A lot has changed in publishing in the last six years.
Six years ago, when I was busy working away on my novel (the same novel I’m still working on to this day, no thanks to a six-year writing hiatus), I dreamed of someday being a published author.
This dream had a distinguishing look and feel and smell, as the most vivid dreams often do:
It looked like a hardcover book on a bookstore shelf.
It felt like thick, fibrous paper with ragged-cut edges.
It had that new-book smell; it sounded like my mother bragging to all her friends that her daughter’s book new book was destined to be a bestseller.
It tasted of sweet success.
The steps I had to follow to realize this dream constantly knocked around in my head like the chorus of a song: query, agent, revision, submission, contract, revision, revision, revision, release.
This, of course, was assuming I’d actually made it past steps one and four. It was an assumption I was all too happy to make, for if I didn’t, the dream would be dead before it even fully began. This was the only path to publication.
Then, everything changed….
A new road opened up.
I don’t get Twitter.
Or in Twitter parlance: #IDon’tGetIt.
It is, at face value, actually quite simple: an online venue in which one expresses him-/herself in 140 characters, follows the expressions of others, and categorizes his/her own expressions with hashtags for ease of allowing others to follow him/her.
Indeed, Twitter’s liberal use of symbology – #, @, RT, MT, and links beginning with bit.ly or ow.ly or foreshortened forms of other familiar websites (e.g. amzn, goo.gl, wp) – gives it less the air of a web service and more that of a futuristic language.
And who doesn’t think it’s cool to be bi-/tri-/multilingual?
I get all that.
I also get that Twitter’s a great way to keep up with news, which is the primary reason I joined up in the first place.
What I don’t understand is how some people manage to actually get said news.
Because there is just so much of it.
Many writers are familiar with the concept of the Hero’s Journey, as elucidated by Joseph Campbell, which forms the backbone and structure of mythic narratives across all cultures, and strongly influences modern storytelling as we know it.
Every writer undertakes his/her own journey as well, beginning as an aspiring writer with an idea and a dream and setting forth in pursuit of becoming a published author. In this journey the writer him-/herself is the hero, facing all a hero’s necessary obstacles along the way. In effect, the writer is authoring his/her own life story while simultaneously writing the story of someone else, which is often the writer’s life story yet again, only this time in camouflage.
Author and activist Mary McCarthy wrote that, “We all live in suspense, from day to day, from hour to hour; in other words, we are all the hero of our own story” (“Characters in Fiction”, Partisan Review, March/April 1961). This is the story of me and the view from here: my writer’s journey, thus far.