Writing is a solitary addiction.
Because of my craving for writing time and solitude, I’ve never been a person to have many friends. I held people at a distance, my emotional force field protected the real me. Like any addict, my addiction was my life.
So, imagine my surprise when I found, not one, but four women to share my writing journey. From agonizing over plot, through the publication process and the challenge of marketing, these four ‘sisters’ have eased my pain, sharpened my skills and just generally made my life more joyful.
A few months back, we officially became The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen. Our first speaking engagement was yesterday at the NW Arkansas Writers Workshop Conference. Our hope was to get our message across AND to entertain. I think we accomplished our goal.
Ruth Weeks started us off by acting the part of a humble, frightened writer trying to pitch her work to a snooty agent. Thirty seconds in, she flung off her jacket and revealed more bling than Liberace. And cowboy boots. Hot damn, those boots of hers. Ruth strutted a demonstration of stepping out, believing in yourself, and making the magic happen in your writing career. I mean, the woman showed us how it was done.
Once Ruth had folks fired up, it was my turn.
I pointed to my tiara. Yes, you read that right. Touched the giant, gold star hanging around my neck, whirled my feathery pink boa. I held my book over my head danced and yelled, I’ve been published! My sisters yelled and stamped their feet and threw confetti. The celebration lasted approximately thirty seconds when Ruth, holding a sign that said Reality Check stepped up and, foot tapping, demanded my lovely glittery crown and my adorable star. The bitch even took back my lovely pink boa. I spoke on the reality of having a book published and likened the experience to running a small business.
Next, Jan Morrill acted out a skit she’d written about how, while the rest of The Sisters took that fork in the road marked Small Press and skipped happily to publication, she choose the road to New York Publication and spend a year waiting for the phone to ring. This presentation came complete with the song Let it please be him. It must be him. It must be him bursting forth into the conference room to demonstrate her reaction each time the phone rang while she waited and waited to hear from her agent. My favorite part was when she skipped down the path to stardom in her sunglasses, the frames of which were in the shape of glittery gold stars.
In stained chenille robe, pajama bottoms and soft, fluffy slippers one of her dogs may have chewed, Claire Croxton demonstrated what happens when you sit down to write, but first, just for a minute, you check your email and your favorite blogs. Social Networking is vital to building a platform after all! As Ruth moved the hands of a giant clock, Claire tapped on her laptop, commented on blogs and just networked her little heart out until the clock showed eight hours had passed and she hadn’t written a word on her new novel. Claire spoke on managing your time.
Linda Apple stepped up with a rubber snake around her neck which, like Marlin Perkins with the giant Anaconda, she successfully wrestled into submission. Her opening line was “Most people would rather wrestle a poisonous snake than speak in public.” She then beautifully demonstrated how to speak in front of an audience with ease and grace. Linda spoke on the importance of building your platform as a writer.
Lord, did we have fun. Who’d have thought that a lifetime of living in my own solitary little world, mainlining words and struggling to reveal the truth through fiction–who would have even suspected that this would bring me into the glorious company of a sisterhood like this?