Saturday, June 27, 2009

Catching up

I have been resting my hands, which drives me crazy, but it helps speed the healing process of whatever I have. Carpal tunnel syndrome, says my nurse friend Sharon, but it also acted like Ellen's former malady--de Quarvain's tendoscleroprontogingivitis (or something).

I still can't open jars but I can put on socks.

Today, on the advice of Jed E., I went to town and spent a bunch of shekels on a new keyboard that dips and waves and curves in all directions. It's supposed to help.

Ok, on being In or Out as a writer:

Rhonda wondered if I have suggestions for getting on the Inside. Unfortunately, not many. What has always worked for me is to walk through whatever door shows up in front of me. I realize others are led to be more aggressive than that.

Local author Linda Clare posted this advice on Facebook:

I'll be presenting a talk on "Writing to the Rule of Three" at the Portland chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers on Monday, June 29th. While my hometown of Eugene, OR doesn't yet have a chapter, there are certainly enough Christian writers in our area. At any rate, I'm excited to be talking to fiction writers in the Portland area. Why would I drive I-5 for two hours, hope I find the meeting, speak for an hour and drive home? The answer is simple: networking.
A student asked me a similar question recently. He was invited to hobnob with a bunch of editors in his genre and his wife wasn't sure the trip to Michigan was worth it just to rub elbows with strangers. Money wasn't an object.
My belief is that you should never turn down the chance to network, even if there is no immediate benefit. One never knows when a meeting with someone you want to sell your stuff to or learn from will pay off. I'd hate to be the one not remembered from a meeting because I wondered if it was worth my time to network.
Writing Tip for Today: Networking comes easaier for some writers than for others. If you are the shy writer, you may have to work on your ability to "work a room," get noticed or even have the nerve to speak to an editor or other writer. Try these three tips.
  • Be interested in learning about other writers. Ask them questions, not to tout your accomplishments, but as a fellow sojourner on this writing journey.Be genuinely interested in the person you are talking with. You aren't networking only to sell your books. You're staying tuned in to what is happening all around you. No one likes a blow-hard, but ask anyone a genuine question about their lives, and chances are, they'll open up and ask about your writing.
  • Try mentioning to everyone you meet (even the grocery clerk) that you're a writer. Get comfortable with saying, "I am a writer." It's not boastful, it's the truth.
  • Practice this and perhaps when you have the chance to speak to or rub elbows with that editor/agent/author you'll be able to network more naturally.
[I certainly don't mention to the clerk at WinCo that I'm a writer, but I think Ms. Clare is right that connections are key to writing/publishing opportunities.)

Mark and Romaine seemed to indicate that they are still on the Outside. I would like to charitably disagree (as a guy in my home church used to say but we aren't convinced he was actually that charitable) (but I am). Neither might be In with the local Barnes and Noble, but if either of them had an idea for a new book they would have an editor they could call who would take them seriously, a publisher who would most likely take on the project, stores and catalogs and websites that would carry the book, and an audience that would recognize their name(s) and buy it.

So I vote that they're more In than they realize.

Quote of the Day:
(from Romaine's comment and believe me it is true)
"I get to feeling writers are on the same level as cows, expected to produce annually to justify their existance."
she also said:
"Maybe I'm weird, but I do not enjoy being recognized and asked about my writing everywhere I go---even in the jungle of Belize where I thought I could get away from it."
Here's where I apologize, Romaine, because I'll bet you thought you could go to Northwestern Ontario among lakes and mosquitoes back in like 1988, and you were all exhausted from your trip and this pesky Smucker lady met up with you in the NYP guest house hallway and was all gaga over meeting a real author.


  1. Your memory is better than mine. I remember meeting you in Ontario but not the details. Rest assured I was not annoyed, or I would remember.

  2. I used to have to take difficult jars to my husband to open, but there's a nifty wedge-shaped under-the-top-cupboard device that easily opens any stubborn jar with any size lid. I've had it for years now. I love it....and the independence it gives me. Some "do-dad" catalogues carry them, as do home health products stores.

  3. If you're talking about the Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, I love it, love it, love it! Since I type for hours a day (medical transcription), it's the only thing I will use. Can't type on laptops or 'regular' keyboards anymore as my fingers get tangled into square knots. I've heard from other MTs that switching to the ergonomic style has decreased their arm pain for them.

    Thanks for addressing my question, Dorcas. I assume you have taken the networking advice to heart? Is that how you've found most of your open doors? And did you or didn't you self-publish? I've given some thought to that as well.

    I love praying the 'open door/closed doors' prayer, asking God to open the right ones and close all the wrong ones. This gives me comfort and confidence.

    Blessings to you...

  4. Scribbler attributes better memory to you, Dorcas.

    I attribute better optimism to you as well. (Thanks for the encouraging optimism, though!)

    I was at the Shedd Cafe a couple hours ago. I thought about driving around looking for the Famous Shoe With Revolting Peasants so I could photograph the MennoTouristAttraction to post on my blog. :)

    Alas, I had to hurry back to LBCC.

    WV: extreima

  5. Rhonda--I haven't put a huge amount of effort into "networking." My journey has been such that the harder I try to make things happen, the fewer results I get. So I'm not sure you should take any of my advice, except this: if you have opportunities to speak, take them. Even if it's a group of five ladies at a nursing home. Speaking opens lots of doors. And yes, I self-published at first and I think you would be a good candidate for it as well. You write non-fiction and already have an audience. And yes, asking God to open/close doors is the wisest route.
    Mark--why LBCC?? And thank you for not treating our place like a tourist attraction.

  6. Our youngest (15 since January) was taking their Tractor Safety course. Yesterday afternoon he got his certificate. Yes!!

    I went down with him the three days and mostly stuck to the campus. I had my notebook computer along so had plenty to do.

    I don't know where you live though I suppose I could have used Google. I could have found the warehouse though. I could have fotoed it and called it The Place That Sends Home The Shoelaces.

    WV: filtin

  7. I am just catching up on your blog and have a suggestion for your hands as I am a long time sufferer of wrist/hand pain.
    Fill two plastic rectangular plantar boxes with water. One very cold and the other with hot (not to hurt) water. Rotate soaking your hands to elbows from cold to warm for 30 sec to a each, for a total of 10 min. It is time consuming but very helpful for flareups. Also try hand/wrist splints from your local drug store. Many people wear them while typing, household chores, even at bedtime. Lastly, try a ball mouse for your computer. I have found all these little changes add up to alot less pain.