April 12, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:48 pm
Well, I just finished typing my last scene for the story, which I wrote in the early morning hours.  Next will come the more difficult part of editing.  I did check spelling and such as I typed, but I will need to cut words and better balance the scenes.  This last one became the longest and I have one other that is longer than necessary.  I need to get each of the six to average no more that 335 words and I will have a 2000 word draft for a picture book.  That does not mean each scene has to have the exact same number of words, some can be shorter and some longer, but if they are close to the same length it will make a nice balance.

To do the editing I will need print outs, so I have to buy more paper and ink for my printer.  A friend of mine said I should let him edit it for me.  I know I want to share it with him but the copy I send in to the instructor has to be one I approve.  She will then do her own editing of it, make comments on what she feels needs changing to make it better and send it back to me.  Since the instructors of the courses are published authors and/or editors, they know what publishers look for and are able to give us good advice.
I still have not seen my Bumples story poem.  They are running behind schedule in getting out this month’s first issue.  They are supposed to be publishing two a month but as late as they are, this month may only have one.  The Easter holiday coming at the beginning of the month seems to have put many things off schedule.  The Cram 8 booklet for Poetry Fest extended their deadline to Tuesday, so I do not know yet what, if any, of the poems I sent them will be in it.yet.  That is the worst part of writing, the wait.  Like all of my generation, I was brought up looking for instant results.
There is no such thing as instant success in writing.  We may speak of someone becoming an "overnight sensation" but it doesn’t happen that quickly.  A book may suddenly become popular, usually to the surprise of everyone who worked hard on it, but it doesn’t happen often and as I said a lot of people worked hard on it to get it there.  So, trying to make a living as a writer takes a good deal of patience and perseverance.  I found out that we can’t just sit and wait to see if our work will get accepted, we have to keep working.  Finish one piece and immediately begin work on another.
This keeps me from sitting around feeling sorry for myself and takes my focus off of the work that was finished.  Then, when I hear back from a publisher it is a pleasant surprise, even if it is a rejection.  It is when I forget about what I have done that makes any notice exciting and makes me more determined to try again if I did get a rejection.  When I used to wait for a response, because I was so insecure I felt I had to have some proof of my ability, a rejection would be devastating.  I took them very personally. 
Now, however, I have finally grown past that and see them as merely an indication that they had too many submissions, maybe had already chosen something similar, it was not what they needed or to their personal taste but does not mean the writing is bad, except of course if I send in something poorly written.  I am careful not to do that, sometimes too careful, (the perfectionist thing).  There is such a thing as over editing.  So, when I write something I like, I do as little editing as possible to be sure I get it sent out.  Going over a piece too many times takes the emotional connection out of it and if that isn’t there, then there is no use sending it anywhere.
That is not the advice many writers give.  Usually they say put it aside for a period of time and then take it out and edit it and you do so more objectively.  Many writers also are advocates of having complete organizational systems.  If it works for them fine, but please don’t try to say everyone has to do it that way.  The interesting thing about the creative process and humanity is our uniqueness.  We have to develop our own ways of doing things that work for us and not think we can force ourselves into someone else’s mold.  We have to learn to know and accept our own mold.  Then, when we use it, we will achieve success. 

I’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:06 am
Yesterday morning, in my blog, I mentioned that I was going to the Creative Chicago 2010 Expo.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from it because I had not been to it before.  It did focus on people who were already in the creative arts rather than those interested in trying to get into it, like myself, and most of the attendees were college students or those just out of college, but I was impressed by it.  

The "vendors" were not selling products, but services, and there was a wide variety of resources for visual, written, or performance artists.  There were even realtors who had studio space to rent.  Other resources included companies for authors who want to self-publish their work, recording facilities, literary journals, writing associations and my favorite, a circus school.  I always liked trapeze acts and thought it would be fun to do.  I enjoyed using the rings in our grammar school gym classes and was very fond of climbing and hanging upside down on jungle gyms.  I talked to the woman at the desk.  She said they have no age restriction and there is a 67 year old in their classes. So,  if I find out it is something I can afford, I may venture into it, at least for a few classes.
Most workshops were not of much use to me, but I did find an exceptional one and another very good one.  Bite-Size Arts Ensemble, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship put on a class on "Imagination Training."  Using their artistic talents, including juggling, they told what they learned through practicing their arts and how they formed the group to pass on that information to others.  They encouraged us to use an Improv technique called "yes, and" when making decisions.  Rather than making excuses for why we can’t do something, we were told to say, "yes, and" to even the most strange ideas that come to our minds
The exceptional workshop was one called "Cultivating Shamelessness" by Philip Huang.  I won’t describe it because you may have a chance to attend a workshop of his one day and I would not want to spoil it by giving away his teaching technique.  By the next time he does another one though, I expect he may have changed what he does.  I had a choice of that or "Sell Yourself Without Bragging" being presented at the same time.  I picked the right one.  It was fun and inspiring.  I need to be moved out of my comfort zone.  That’s another reason I’d like to try the circus act school too.
When I got home, I typed up another scene for my story.  I have one more to go and will need to do a bit of editing and cutting the word count down. Then I can send it in to ICL for Pegi Shea to review.  In her last letter, with my second assignment, she told me that a book she wrote 15 years ago had been chosen as the One Book One San Diego selection.  I would like to reach that level of recognition, and if I can cultivate shamelessness, I may have a chance of getting there.  

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