Last Saturday braving the wind sucking up the alleyway, I attended day 2 of a 4 day memoir writers course with Sian Prior at Writers Victoria. Her skills for publication list included the ability to perform as a writer in public.
What did she mean? The rain, full moon and unanswered question roused me. I struggled with pinning it down; to perform as a writer in public. How?
Looking around our classroom, we seemed a diverse lot, transcending age, gender and race. One thing unified us the desire to write; more specifically to write a memoir. Many of the attendees harbored painful experiences which had profoundly affected their lives. They grew through the process of revisiting these hidden recesses. It takes courage and fortitude to go back there, look at the situation, face it, integrate it and then commit it to paper in a balanced way.
No one likes a tale of woe seeped in self-indulgent pity.
I got up. My husband couldn’t sleep either, so we made tea. I sat on the front porch in the beam of the automatic light, looking at the front yard and road beyond. It had rained and the world glistened in the moonlight.
The light went off. The rose-bush with silver droplets of magnificence held my attention. In the dark, I saw more, so much more than in the light, droplets covered the bush but only some had caught the light, making their presence known. The others decked the buds and branches just the same, unnoticed.
This little parable brought me back to my dilemma. It hinged on visibility, engagement and accessibility. So I came up with a list:
- Dress professionally
- Speak with authority about your topic
- Carry a business card with web address linking to all your social media
- Go through all your associations and foster relationships
- Practice public speaking
- Watch inspiring videos of other authors for ideas
- Enter competitions, submit to the local paper, try to get credibility in print
- Rejections are part of the course, file the piece, maybe at another time with another editor it will be of value
- Seek other writers sharing your knowledge
- Read in your genre
The last and not least is WRITE!! An author writes, our gift to humanity. Over a morning cup of tea or coffee grab a journal and write. ‘Writing without a parachute’, one of my teachers called it. Write, don’t reread and don’t stop. It primes the creative channels.
I’d love to hear any other Ideas. Please leave a comment.