Saturday, March 8, 2014
Between the Bindings with Liz Talley
I met Liz on Goodreads and, even though I'm not really a fan of romances, she has some books that I would love to check out. She writes stories that are set in the south - how can you go wrong with that? I had it all planned out what I was going to say about her, until I read the bio that she sent me. Her humor in literally made me laugh out loud. So, instead of talking her up, I'll let her own words do it for me: "Liz lives in North Louisiana with her childhood sweetheart, two handsome children and assorted pets. Liz loves doing laundry, paying bills and creating masterful dinners for her family. She also lies in her bio to make herself look like the perfect wife. What she really likes is pretty shoes, lemondrop martinis, fishing off the pier and ignoring the sink full of dishes." Sounds like my kind of life :D
When it comes to advice, I've often been full of it and hopelessly without it myself. This business can be tough - there's that old adage of you must have persistence, luck and talent, but that's not much comfort when you're navigating uncharted waters.
SO I guess my chief advice for all writers, no matter where each one is at his or her career, is to press on.
Not willy nilly, of course.
Writing is much like preparing for a voyage - you have to be prepared and have the right tools. And that's a very important part of being a writer - having what you need with you on the journey.
No explorer sets off without preparation. The first very important thing you must have is a ship. This is your body of writing. It must be leak-proof and in good repair. Your ship must be composed of quality materials, possessing strong sails, tight ropes and a willing crew. In other words, you must sacrifice your time, money and effort to learn all you can about craft, publishing and promotion. Do your homework. This is super important in the age of self-publishing because too many writers skip this step. They take their leaky ship out with mis-matched sails and frayed ropes and think they will make a voyage to greatness. But you can't weather the waters with a ship that takes on water. Be patient, read, go to workshops, get a critique partner, join a writing group. Build a ship no one can question.
A good crew is important. Surround yourself with knowledgeable people. People who help you rather than tear you down. Navigation charts are also worth considering. Sure, it's uncharted territory for you but you need some direction. Research the agents you're targeting, subscribe to publications that tell you what is selling, join writing groups in your genre so you get first-hand info on what houses and readers are looking for. You have to know as much as you can about the place you're journeying towards.
And finally as the captain of your ship, you must have courage. You will endure hardships, even mutiny (because we all have that self-loathing and doubt that cripples us). You will lose your ways and face storms that rip at your ship, swirling it round and round, causing you to lose your sense of direction. You will get rejection and low sales numbers. There will be bad reviews and readers who make you feel like you should have taken up woodworking instead of writing. You will talk yourself into changing your book. Changing your characters' names. Changing your genre. Changing everything about who you are as a writer. You will lose your way.
But don't lose heart. You are a captain, made to take this journey. Prepare, study the stars you're reaching for and know you're not alone on that vast ocean of churning waters. One day you will reach your destination and there will be much celebration.
And then you will have to do it all over again because writing is as alluring as the sea. If you're a captain, you must sail again.
Great advice, Liz. And so true. Thank you for being here today. For those looking to find out more about Liz, you can find her on her website. Until next time y'all ... :D