No, I’m not talking about changing the cat box. Or cleaning the lint trap in your dryer…
Fine. I can tell by your blank expressions we have lost all momentum here, so I’ll just tell you Friday is that special day each week when I share my Nickel’s Worth on Writing!
No, that was really it, I promise. In fact, Publisher’s Weekly has called my NWOW “…writing tips worth every nickel, at least in Mexico…” and what The Master of Horror® Stephen King has heralded as “…insights every writer should know. Preferably by the third grade.”
But enough accolades!
As many of you know, I’ve been working on a project collecting the last two years of NWOW posts into an eBook that is part writing tips, part writer’s survival guide. What some of you may not know is that I have the technological IQ of a chimp. Ok, ALL of you knew that — and you’re probably right: I shouldn’t assume all chimpanzees are incapable of creating an eBook. Regardless, the process has reminded me of how important perseverance is as a writer and how, as writers, having a chimpanzee capable of tearing apart a laptop with its bare hands could be really therapeutic.
I’ve come to see my eBook-creating experience as a smaller version of the trials and tribulations every writer goes through in the quest for publication (Except hopefully with less cursing.) Every writer begins with a manuscript: Pages with thousands of words, each specifically chosen through a painstaking process aimed at creating imagery, setting a mood and conveying information methodically doled out to establish the perfect pace. Does it make you any less a writer if it doesn’t get published?
Of course not.
That’s like saying you aren’t a singer if you only reach for those high notes while in the shower. It doesn’t matter what you do to hit those high notes, and I’m pretty sure the rest of would rather not know. The important thing is that you don’t need a recording contract to be someone who sings, any more than you need a published book to consider yourself a writer. If you spend time on a regular basis writing your thoughts down while searching for just the right words — whether in the form of a novel or personal observations — you’re a writer.
It’s that simple.
Although if you spend hours in the shower reaching for those high notes, it starts to get complicated.
That said, it’s the hope of every writer to share their words with others. While blogging has streamlined this process and allowed more people than ever to make their words accessible to the world, the printed word — virtually in an eBook or physically on actual paper — still holds a special significance. Admittedly, seeing the title of my first book in the Dewey Decimal System at the library was a thrill. It didn’t matter that I’d probably never be able to find it again by actually using the Dewey Decimal System, or that my identifier on the spine of the book is “HICKS” in all-caps.
To become an overnight sensation has taken me 15 years.
And counting, actually.
That’s because, aside from you and readers of my newspaper column, I remain virtually unknown in most parts of the world and to a select group of state law enforcement agencies (which I’d like to keep that way, thanks.)
Did having a book published make me more of a writer? Did it open the door to fame? Fortune? A table at Waffle House without a reservation? Yes! But only to that last one. Although I’m pretty sure you only need a reservation there if you ask for gluten free waffles or meatless sausage. Then there is a three-hour wait.
My point is, published or unpublished, overnight success or one-night wonder (I’d rather not get into that), a writer writes because it is part of who they are. It’s as second nature and as necessary as breathing and eating, although I should warn you that inhaling while eating a powdered donut can be dangerous. Did the fact that I once dropped face-first onto a table at Big Dog Donuts while choking on powdered sugar keep my from having another donut? No way. That’s because as writers we persevere. We brush off the proverbial powdered sugar dust and take another bite.
So as I keep
cursing at diligently working on the eBook collection of my Nickel’s Worth on Writing, rest assured I will — like all of you — rely on my perseverance as a writer until it is complete.
Unless a monkey eats my donut.