I dialed in the local college radio station the other day as I made my way down a Texas country road. A singer with a twang crooned Baby I’m your man. For a few beats I sang along, and even allowed for the audacious fantasy of repeating those words in a honky-tonk to a big-haired, big-eyed blonde, then leading her to the dance floor. One hour of boot scooting and then five years later, we’d look back on that night with fond memories, eternally blissful in our newfound relationship.
The reality, of course, is that she’d be much more likely to empty her drink in my face or, worse yet, simply laugh and saunter away. Which is why I don’t generally go around strutting my stuff and puffing out my feathers. But as writers, this is what we need to do. We need to shout Baby I’m your writer from every mountaintop.
For some of us, this comes easy. For others, and I suspect it’s a majority of us, this is not a natural thing to do. It’s important, though. If a novel falls in the woods and nobody is there to catch it, to read it, to dig their feet in the sand, and put the book down because they don’t want it to end just yet, was it ever actually written?
Well, yes, it was written. That’s a stupid question. Of course it was written. Somebody, maybe you, spent months, maybe years, throwing words on paper, taking them off, then putting them back. Crafting a work of art. Moving characters in and out of trouble. But if nobody is ever going to know about it, why bother?
So, write, then write some more, then a little more and once you have something worth reading, get out there, on every street corner, and shout your message. Send out queries. Join a writer’s group, tell people what you’ve written, make contacts, attend conferences, hobnob with agents and editors. Talk to other writers, the ones who’ve made it and those who are still running up that hill. Use social media. Get the word out.
You’ll get knocked down. Many times. But dust yourself off, slip your spurs back on, hop back on that horse of yours, and head off into the woods, shouting Baby I’m your writer. Perseverance, my friend. It will pay off. Just make sure people have heard of you, and what you’ve written.
— John Bartell, DFWWW Member since 2009
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/3462393730/”>alphadesigner</a>
Categories: The Writers' Life