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View Full Version : Do You Enjoy the Non-Writing Aspects of It?



Kate Thornton
02-22-2007, 09:12 PM
I just participated in a panel of mystery writers. My local (the Los Angeles) chapter of Sisters in Crime put on panels at local libraries for people interested in mystery writing. I usually participate as much as possible, sitting with other mystery writers and discussing how we work, where we get ideas, how different we are from each other, etc.

It's also a good chance to flog our books and meet interesting people. Next weekend, for the first time ever, *I* will be a moderator on a panel of famous authors, discussing "The Mysterious Far East" - and yes, I am nervous.

What about you - do you participate in panels, book signings, conferences, discussions, mentoring or other non-writing but writerly activities?

Do you like it? Would you do it more if you could?

Toothpaste
02-22-2007, 09:17 PM
I haven't had much experience yet with the non-writing aspect, but I have to say I rather enjoy it! I did a reading to two classes in an elementary school a few weeks ago which was just awesome. And I also really like meeting authors and editors etc because they are just some of the most interesting people. But I like socialising, and I am an actor so like speaking in public. I think so far my least favourite part of the writer's life is editing. Other than that, I'm loving every second of it!

aka eraser
02-22-2007, 09:18 PM
A resounding "Nope!" to all the above except for some mentoring.

I'd sooner sit on an opened tackle box than do any sort of public speaking. I'm envious of those who are comfy in that milieu though.

TrainofThought
02-22-2007, 11:12 PM
What about you - do you participate in panels, book signings, conferences, discussions, mentoring or other non-writing but writerly activities?

Do you like it? Would you do it more if you could?I donít participate in anything other than beta read and I believe I lost my second beta reader. I would love to be involved in a writers group but there arenít any nearby (Iíve looked). As for conferences, I really should sign up for some yet the idea of selling my story to an agent is too overwhelming and nerve wracking since Iím not one to approach anyone. Getting a beta reader twice was hard enough Ė baby steps. Iím still trying to figure out what I should do to get more involved with other writers, networking, etc.

Shadow_Ferret
02-22-2007, 11:17 PM
I dread ever having my novel see print because of those very non-writing aspects you mention. I am paralyzed with fear at the prospect of public speaking, conferences, or discussions. I fear traveling. I fear meeting new people.

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 11:27 PM
I'm oddly uncomfortable talking to just two or three people about my book, but I'm perfectly at home in front of a crowd. I enjoy it, because when I was younger, I decided that I would enjoy it. If only it were that easy for everyone. :)

I like a crowd, because you can play a crowd in ways you can't play individuals.

So yeah, I dig the non-writing aspects of my job. I like the interviews (and interviewing) and I like the thought of getting up in front of a crowd and reading a short story, or just talking. It scares me shitless, but only for the two minutes before I actually get up on the stage.

TrainofThought
02-22-2007, 11:34 PM
I like a crowd, because you can play a crowd in ways you can't play individuals. Iím better one-on-one then in a group or crowd. I wish I could will myself to talk in front of people, be personable, but Iíve become this way as I got older. In high school, I was Ms. Center of Attention now I am Ms. Introvert.

Kate Thornton
02-22-2007, 11:35 PM
It scares me shitless, but only for the two minutes before I actually get up on the stage.

I know what you mean - when I'm sitting up there waiting for stuff to begin, my throat is closed. But the minute I start to read or talk or laugh, then it goes away and I'm fine.

I wonder if others with stage fright like mine can overcome it by just starting to talk...yes, it's scary, but I remember that all these people want to talk to me or they wouldn't be there. And then someone asks a question and you can't shut me up!

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 11:39 PM
Iím better one-on-one then in a group or crowd. I wish I could will myself to talk in front of people, be personable, but Iíve become this way as I got older. In high school, I was Ms. Center of Attention now I am Ms. Introvert.

I'm introverted too. Very quiet. Mostly by choice. I'm pretty good with one-on-one people (and really, I do generally okay with people in general) but it's exhausting. Crowds are exhausting too.

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 11:41 PM
I know what you mean - when I'm sitting up there waiting for stuff to begin, my throat is closed. But the minute I start to read or talk or laugh, then it goes away and I'm fine.

I wonder if others with stage fright like mine can overcome it by just starting to talk...yes, it's scary, but I remember that all these people want to talk to me or they wouldn't be there. And then someone asks a question and you can't shut me up!

