Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things I Wish I'd Done

I earned a double major in college with credits in both fine art and education. About two years in, I knew my talents were not in painting and sculpture and contemplated switching my art major to English. This was after taking a creative writing class as an elective and knowing instinctively that this was what I was meant to do.

I didn't, however, as the subesquent loss of credits and the need to take a foreign language and a math course deterred me. I might have stumbled through beginning Spanish or French, but I knew I could never pass anything that had to do with numbers.

Years later I took a correspondence course in journalism and followed that with a stay at Duke University for a weeklong writers workshop. If I had had any doubts about my need to write up to that point, they were dispelled then. Notice I said need. Writing isn't something you want to do, it is something you have to do.

I started writing first for a newspaper, and then for magazines. I was thrilled every time I got an acceptance letter. And finally, The Book.

I do think the lack of a degree in creative writing has hindered me in many ways, but I also believe learning to write the facts while facing a deadline taught me something just as essential.

What I wish I had done was taken some courses in marketing. Writing is a piece of cake compared to getting the work out about the wonderful, compelling book you have written. Thank goodness for writer friends who are willing to share their tips. Some I have known personally for several years and some are new friends met on forums, blogs, websites and Facebook.

What I have learned is that I have to toss modesty to the winds; no one is going to toot my horn for me. And if I don't believe in my work, who will? So I blog and brag and sometimes pray that someone will pick up my book and like it well enough to tell someone else...

And try to do better on the next one.

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