Saturday, April 28, 2012

Are You a Writer? What Are You Waiting For?

Walking towards me, I sized up the assistant manager. Skinny jeans, lip ring, black circular tattoos nicely framing his elbows.

“Hi, I’m Barrett” He reached his hand out, “You need some help?”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Joanne Kraft. I live in the area and have a parenting book coming out in a few weeks; Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. I want to make sure the Border’s in my hometown has copies on hand before my book launch party.” I smiled, handing him one of the 1,000 colorful marketing postcards my publishing house sent me.

Walking over to a computer, Barrett found my book and confirmed that they already knew about it and even shared where it was going to be placed in their store, “General parenting section, right over there.” Sticking out his arm he pointed. He went on to explain how they were willing to accommodate a local writer; book signings, book placement in the store, etc.

While hip-bookstore-guy was mid sentence, I had this pressing feeling to ask him a question. “Are you a writer?” I asked.

Looking surprised he answered, “Yes, actually I am.” We went on to talk about favorite authors, his was John Irving. He shared the type of writing he loved and his manuscript left undone and forgotten, a tombstone somewhere on his Mac at home representing his dead work.

“So, what are you waiting for?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” He replied.

“Barrett, you work here around millions of books and sell other writer’s work - some of which I’d venture to guess you’re not all that impressed with. It must be like living out some Twilight Zone-writer-hell.”

He laughed. “Yeah, actually it is difficult. I’m shocked at what sells sometimes.” He reminisced. “I have thought about taking out my manuscript and working on it again, maybe while my daughter is asleep, but then I think that maybe I need to go back to college and get an accelerated writing degree and…”

Forgetting my manners, I interrupted, “Look at me.” I smiled, recapturing his attention. “I have diagnosed you’re problem, you suffer from analysis paralysis!”

Looking down and focusing on some unseen object, he agreed. “Yes, I think you’re right. What am I waiting for?”

For the next few minutes we laughed and talked the way writers do, the love of the written word a deep common bond to share. So, what about you? What are you waiting for?

  • Do you suffer from analysis paralysis? Do you over analyze every writer-blog, fiction technique, and social marketing plan? Stop watching everyone else and take the plunge.

  • What is holding you back from your next publishing step? Is your greatest fear a magazine article, query letter, or book proposal? Every writer has experienced the anxiety of all of the above, so what makes them so special? Why are they published? Answer: They follow through.

  • What tombstones of your work are lying forgotten on your hard drive between your resume and your child's book report on President Lincoln? Give them new life, dust them off and send them out.

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