Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Chatting with author, Wendy Wax + Giveaway
You know how they say the grass is always greener on the other side of the street? For me, other writers’ books are like that too.
The thing is, everyone else’s work just looks…easier. This is because you didn’t watch them sweat over the same paragraph for three hours. Or see them stop after each painfully wrung sentence to go to the refrigerator. You don’t know that at times they would rather organize their pantry (and possibly did) rather than write those words that seem so seamless now. You don’t know how many loads of laundry it took them before they finished that chapter. Or how often they stopped and stared out the window to watch a squirrel sprint down a tree before they completed those pages of dialogue that seemed to trip off their characters’ tongues and made you laugh out loud.
Yep, other writers’ books appear so effortless that sometimes you want to weep with envy. They flow in ways that can only be true from afar.
You’re certain as you read those other writers’ books that those other writers have depths of understanding that you do not possess. You know that their characters sprang from their fingers onto the page fully formed and wonderfully wounded with their back story complete and intact.
That’s why I think it’s so important for writers to have writer friends who are on the same journey and understand the unique highs and lows of being on that path. Friends who know that writing sometimes feels like brain surgery without anesthesia and understand what you really mean when you send them a chapter to critique with the heading, “I hope this doesn’t suck.” Or on a really bad day, “I hope this doesn’t suck too much.”
I explored this special relationship in The Accidental Bestseller, which is told through the points of view of four writers who’ve been friends for a decade and who discover just how far they’re willing to go to help each other survive the publishing industry. That book is especially close to my heart and as true an accounting of what it is to be a writer today as I was able to write without having to label it non-fiction. I wrote it because of, and in homage to, my own writer friends.
Of course, there are times when you just can’t connect with your writer friends when you really need to, and then that greener grass can rear its ugly green head.
That’s when it helps to stop and remember that your book is an ‘other writer’s book’ to some other poor soul who may even now be staring out the office window searching for the squirrel of inspiration.
Note: Wendy’s new book, Magnolia Wednesdays, also centers around women’s friendships. This time that friendship develops at the fictional Magnolia Ballroom, where class is in session every Wednesday night.
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Thanks to Joy, I have one copy of this book to give away to US and Canada only. Contest ends March 10th.
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