I think I need to attend conventions. Writing ones where authors and agents gather to tell you how your story can be “fixed.” Though I say it with a bit of sarcasm, I really do feel I need to get connected to the literary community if I ever have hopes of publishing something. Networking is the way to get noticed, or so they say. That fact feels rather daunting for me, as I am inherently introverted. The idea of walking up to some strong agent and pitching my stories is more than a little frightening.
Lots to learn
Picking up fantasy again has reminded me how much of a novice I truly am. I don’t know where to start, I don’t know if my characters will be three dimensional and I certainly fear my plot will suck. But that’s the challenge of being a young artist. We know what good work looks like and that’s the kind of thing we want to produce. But we don’t always have the skills or experience to make our amazing ideas come to life.
I feel like I have to go back to fiction 101 here even though I write every day all day for my job – editorial is a different beast than writing a novel. Working on something new makes me miss school where I had a community of teachers and peers ready to read my stories and tell me what I’m missing. I just have to find a new group, I suppose.
Things that get my creative juices flowing include coffee, music, sunshine, cafes, tea, scones, art, history text books, book shelves, objects characters would carry, etc. I learned while getting my theater degree that I’m and inside-out actor, meaning the characters I create come alive when I change my movement, have a prop or put on a costume. My writing is similar. If I’m working on a fantasy that takes place in Medieval Europe, I have to pull out a sword or turn on lute music. I want to create the world I write in my apartment.
The Space in which I work is sacred to me (hence the capital S). Not sacred as in holy, but sacred as in focused. The Space needs to be free of outside stressors and must be used for the work and the work alone. While my tiny studio apartment isn’t ideal for complete segregation from work and live, I can create the mindset.
Before entering my movement class in college, we had to stop at the front door, bend down to touch the floor followed by our foreheads and heart. The gesture was a reminder of the mantra, “Space, mind, heart,” meaning that all were working succinctly.
Stechen Nachmanovitch’s “Free Play” has a bit of the same ideas. Creative work is special and should be preserved in a moment. By the way, I highly recommend this book to anyone who creates anything.
Off to bed (by which I mean to write)
Right now, my space is my bed and it’s time to write!