I figure, the worst you can do is get up there and make an ass out of yourself. If you're unimpressive, they won't remember you any more than if you were never on the stage in the first place.

Speak slowly and clearly. Be funny. If you read a story, try to make it a funny story (it's just more fun). Be polite and friendly. Even if you're not confident on a stage, and even if it shows through, being polite and friendly will get you more slack than trying to bluster and bravado your way into seeming big and cool.

Toothpaste
02-23-2007, 12:06 AM
The good thing about public speaking is you can take all the time to prepare what you are going to do and say. It isn't like someone stopping you on the street and telling you to "Dance Monkey!" (that happens to me far too often, absolutely nerve wracking I can tell you). Not to advertise but . . . okay to advertise: I just finished a three part series on my blog with advice on reading aloud (having studied acting for forever, as well as being a teacher, I thought I had some things I could share). If you wanna check it out: www.ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com (the latest entry is the last part of the series, scroll down to find the other two)

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 12:11 AM
I'm introverted too. Very quiet. Mostly by choice. I'm pretty good with one-on-one people (and really, I do generally okay with people in general) but it's exhausting. Crowds are exhausting too.
I panic in one-on-one situations. A crowd? That's like throwing me into the lions' den.

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 12:20 AM
I have no fear at all when it comes to speaking in front of a group or even a crowd. I used to, when I was a teen, then ended up in so many Debate and Speech classes in High School, I just 'got over it'. My face will turn red for the first few minutes, but I just ignore that and pretty soon I'm fine.

It's like taking that First Aid course every 2 years where you each have to go up in front of class and perform CPR on that stupid dummy. There are those who hang back hoping the instructor will forget they're around and let them go to lunch without doing it. Then there's me - volunteer to be first so it's over and done and I can relax and mock all the others. :)

Azure Skye
02-23-2007, 12:59 AM
I just participated in a panel of mystery writers. My local (the Los Angeles) chapter of Sisters in Crime put on panels at local libraries for people interested in mystery writing. I usually participate as much as possible, sitting with other mystery writers and discussing how we work, where we get ideas, how different we are from each other, etc.

It's also a good chance to flog our books and meet interesting people. Next weekend, for the first time ever, *I* will be a moderator on a panel of famous authors, discussing "The Mysterious Far East" - and yes, I am nervous.

What about you - do you participate in panels, book signings, conferences, discussions, mentoring or other non-writing but writerly activities?

Do you like it? Would you do it more if you could?

I would love to be able to do all of the above. How exciting. Although I'm an introvert, I got over the fear of public speaking as an actor. Improv classes are great.

Judg
02-23-2007, 01:16 AM
I'm rather looking forward to that kind of stuff. Speaking in front of crowds, as long as they're friendly ones, doesn't bother me. But I'm nowhere near that stage yet.

But today I met a writing friend for coffee. We've challenged each other to 500 words a day (average) with the loser buying lunch every two weeks. We got to talk about our WIPs to somebody who was actually interested (!). She was stalled in her current project, so I got her to explain the basic setup and we had a real blast playing with ideas. As it turned out, I suggested that Character X was the natural protagonist of the story, when she'd been trying to sideline her. She went home excited and we both had a great time.

So it may be a modest beginning, but it's fun.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 03:01 AM
I'm rather looking forward to that kind of stuff. Speaking in front of crowds, as long as they're friendly ones, doesn't bother me. But I'm nowhere near that stage yet.
But today I met a writing friend for coffee. We've challenged each other to 500 words a day (average) with the loser buying lunch every two weeks. We got to talk about our WIPs to somebody who was actually interested (!). She was stalled in her current project, so I got her to explain the basic setup and we had a real blast playing with ideas. As it turned out, I suggested that Character X was the natural protagonist of the story, when she'd been trying to sideline her. She went home excited and we both had a great time.
So it may be a modest beginning, but it's fun.

I'm deeply envious. I'd love to be meeting another writer once a week or once every other week, or something to gab about writing, drink frothy beverages, and challenge each other. I think that sounds delightful.

Cathy C
02-23-2007, 03:15 AM
What about you - do you participate in panels, book signings, conferences, discussions, mentoring or other non-writing but writerly activities?


