This Friday there is an event happening Waukesha called the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. It's a series of workshops, talks and book signings that takes place every year at the University of Wisconsin Waukesha. There are tons of speakers, panels and sessions to attend and it's all free to the public. If you get a chance and live in the area, I highly recommend it. It's a great way to meet some great new and up-and-coming authors as well as maybe get a book signed by them. The talks are usually quite good too and are often audience interactive with questions at the end, etc.
One of my writing instructors, Kathie Giorgio is actually giving the keynote. She has just published her third book Learning to Tell a (Life)time, and will be reading from it and talking about the writing process as well. She and her husband and the AllWriters' studio have been instrumental in helping me jumpstart my writing. They work hard and push everyone to be better, to write better and to critique other writers better.
There will be a ton of other authors there as well, too many to count. It's my guess that a fair amount of writers (both published and non-published) will be in the audience, but there will be lots of readers too. I know at least 5 other authors, Summer Hanford, Mary Jo Balistreri, Ellyn Lem, Chris Werkman, and Johanna Siragusa, most of whom will be there with their books and they're all big talents in their respective genres.
I think it is important to support my colleagues and friends who choose to write. It is a hard thing to do well. It takes a lot of time, energy and thought. At its worst, it's like self flagellation. At it's best its visceral release - all good. On any given day I can swing from one of these to the other, sometimes in between sips of coffee. I'd like to say the good times are the most prevalent, but that's not always the case. It's not to say I don't love the whole process, but rather that there are some parts that are like bamboo across the back of the neck, or like mental UFC matches. Last one standing wins, you or your keyboard.
These authors that have "made it" deserve all the kudos they get. They took their lumps along the way, many of them getting multiple rejections before that "happy response," so they've earned their place in the sun. Getting a book deal is the "zenith" of any writer's career and comes at the cost of a lot of blood, sweat, cutting and pasting. I applaud them all.
I have begun marketing my book in the hopes of getting published and standing alongside these people one day. I admit, I am envious of all of them. I know it's not healthy or right, but I can't help what I feel. They have something to their credit that I want. While I have absolutely nothing to complain about from the standpoint of getting some of my shorter work published, I really am looking forward to my first full book contract. It seems like a natural progression for me, having had success in the nonfiction short story and poetry realms, to move on up to a book. So that's what I aim to do. From what I've heard this process can take months, and sometimes years. I guess I'll do whatever it takes.
In the meantime, while I wait to hear, I intend to keep writing. A little work on book #2, a few fishing stories (of course), some poetry and anything else that strikes my fancy. Because writing for me is like they said in the old Army commercials, "the toughest job I'll ever love."