POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE
By Nandy Ekle
In my day job, I read a lot of contracts, and I read some court documents. I analyze these papers and put together letters to answer any question our customers feel like asking. Even though I am writing, it’s a very different kind of writing from that of story telling. And I would never use any facts from any contract or customer in my story, and I work very hard to keep the right side of my brain completely separate from the left side.
While these two types of writing are entire worlds apart, occasionally they do bump into one another. It just goes to show how pieces of stories are just laying around like grains of sand on the beach.
I’ve had this story in the back of my head for a while. I have my characters, setting, and the main points of the plot. I think I even started it a while back, but allowed it to rest long enough that I forgot to finish it.
So I was reading a court document concerning a lawsuit between two entities and found something very interesting that caused a clicking noise in my head. In fact, it was so interesting I immediately saw some things that could happen, and they were a little bit scary. The next thing that happened was the four characters from partially written story began to scream and jump up and down.
Immediately I saw how this new piece of information could be used to create the last few pieces I needed to finally put this story together.
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.
Beginning writers often run into problems jump starting their careers. Questions regarding copyright, contracts, submissions, formatting, genres, and marketing come up and answers are sometimes hard to find. I’ve been there so I understand the frustration. I thought I was the only writer out there who had doubts and questions. I had a novel. I’d submitted it. The agent liked it, but didn’t sign me. So what do you do?
My answer came from a newspaper article for a writer’s conference right here in Amarillo. I read the information, called for the registration packet, and made plans to pick brains, and learn more about getting published. I so enjoyed that weekend. I attended workshops with New York Times Best Selling author Christina Dodd, mystery author Rick Riordan, and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham. The best part was that I was no longer alone. I went to the conference not knowing anyone, and left with a pocketful of business cards from fellow writers. I became friends with some of the folks I met, and ten years later, I still can count on their support and encouragement.
Do I recommend writers’ conferences? Absolutely! The trick is finding the right one for your needs. I prefer smaller conferences (I’m shy), but some of my friends like the larger ones. I recommend Frontiers in Writing in Amarillo. The 2012 conference will be held the weekend of June 29-30 on the Amarillo College campus. This year’s conference will offer workshops for everyone whether you are a beginner or a published author. If Amarillo is a little too far away, run an internet search for a conference in your area. It will cost a little money, but this is an investment in your writing career. The contacts you make are so valuable, and the friendships made are priceless.