Saturday, January 29, 2011
Writing Dreams Deferred
I started writing when my kids were small. I'd never considered myself a writer. I never considered myself much of anything - I was someone with a lot of small talents in many areas and no big talents anywhere. I played piano, guitar, flute, a little harp. I wasn't great. I could sing a little. I couldn't write songs - they were awful. My poetry was bilious. And so I admired creative people, drew little Barbie doll sketches and figured I was one of those people who appreciated talent but didn't have much of my own.
Then an old friend asked why I didn't write. He was convinced I'd be great. And for some reason I decided to try. I sat down at an old manual typewriter and banged out my first short story. It was, I was forced to admit, terrific. I got brave, showed it to a writer friend who was astonished.
"This is your first story? It's wonderful! Get it published!"
It didn't get published, but it did lead to three novels (I consider them necessary outbursts to clear the pipes for the good stuff - not anything I think I'd want to see in print anymore), a non-fiction book that's making the rounds - getting good feedback but no publishers, and dozens of short stories as well as some very good virtual friendships with people who liked to gather at Zoetrope.com and workshop stories.
But all those short stories were, I thought, just exercises. A few got published and one was nominated for a Pushcart, but it felt like a fluke. Nobody publishes short stories.
Again I discover how little I know.
One of my more depressing little efforts, "Tweezing", is going to be published at http://www.fiction365.com this week. They're planning to feature a new story every single day. They want short stories! They even pay a nominal fee! So all you closet writers out there, check it out and submit your stories.
Then I learned that e-readers are now creating a demand for short stories and there are venues interested in signing up writers.
I was contacted by Hen House Press - they don't have a website up yet but they will soon. They're looking for short story writers who will given them the digital rights to their work - and they'll split the royalties. There's also BookBaby, the newest venture from indie music mainstay CDBaby.
Will we get rich? Hell, who cares? I never did think writing was about getting rich. It was about finally acknowledging that there was one thing I do that I am confident I'm good at. Do what you love and the money will follow, they say.
I'm happy just to be able to do what I love.
Got writing buried somewhere in the recesses of your laptop? Take a look around at the new opportunities out there thanks to the digital age. It may just be your time to be published!