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Monthly Archives: June 2019

 
I went to my very first writers’ conference this weekend. It was nerve-wracking at first because I am not a ‘writer’ in my mind. I am a wannabe or a writer-in-training but definitely not a ‘Writer”. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the people there were at or near the same level as I. There were a number of published authors, even full-time writers, but there were no raging professionals to intimidate us. To be honest it was a rather modest conference but that made it perfect for a first-timer like myself.
 
My wife Sheri got me the tickets for Christmas as an incentive to finish the book I’m writing. The registration included pitch sessions with several agents. Of course, I was nervous. Okay, terrified. The book isn’t complete and I only finished the first draft a few weeks ago. So no, I didn’t think I was at all ready for this. But I went anyway. I figured it would be good practice and would give some good contacts for later. Imagine my surprise when I get two requests for the full manuscript when complete!!
 
Oh, Crap! If I thought the pressure was on me before, it’s ten-fold more intense now. I haven’t even finished the book and they want it!! My wife is all proud and poofy. I’m sweating in buckets.
 
But like they say, one word at a time. I met some wonderful writers-in-training over the weekend and will be joining a writers group to get some critique help on my book. I also, have some more experienced writers interested in my input on their projects. So, I now have some contacts in the industry that I can tap into when the time comes.
 
Overall, it was a very exciting weekend. I did two pitches and got two requests. I’m batting a thousand at this point. I spoke with several writers that had done a hundred pitches and hundreds of queries without a request for manuscript. They really curbed my enthusiasm beforehand but it was an easy painless process and I had nothing to worry about. I need to be worried about my completion date now. I think four months is as much as I can afford. I better get writing.

Consumers are getting lazy. I think we can all agree with this statement. We can buy almost anything we want and have it delivered. Amazon alone has nearly the entire world available for next day shipping. Grubhub and Uber Eats will bring you food from almost any restaurant in your area. In the past, I have chosen my housing by who delivers in that area. I no longer need to consider those logistics.

 

Along with having my food delivered, I can have all my clothes, electronics, furniture, and entertainment delivered also. Shopping has become less of an outside activity than an in-home activity. I can peruse thousands of websites to find exactly what I am seeking and have it delivered the next day. How amazing is that?

 

Admittedly, online shopping and next day delivery are killing local retail stores and small businesses. I know this and have lamented it for years. But I have recently been forced to look at it from another perspective. How could this shift in business traffic, money flow, and consumer habits be a good thing?

 

I am an introvert and hate going out in public. I hate shopping. I hate crowds. I hate noisy restaurants with a hundred televisions distracting me. If I could avoid all of those things and stay home, I would take advantage of it. I think thousands of other introverts would also. The new consumerism gives me that freedom. Now, rather than just having the selections that the local retail shops have chosen to carry, I have the entire world of options to select from. This does have its own issues – too many options can be a problem. However, I can take as long as I want to make my choice in the comfort of my own home, without needing to leave the house or spend time going to different stores or even getting dressed. No crowds, no limited variety, no limited sizes, no limits at all really.

 

I have stopped complaining about Amazon taking over the world. They are but I no longer see it as a bad a thing as I used to. Our consumer habits are changing as they have always changed. Businesses need to change with it or die. Malls are going to disappear and I’m not really sad about that. Imagine what our cities and neighborhoods would look like if all the strip malls and ugly retail parking lots disappeared. How could that be a bad thing?

 

I still prefer to do my grocery shopping the old fashioned way and I still do most of my own cooking. I also prefer a good bookstore over Amazon any day, but for items that I don’t need immediately and that can be packed in a box, online shopping is now my friend. Please delivery my world to me. It would be a great future if I never ever have to stand in the lone open checkout lane behind six other people. That is something I will never miss.

This is the first post of a series documenting my travels through the maze of a modern writing career.

Since this is the 21st century, I was told that a website and blog are required. I’ve begun a number of blogs over the years and have even posted to them on occasion but had trouble with producing enough material to post. I have a million things I want to write and say, but once I’m sitting at the keyboard they seem all flutter away like moths leaving me staring at the screen wishing for a topic.

However, I have made the conscious decision to take my writing more serious as a career path and purchased my own domain to support my work. I have a novel that I am shopping around and have some short stories that I am polishing. I felt that the time had come for me to take a step into the social aspect of marketing my work and my website is only the beginning. I truth I am not a very social person but over the years my wife has trained me to fake it. She now calls me a ‘charmer’. Crazy.

My wife is very supportive as reader, inspiration, and cheerleader. She is the social one of the team and can start a conversation with anyone. She will be supplying a topic when I can’t come up with one. I’m the writer of the team, so I can write about anything once confident about a direction. Between the two of us, I expect to be able to keep a regular flow of posts to the site.

Here is the first of many… I promise.