On Friday night, despite being as sick as an entire kennel of lapso apso puppies, I accompanied my partner, MzSusanB, to the opening of a juried exhibition of photography at the St. Louis Artist’s Guild.
I really wanted to go, and I’m really glad that I did. This is the second year in a row that her work has been accepted, and incidentally the second year in a row that she has submitted an entry.
I mean, the woman has serious talent, and it’s not just me saying so.
It was interesting for me, though, the way that I saw things differently this year than last year. This past year has been incredibly educational for me. I finished my first novel, I got it out there into the marketplace, and while I am a long way from making a living from my writing I have become aware of a real change in the way I look at my writing.
I am starting to look at writing as a job, and that’s a good thing. Right now I see myself as having two full time jobs, the one that pays my bills, and the one that I want to pay my bills. Looking back at my blog for the past several months, I’m not sure exactly where I turned the corner. My commitment to write every day is the most obvious result of my new perspective, but I don’t think it’s the cause.
I think I just decided to take this writing business seriously, and like most of the significant decisions in my life, it happened deep down in the boiler room of my brain and my conscious mind missed the memo.
Susan and I talked that night about the whole “artist” thing, and galleries and publications and promotions and selling yourself, selling your work, selling out, and where the lines were between those things.
I don’t have a cut and dried answer because I don’t have a cut and dried question. It’s a process, an ongoing part of the job. If my work is good–and I believe that it is–then it is worth promoting. I honestly believe that my writing can bring enjoyment to a lot of people, but they have to know that it exists first. Writing stories and sticking them in a drawer doesn’t do anyone any good.
This is weighing on my mind right now because I have a book signing at All On The Same Page Books on February 2nd. I’m not really looking forward to it because I don’t really deal with crowds well (and my definition of “crowd” is about four people). I’m just not a people person.
But, you know, it’s part of the job. There are parts of my day job that I’m not crazy about, either. I am going to promote this signing, get the word out through the English department of the university where I work and my friends and family and anyone else I can think of, I am going to shave and shower and put on my funeral suit and be there with my box of books and I am going to godamned schmooze the socks off anybody who shows up.
Because that’s part of the job I want to pay my bills.