Perhaps there was a time twenty-five years ago or maybe as long ago as a century, that writers were reclusive, loaners, separate from the world as they did their work. It’s not hard to believe in the stereotype that authors live their lives away from everyone else wrapped in the world their words have created. This may still be true for some people on some days, but for the most part, a working writer is no longer allowed to live on their own, kept company only by the characters they create. These days in order to make a living, a writer must venture outside their office, outside their den, outside their cave of creativity to interact with readers and teach and travel and experience… and I personally would not have it any other way.
On this Writing Wednesday I will be coming home for the first time in nine days. For the past week and a half, I have divided my attention, time and driving miles across three states and three different tasks, all that fall within the new realm that is authorprenuership.
I went to Michigan to instruct young writers at camp.
I went to Wisconsin for a bookstore reading.
I went to Minnesota for educational content writing.
Unless you are a big deal, household name, (and even sometimes if you are) this is what being an author looks like these days. It is rare that a week goes by and I do not hear the phrase, “I have an idea for a book,” so I know that many of you think about writing too. I thought you might find it interesting to take a peek inside the working writer’s life. Who knows? You might be surprised. You might learn something new. You might decide that this is the kind of life you’d like to live too. (Psssst. If your reaction to that last one is YES PLEASE! I can help you with that!)
So let’s take a trip. Are your proverbial bags packed? Are you ready for a literary adventure? Off we go.
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
My trusty Hyundai Sante Fe missing half a back bumper and sporting 150,000 miles is packed to the brim with my suitcase, sleeping bag, Diet Pepsi, snacks, books, teaching materials and four pairs of shoes not counting the ones on my feet.* I pull out of the driveway at 5:48 with two audiobooks** loaded on my phone, google maps open and a ten-hour drive ahead. I spend the time making phone calls to catch up with family and friends, enjoying the scenery once I cross into Michigan (lots of water and trees, and more trees) and try not to hyperventilate as I cross over the Mackinaw Bridge.
I arrive at 4:45 pm (Eastern Time… I lost an hour) at camp in one piece, with a sore booty and happy to be with amazing friends and writers at camp.
Wednesday, June 19-Saturday June 22, 2019
I spent four glorious days writing with amazing campers at Johnathan Rand’s Author Quest in Northern Michigan. Our entire schedule revolved around writing, eating and sleeping. Wake up, eat, write, have a snack, write, eat lunch, TAKE A NAP, write, have a snack, write, dinner, share what we wrote around the campfire. Can you imagine anything more word-nerd-tastic? Me neither.***
This was my second year at Author Quest and already, I can’t wait to go back next year. If you have a 10-14-year-old that would love to spend time with word nerds their own age, learn from incredibly talented writers and have all sorts of writing fun, you can check it all out here. (Camps meet twice a year, in June and August).
On Saturday once the campers left, I drove five hours back to Wisconsin where I enjoyed a solo dinner (and well-earned Margarita) at Applebee’s and did NOTHING in my hotel room other than watch episodes of Love it or List it while scrolling through social media on my phone. Sometimes a writer’s just gotta take a break!
Sunday, June 23
On Sunday I ventured to the tiny town of Algoma, Wisconsin for a book reading at Yardstick Books. I’d reached out to the owner Heidi after I’d made a list of Indie bookstores in our state. I asked if she’d be interested in selling my books and when she said yes, I mentioned that I’d be passing through town on my way home from camp, so we planned an event and voila!
Her store is perfect. There’s really no other word. Bright, organized, colorful and filled with books. I felt like a rockstar as I saw my face on printed posters and enjoyed every minute of my visit. If you are a Wisconsin author, reach out to Heidi for an event and you won’t be disappointed.
After the reading I was back in the car, super grateful to my audiobooks for keeping me company. At 11:00 pm, I pulled into a tiny town in northern Minnesota and collapsed into bed.
Monday, June 24- Wednesday June 26
Even though many book writers dream of writing only fiction, their name atop the NYT Bestseller list, sometimes we need to open our minds to other types of writing that will pay the bills in the meantime. I am lucky enough to have found a nonfiction writing gig that I feel passionate about supporting because it is doing GREAT things in the world.
Big Shared World is a cultural connectivity company working to educate the world (big people and little!) about the humans that live in it. If we all knew a little bit more about each other, we might be a little less judgmental, a little more open, a little less fearful, a little more accepting. We might even become friends.
For the last three days of my authorpreuner road trip, I worked with the BSW team to further to make solid progress on the projects we are attempting to tackle. I am so excited about this company and the things we are doing. Stay tuned, because in the upcoming weeks I will be sharing more about Big Shared World, and my writing for them.
And then I came home. To these smiling faces.
And hugs, such big hugs. And even though I had a wonderful time away, even though it was productive and fulfilling and successful… I missed them like crazy. This too is a part of the journey.
I learned a lot while I was away. I was disappointed to learn that Northern Michigan does not have Kwik Trips nor Culver’s. I learned there is an Embarrass River in Northern Wisconsin and that bridges, especially tall ones, make me nervous. Learning what I am willing to do, how far I’ll go, the number of days I am willing to be away… it’s all an adventure I’m creating as I go. I am indebted to the people in my life who make this adventure possible, who make this adventure more fun, who support me no matter where I choose to go. Until next time, happy adventuring and write on!
*If driving a really nice car is a necessity on your list, you might want to say goodbye to authorprenuership.
*** Side note: During all of that writing time, I was able to make good progress on my new novella that takes place in my hometown of La Crosse, WI. Taking advantage of pockets of time, big or small is an absolute MUST in the authorprenuer world.
Don’t forget that my prompt contest, offering the chance to have your short story published on my blog NEXT week, ends Friday!
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