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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dispatches From the Field: "Overwhelmed"

In the second in our series of "Dispatches From the Field," Michael Horvich discusses his reactions to the conference.

If you missed our conference, be sure to put next year's on your calendar: Saturday and Sunday, 06/04-05/2011.

The Evanston Writers Workshop (EWW) Conference took place in Winnetka, Illinois on May 15 and 16, 2010. The conference was a first for me, a wonderful experience and I learned a lot about the writing profession. However, my mantra became “DO NOT BECOME OVERWHELMED,” although I did a little. Having learned so many new things about the “business” of writing made becoming a published writer seem further away than it ever had been. But I repeated my mantra over and over and listed: I am further along than ever, learning more is good, making connections with like minded people helps, you love writing and that’s what counts, etc.

My therapist and I discussed writing and “audience.” He noted that there are four audience situations. In each situation there is your attitude towards your work and there is your audience’s attitude towards your work. Each has further implications.

First situation, you love what you are doing and your audience loves what you are doing. BINGO! Success. Keep writing!

Second, you love what you are doing and your audience hates what you are doing. Not as bad as it seems. What matters is that you love your work. Maybe the audience will come around or maybe you haven’t yet found the right audience. Or maybe you’ll just continue doing what you love and not worry about an audience. Keep writing!

Third, you hate your work but your audience loves your work. This is a difficult situation. It is more like having a job. And you have to force yourself to do something you really don’t enjoy doing. It may pay the bills, but again ... just a job ... not a love. You probably need to make a decision about your writing.

Fourth, you hate your work and your audience hates your work also. This may not be pretty but it is an easy one. Forget it. Move on to something else.

Currently, and with the help of the EWW Conference, I have reconfirmed my love of what I am doing. I love to write. I love to write non-fiction. I love being a memoirist (if that is that I am, still deciding.) I am writing every day. I never feel blocked. I want to continue to become more aware of what it takes to become a successful, published writer.

I WANT AN AUDIENCE. I am willing to take the risk of finding out whether my audience hates or loves what I write, what I love to do.

DO NOT BECOME OVERWHELMED. A good mantra. Do not stop. Do not give up. Build that pyramid one brick at a time, eat that elephant one bite at a time, become that published author one word at a time.

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