Flying Solo (and In Tandem)

I love getting together with other writers and reading their stuff.  I love stories from the trenches.  It’s good to know you’re not the only one dealing with issues of writer’s block, procrastination and perfection.  Or that nagging worry that your seemingly wonderful idea is just going to prove you’re nothing more than the talentless hack you worry you really are.

I also love email exchanges.  A friend of mine recently wanted to send out a query letter and wow, did we really make that thing sing.  It took a number of exchanges, but when it went out to the agents, it was focused like a laser beam.  It emphasized what market the manuscript was aimed at, and relevant experience that its author possessed.  Together, it became greater than the sum of its parts (two writers).  That’s like flying together, choreographed.  It is an amazing feeling of synergy.

Then there’s flying solo.  That’s what most of us writers tend to do.  We sit in the glow of our computer screens at home, or in an office.  When we want to feel connected in some small way to the world, we may venture to a coffee shop.  We fly to great heights as inspiration flows.  Other times we crash and burn.  We crawl out from the wreckage of a story that just didn’t get off the ground and wonder, “Why?  How?”

The more daring literary aviators may go back and try to identify where it went wrong.  Pragmatic ones simply move on.  There is no guarantee that the cause will be found in the twisted remains of a failed story, after all.  But this is part of what flying solo is all about, and the wise writer performs both.

If I’ve learned nothing else from my time on this planet, it’s this:  there’s always more to learn.  I want to learn until the day I die.  And not just about writing, editing, revision and publishing, but about everything that I can.

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