Monday, June 29, 2015

Why Writers Need Writers

SPECIAL NOTE: I realize today is Monday, not Saturday, and I realize I didn’t post on Saturday. Long story short, I wrote up this post on Saturday in the car, with the full intention of posting it that same day when I got home. However, I returned to find that the internet was down (yay storms), and the internet people couldn’t come out until Monday. Thus, I’m posting a little late. My apologies. But, hey! Two posts in one week, right? So, without further ado, Saturday’s post:

Today, I returned from one of the greatest weeks in my life. I spent five (and a little) days in Olathe, Kansas, at a writer’s conference hosted by One Year Adventure Novel.
Five and a half days surrounded by people with similar interests, goals, age, and a love for writing does things to you.
Strange things.
Wonderful things.
I learned many things in this short week, but I think most of it can be summed up in a simple sentence: I need other writers. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could extend that sentence to be rather broad: All writers need other writers. And here’s why:

Writing is hard. Of all the interests (as a hobby or living), writing very well may be the hardest. The writing industry and the writing audience are fickle beasts, gobbling up some books while spitting out others with seemingly random choice.
Jeff Gerke, one of the speakers at the OYAN conference, spoke about why this is. He said it’s not about following all the “rules”, but about “Reader Engagement”. This very idea makes writing all the more difficult, yet all the more rewarding when done right.
This “Reader Engagement” is why, as Torry Martin said, writers need “connections”. It’s about “who you know, more than what you know”, he added. The idea is sort of tragic, that who knows who will be more successful regardless of their talent, but it’s reality. Torry (he despises the title “Mr. Martin”) took the idea of making connections one step further, suggesting that we extend our circles that we might extend the connections of others.

Daniel Schwabauer (the man who hosted the event) compared each of us to a Wardrobe. Inside of us, he claims, is a magical land full of “perilous realms”. However, none of us can enter our own magical world. We can only enter through another Wardrobe. Wardrobes are doors, but they cannot enter themselves. In order to experience the magic and wonder of other places, we need each other. His analogy turned the week into something wondrous, with each of us becoming a Wardrobe for someone else.

Are you a Wardrobe? Better yet, is your door open, begging for others to enter and see what lies beyond?

I apologize for the shortness of this post, but my brain is still busy processing the past week, and the concept of ~two hundred authors crammed onto a college campus for a week. Young writers. Even better.

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