Writing Week: Windows on the World

Hi Everybody,

So this will be a short and somewhat exhausted post now that I've gotten home from my very first day at BEA. For any that don't know, BEA is this ridiculously massive book expo held in NYC. It's just miles of booths from every major publisher, as well as talks, panels, signings, breakfasts and dinners and after parties. I was lucky enough to be sent there by Scholastic and had an absolutely kick ass time meeting all kinds of folks, signing books, and snagging as many advance copies of books as I could.

Here's a thought that occurred to me during the day that seemed to connect to the writing week we're doing here on the blog. 

All of us see and experience the writing and literary world through a certain window. If you're here in NY, that window may be the people you know and the events you attend or, if you're outside of NY, then maybe your window is Twitter or Facebook or your Google reader feed. Whatever your window is that's where you get your info on what books people are looking forward to, what types of books people are wanting more or less of, general book world gossip, all that.

For me, my window is a smallish number of friends in publishing combined with Twitter and my Google reader. What occurred to me today is how narrow that window really is. At BEA I encountered so many people that I had never met before, never seen on twitter or on their blogs, and there were all so energetic and enthusiastic and many had heard of my book, or were looking forward to it, or had already read it.  I literally never would have guessed there was so much awareness, and enthusiasm, unless I had looked into the world through this new window.

So if you find yourself stressing because it feels like people aren't excited about the kind of story you want to write, take into account how narrow your window is. Is it open wide enough for you to find your people? The people who are craving the sort of story you want to write, who are talking about the things you want to talk about.

Ultimately this is an argument for being yourself, for doing what you want to do and being confident in the fact that there are more like you out there, it's just about casting as wide a net as you can to find them. Follow some new people on twitter, read some different blogs, go to that conference you've never been to before, step out of your comfort zone and expand that window. You might be surprised at what you find.


Ricki Schultz said...

It's easy to feel outside the loop, and everyone seems to always be looking for the "quick way" to be invited to whatever party they perceive through their limited windows.

The fact is, it takes work and *interaction* to foster those relationships -- to find *your* people -- but once you do, it's so worth it. And the beautiful thing is, there are always more of them just waiting to be found!

Loved this, Jeff!

Anonymous said...

Actually if they aren't talking about the story you are writing that might be a good thing. That might mean that your story is something brave and unique and that it is different from what is already out and ultimately that should a win a publisher over.