Everything I didn’t know I needed to know about being a writer.
If I had it to do over, I would make a
few minor adjustments in my educational foundation. I’d add some nuts-and-bolts
classes to augment the study of simile and metaphor, symbolism and character
arc, plotting and conflict.
Unfortunately, when I was younger and
better able to retain information, I didn’t know what I might need to know. So
I didn’t take courses in typing, accounting, and carpentry. I didn’t
participate in weight-lifting or learn yoga and relaxation techniques. And I
never took part in a beauty pageant.
Yes, that’s what I said. If that seems
strange, stick with me and I’ll explain my logic.
But let’s start with the top of the
list. It’s obvious that improved typing skills could help me write faster and
more accurately. If I’d taken a class, I might even be able to type numbers and
symbols without looking at the keyboard.
Accounting is also obvious. Writers
are constantly computing the 60% of sales that belongs to them or the profit
after paying a venue $2 a book. They’re always figuring mileage, motel charges,
dinners, and discounts. And don’t even get me started on tax time and the
percentage of the square footage of the house given over to my office, the
inventory of books on hand, the accounting of books ordered, sold, and given
away for promotional purposes.
Carpentry would be practical because
those books need to live somewhere and if they’re out on shelves, it’s so much
easier to do an inventory than if I have to excavate them from boxes in the
closet. Better yet, I could redesign that darn closet and make it into a mini
Weight-lifting would also be
practical. An individual book—depending on the number of pages—weighs about a
pound. That’s easy lifting. But twenty-four books in a carton is a back spasm
waiting to happen. And then there are the folding chairs and tables, the
canopies and crates I cart to those outdoor book fairs. By the time summer
comes to an end, I’m the poster-child for ibuprofen.
Relaxation techniques and yoga would
be useful to reset my mind and body after a writing day that wasn’t as
productive as it should have been, or when I get a bad review. I could also use
the techniques to stop reliving events and what I should—or shouldn’t—have
Finally, I wish I’d taken part in a
beauty pageant—but not because I need tips about wardrobe, hairstyles, makeup, and
getting in shape. (I could use those tips for sure but, let’s face it, at my
age I am what I am. I haven’t worn high heels in years and the forces of time
and gravity are more powerful than the latest cream or dye or exercise
program.) What I wish I’d learned are lessons in poise and how to deliver a
credible smile when my feet hurt, my head aches, I’m hungry, I’m hot, and the
book fair won’t close for an hour.
Oh, and I also would have liked to
learn how to do that little parade-float wave.
Thanks to the wonderful Carolyn Rose, we are thrilled to let readers know that today she’s giving away a copy of her book, AN UNCERTAIN REFUGE. If you’d like to win just tell us which tip is your favorite and something you’ve recently learned……….giveaway is for today only. And can be print or ebook format. Good Luck to all!