I do, in fact, participate in all the ones you mention here. I'll be on two panels at the Romantic Times 2007 convention, and on one at the RWA National convention. I also judge unpublished writing contests, write articles for writing related magazines, donate critiques or edits to writer-organized charities (such as Brenda Novak's upcoming auction to benefit Juvenile Diabetes,) and well as serve on committees or as an officer on various writer organizations. I consider them all part of the "business" of writing, and I enjoy them all! :)

Judg
02-23-2007, 03:39 AM
I'm deeply envious. I'd love to be meeting another writer once a week or once every other week, or something to gab about writing, drink frothy beverages, and challenge each other. I think that sounds delightful.
It is, PeeDee. We're both rank amateurs, but that doesn't matter. She says it's just so nice to talk about an uncooperative character and not have the other person edge away going, "Okaaaaaay..." ;)

We met through NaNoWriMo. Our local group still holds informal write-ins, just for the fun of it, where we all turn up with notebooks or laptops and scribble together, in between all the gabbing of course. Once a month, that one. There's another group that meets at the library too. If you look hard enough, you might find something similar in your area.

Jamesaritchie
02-23-2007, 06:48 AM
I used to participate in all sorts of thing. Now I participate in almost nothing. Health was one reason for stopping, but I seldom enjoyed such things, and I found no real reason for doing them, other than it gets me a write off vacation. But I can get the same write off vacation simply by going somewhere I like and writing part of each day.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 06:54 AM
I used to participate in all sorts of thing. Now I participate in almost nothing. Health was one reason for stopping, but I seldom enjoyed such things, and I found no real reason for doing them, other than it gets me a write off vacation. But I can get the same write off vacation simply by going somewhere I like and writing part of each day.

Out of curiosity...why didn't you enjoy doing the various things mentioned?

Thrillride
02-23-2007, 07:17 AM
Origianlly posted by Judg :

We met through NaNoWriMo.


I was wondering if any NaNoWriMo participants were loitering here! I have done it two years in a row - all 50k.

I love it. I am revising/fleshing out NaNo #2 right now.

blacbird
02-23-2007, 07:50 AM
Nobody has mentioned the most odious non-writing aspect of writing: Submission.

Dreadful. Thoroughly dreadful, awful, horrible exercise in futility.

caw

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 07:19 PM
Nobody has mentioned the most odious non-writing aspect of writing: Submission.

Dreadful. Thoroughly dreadful, awful, horrible exercise in futility.

caw

Yeah, but at least it's exercise. Sometimes the most I get in the winter months :D

jodiodi
02-23-2007, 08:03 PM
I do, in fact, participate in all the ones you mention here. I'll be on two panels at the Romantic Times 2007 convention, and on one at the RWA National convention. I also judge unpublished writing contests, write articles for writing related magazines, donate critiques or edits to writer-organized charities (such as Brenda Novak's upcoming auction to benefit Juvenile Diabetes,) and well as serve on committees or as an officer on various writer organizations. I consider them all part of the "business" of writing, and I enjoy them all! :)

Oh! You'll be on an RWA panel in Dallas this year? Sweet! I'll have to find it and go. I've already registered and reserved rooms/car/flights for this year's conference. Last year was a little easier for me since Atlanta is a lot closer to where I live.

I wish I had a reason to be nervous about speaking and such other 'non-writing' things. I'm still unpublished and unrepresented and, no doubt, will remain so unless someone decides to unearth my dreck after my death and I become published poshumously.

Cathy C
02-23-2007, 08:46 PM
Oh! You'll be on an RWA panel in Dallas this year? Sweet! I'll have to find it and go.

Aww... thanks! :o The one I'll be on has Heather Osborn, the senior editor of Ellora's Cave, as the chair. It's called "Because I said so" is not good enough: The importance of world-building in all genres of romance. My part will discuss logic in world-building (like creating a 300-lb. dragon and giving it canary-sized wings. It won't fly . . . literally.)

Judg
02-23-2007, 09:57 PM
I was wondering if any NaNoWriMo participants were loitering here! I have done it two years in a row - all 50k.

I love it. I am revising/fleshing out NaNo #2 right now.
There's an entire forum (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=-1&f=87) devoted to NaNoWriMo here, Thrill, although it's not very active at this point. I've participated two years in a row also, although I've never completed the 50k. I'm not sure if I'll try again, I've gotten out of it what I wanted - a good kick in the butt. November is a rather awkward month in my mind for this kind of project. But you never know; if I'm at the right point in a planned project and need another good kick, I could sign up again.