Monday, June 14, 2010

The Warrior Way

The weekend of June 5, 2010 I attended a much anticipated day-long workshop presented by New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Mayer, he has over 35 fiction and non-fiction books in print, runs limited participation A-Team Warrior Writer workshops, presents full day writing/publishing workshops, just co-founded his own publishing company, and is a popular keynote speaker at literary conferences around the world. As a former West Point Graduate and member of the Green Berets, Bob brings to the writing table a unique perspective. He utilizes Special Forces concepts to ignite the creative fire in writers and encourage them with sometimes unpopular facts about the publishing industry. Using his own experiences as a long time published writer, he's not afraid to tell the truth about the industry, review their mistakes, (along with his own) and speculate about its future. The workshop was great, and if you are a writer I highly recommend it.

I believe that the true test of any class or lecture is if it either gets you to think or gets you to change. Double bonus point score if it does both.

I first attended one of Bob's presentations at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference back in June of 2008. I was torn between attending a lecture by Michael Perry and the presentation by Bob Mayer. I chose Bob; Michael Perry, while a very talented and funny author, writes narrative non-fiction. Narrative non-fiction is what my blog is, with the exception of the few times I've posted excerpts from my manuscript or short story. I do not now nor do I ever plan to make any money from my blog. Plus, my blog is already "published." I actually have "readers." Bob, on the other hand, writes fiction, and fiction is what my manuscripts are. Not memoirs, not self help books, or a collection of Poetry intended to lift your soul and leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling; fiction.

In Jackson, after Bob's workshop, a young man lamented to me that he disagreed with the information presented, and vowed that he would continue to write even if he never got published, because although his writing may not have mass appeal, it was his "Vision." It was his "Art."

Well, that's all fine and dandy. He can keep crafting his "vision," keep churning out his "art." He can reach down into the very bowels of his soul, open a vein, and vomit it all on paper in whatever font he feels best expresses his id, as far as I'm concerned.

But he needs to do it on the porch and stay the fuck out of my way because, frankly, I want to run with the big dogs. I want to get published, and I haven’t gotten published yet because I'm lazy. It has nothing to do with craft, opportunity, global warming, my astrological sign, or luck. I'm. Just. Lazy.

Someone once asked me why I decided to start writing. I explained that I have always been a storyteller, but had grown tired in recent years of finding new people to verbally tell my stories to, trapping them in a corner and yammering at them until one of us had to pee, then finding they'd escaped my clutches and run off. By committing the words to paper, it's much easier on all of us, and the reader has the opportunity to pee whenever they feel the need, instead of looking for an opening and slinking out of my grasp.

So, dear reader, you might ask, "What the heck, Slave Driver, does any of this have to do with anything? And when are you going to tell another urination story featuring Cletus?"

I've been pretty good about blogging twice a week over the last three years. On occasion I managed to throw in a special extra bonus blog if something interesting happened. Sometimes I miss a scheduled post. After all, I always figured that blogging was writing, so it counted. But lately I seem to be writing less and less fiction, and I have to quit that shit. So I've decided to cut the blog down to once a week or so. Frankly, my life is not nearly as interesting as some of you believe it is.

So, I'll still be here, just not as often, because it's time for me to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Crap. That's Star Trek. Cancel that. It's time for me to manifest a destiny, people. It's time for me to really work at getting published. But I'll be around. After all, as the RARA's have found out, I can’t be gotten rid of quite that easily.


Anonymous said...

From one lazy person to another, go get 'em. Will be here, patiently waiting for updates and stories about Cletus urinating.

Unknown said...

Very cool... I always love your stories Aunt Lisa. No need to corner me ever :)

Lou said...

Go for it, SD!!

The Merry said...

So long as I get to read what you're writing, whether online or in print, it's all good.

Anonymous said...

Ditto what Merry said