Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Missing Write! Canada--Gyapong

I missed Write! Canada this year for the first time in years. I hear the conference was--as usual--wonderful. It's interesting though to read Marci's description of some of the elbowing to get an appointment with an editor or an agent.

Gosh, I remember the years I spent when there was such an urgent need to "get published." I could easily have been one of those people elbowing my way, or, if I restrained myself, feeling inwardly cheated if I didn't get a coveted spot.

I realized a couple of years ago, after attending the big American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas, that I was content to be doing my journalism thing and that I could not see myself investing the hard work and discipline for what often proves to be a heartbreaking roller-coaster of elation and disappointment that even authors with many published books continue to face.

And I hear it is getting worse. One of my fellow Master's Artist bloggers Mary E. DeMuth has been doing a series on how to survive as the publishing industry cuts the number of books it puts out each year, and publishing house staff move from one company to another, sometimes leaving authors they brought in having to deal with someone who doesn't have the same interest in their manuscript.

For me, a good part of the motivation for putting all the work into getting a novel published was the dream that it would sell well. It was like a dream of winning the lottery. Maybe if I loved the fiction writing more than I loved the idea of being able to retire on my earnings from my bestseller, I'd still be churning novels out. Who knows? Maybe someday when I have time and no pressure from other writing work or financial considerations, I will write fiction again. But not as a goal or a job or a contract. Just for the enjoyment of it.

One of the great things about Write! Canada is that the conference offers you opportunities to learn the ropes, to go from being a novice to a professional writer, to make all the contacts you might need to get published. But it also offers opportunities for prayer, for spiritual insight, for discovering that God may have a totally different plan for your writing life than the dream you may have of seeing your books in the centre aisle of Chapters.

Over the years of going to Write! Canada, I learned to help let go of the urgency that came from pride and impatience. I learned that it takes years to write fiction well, and even then it's no guarantee you'll get a contract. I learned something profound about how godliness with contentment is great gain. (The hard way, of course!) I imagine that some of those elbowing would-be newbie authors are going to learn some of those same lessons

Deborah Gyapong covers religion and politics in Ottawa. Her novel The Defilers needs to be made into a blockbuster film or become an Oprah pick and then she'll be happy. (Just kidding)
She blogs at www.deborahgyapong.com.

1 comment:

violet said...

I saw you on 100 Huntley Street a few days ago, Deborah. Great interview!

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