The Personal World War of Becoming an Author: I’m Stuck in These Trenches Long Time

I’m a little behind the times, but I’ve had this on my mind. A while back, I went to a screening of BinderCon 2016 and then to a live reading by Laura Munson. I didn’t know of Mrs. Munson before this, and I haven’t read her book before (nor do I think I will, it’s a memoir and if it doesn’t have a magical glowing amulet, my interest decreases, but I’m sure it’s a good book if that’s your cup of tea!), but there were a lot of things that resonated with me after both events.

I stumbled on the screening and live reading by accident. I didn’t know much about BinderCon, but I’m glad to say that I do now. One of my favorite panels was about screen writing for genre, and while I can’t give a play-by-play, I can say that the message boiled down to this.

Don’t be scared. Even of yourself and your own ambition.

Always be confident. If you know you only need yourself, it will scare the shit out of those people who think you need them (such as executives, not like your spouse or anything like that!).

Write the story that needs to be told. It might not be the one that sells, but it will be the one that makes you feel good.

Laura Munson took the stage next and her speech almost made me cry. She had a few things that I’ll paraphrase here (because I didn’t have a recorder to get all the wonderful snippets of wisdom), but below is the stuff that really stuck with me, in my own words:

We’re all writers here, but I’m one of you. I’ve written ten novels that will never see the light of day. I’ve been where you are now, where I’ve paid money to go to be conferences and hear people say I have a sliver of a chance to succeed.

Writing isn’t just sitting in a chair. Get out. Exercise. Aren’t you still telling a story while you’re walking? That’s part of the process. That’s writing.

(This one was huge for me. I had this experience while running on an elliptical where I had to stop every fifteen minutes and write down the scene I had playing out in my head because it was just so goddamn good. I also had this happen to me when I was hiking and had a scene that I needed to write but I had no pen or paper because, guess what, I was hiking. Go figure. So, if that’s inspiration, why is working out so freakin’ hard??)

When I finally got my gazillion dollar book deal, my first reaction wasn’t happiness or exhilaration. It was irritation, because finally, here was this thing that was supposed to happen for so long and it finally had and god, didn’t it take its sweet time.

All of that stuff really stuck with me. I’ve felt that way too—about how I’ve always felt like I’m supposed to be an author and that it should be easy, fate should just let it fall into place, but damn, it sure is taking its sweet time getting here. And I’m in it for the long haul—I’m gonna slog through the query trenches and when that fails I’m going to slog through the self-publishing how-to books and when that fails I’m going to print off all my books myself and spend all the money because they’re going to be beautiful and I’ll assassin my way into bookstores and place them on the shelves until I get thrown out.

That’s fate for you.

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