Old Moon

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What am I doing this for?

Is there anyone out there trying to be a "writer" who hasn't yet read BIRD BY BIRD? Anne Lamott has become a real guru when it comes to advice on how to get words on paper that someone will want to read. Every chapter has something in it that seems to me to apply to everyone who reads it, and never everything that would apply to everyone. Above all, she makes amusing, if not downright hilarious, the pains a writer must endure to perform the craft well enough to make it art. Inspiring.

But it's also discouraging--at least in this day and time. How often have you gone home from Barnes and Noble with a beautifully produced hard cover novel from the "Bargain Books" in the entry or from the on line catalog? I can't believe that even well-known and well-respected writers like Joanna Trollope or Alice Munro have books languishing out there as though they were beyond ordinary discount pricing! So how does someone with no strings to pull, no influential writer connections, and no thriller ambitions get an agent or publisher to show an interest in something initially guaranteed NOT to make them rich?

In other words, "What am I doing this for?" Well, Ann Lamott has a wonderful short chapter on that, and I commend it to all who are asking the same question.

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