay me. I assume what I write will be read by someone. That’s why Facebook is good for me: I get a thumbs up or comment that indicates what I sent into the ether was read. But even if I got no feedback, I’d still write. It’s a sort of disease. Or obsession. Or hopeful dream.
I write the way I plant seeds. Seeds look like dead things, dry and lifeless, but they do contain life. I plant them and wait, taking it on faith that something will happen. When the green shoots start coming out of the ground I never quite believe it’s real, never quite believe that dead thing I planted has become this tender plant that will grow into flower and fruit. It always seems like a small miracle.
When I write, I begin with an idea. Oddly, the title often comes first. As I write, I add, discard, embellish, strip, and rearrange words, thoughts and ideas. I give the preliminary mess to friends who nod sagely and hold their peace. Sometimes they make helpful suggestions, but relying on my friends for constructive feedback is sort of unfair. They are my friends. They kind of have to be nice to me. Some might be brutally honest, but that’s not the way to bet.
I like writer’s groups, but good ones are hard to find, and sometimes don’t last long. I’ve had the great, good luck to take some writing classes with writers and teachers who have helped me tremendously, but in the end, I have to be my own harshest critic, exceeded only in harshness by my editor, and I have to have done the hard work before she ever sees it. It’s not unlike the hard work that goes into preparing the soil in the autumn and the early spring before the seeds go into the ground. Even after the green things break through the soil, the flower and fruit is a long way off. Like watering and weeding, there is more editing, proofing, and all the rest of the attention that is required to get to the harvest.
I haven’t made it to the harvest yet. I still have to promote the book, try to arrange signings, and maybe give some interviews, if I’m lucky. And blog. They tell me I must blog. We’ll see how that goes. I suspect I’m going to have fun doing it, and I take it on faith that someone somewhere will read what I write.