Monthly Archives: July 2016

So You’re an Author, Now What? The Drinking Game, Round 1

Someone once pointed out that, not getting a paycheck biweekly or a promotion or a bonus, it’s hard to know when to celebrate successes in my job. Say what? So I created this. Because I’m a boozer and life should be a drinking game.

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In case you didn’t know, this is champagne. It’s labeled so we know it’s real.

Drink…

-the first time you’re published. And drink hard because that’s amazing.

-the third time you’re published because doing something once is amazing, but doing something three times is becoming a habit.

-the first time you get paid. That’s validation and a beer!

-the first time you get paid more than $5.

-the first time you get a personalized rejection. C’mon, that feels almost as good as  an acceptance

-the first time you come out in print. Actually, take that mag and have a whole drinking party with it. Get wasted together and caress it and love it, and then wake up in the morning after you’ve spilled all over it and wonder what has become of your life. Return whatever nominal fee you may have been paid getting another copy. (Or, you know, be smart and put that sucker under glass when it comes in.)

-when you get paid over $100. Now you can afford a drink and a meal!

-every time you hit a factor of five from here on out. The fifth time. The tenth time. The fifteenth time. You get the picture. And if you’re bad at math, because we’re writers, drink every time! This’ll get the party going.

-get totally wasted the first time you finish a novel draft. In the morning, you can hate yourself and your writing.

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This beer’s having an existential crisis, just like you.

An Audience of One

I’ve taken this idea from John Irving’s “Until I Find You.” I didn’t make this up, but I love it.

There’s a lot of talk about readers in writing, and whether or not you should write for them. In my (albeit limited) expertise, the debate breaks down along the same divide as almost every writing debate: literary guys on one side, genre gals on the other. (There was no reason for that sentence to be gendered. I could un-gender it, but I didn’t.) Folks in the literary community say, Write for yourself, the rest will follow, or something along those lines. Folks in the genre community say, Know your audience, or never get published. And me? Well. I say write for the one person who really needs it.

This is kind of a lofty idea, and like lofty in the “look up there in the sky, someone threw a ball too high, is it ever gonna come down” way.

It goes like this: when I’m writing and I get stuck, I don’t think about a crowd of faceless people. For me, these are the “readers” that are so often spoken of, and I can’t picture them. They’re faceless and intimidating, and they’re just as likely to eat me alive as read me. (I’ve always thought ‘read me’ sounded like a sex act. I think I’ll make it one.)

kodoma

Oh look. A bunch of faceless nobodies.

I also can’t write for myself because I’m stuck. If I was writing for myself, I’d just stop. But if I imagine that one person that really needs it (or okay, more realistically, wants this story), then yeah. Alright. I can do it for them.

Shit gets weird when I start picturing them. Honestly? It’s usually a younger version of myself. Sometimes, it’s my mom. (Sorry, Mom! Or you’re welcome, Mom. You’ll never know.) It can be a friend or an ex-lover, and once in a while, it’s someone I make up. The fact is, they’re out there, somewhere, and I’m creating this thing for them on the off chance that one day, they find it. (And I want everyone to notice that I gendered literary and genre up there, but then used ‘they’ for s/he down here. Suck it.)

My number one goal as a writer is to one day meet the person who I wrote a piece for. I just want someone to walk up to me and say, “Yo, K. That piece? That one was for me.” And, if I’m really luck, they’ll tell me why. (And people say I’m not a romantic. Psh.)

Bonus little me. I needed a lot of stories to make it through.

Bonus little me. I needed a lot of stories to make it through.