I think we all need inspiration from time to time. I found some this past weekend when I had the pleasure of listening to Doug Allyn, a mystery writer from Michigan.
I had never heard of Mr. Allyn until I signed up for the conference and I am glad I went. Mostly because I found some new perspectives about writing and the writing life.
First of all Doug Allyn has sold 120 short stories. For me, this is nearly an impossible number. I would be happy to sell one. Of course, I would have to actually submit stories, but that is another post.
He has written 11 novels and has won the Edgar Award twice. This makes me want to read his work even though I am generally not a mystery reader. I seem to have a difficult time waiting for the end because I have no patience.
As I listened to his story a few things have stayed with me:
This is a business. All too often I’ve looked at my writing as only slightly more than a hobby. I think because I have a blog and I have actually completed a novel that this is more than a hobby for me. I’m not sure that I had moved it from that to an actual business just yet. It is a business complete with deadlines and contracts. Treating my writing like a business will help me to succeed in whatever capacity my career takes.
He has sold 120 short stories. This is an interesting statement to me because he stated it as he sold them, not just published 120 short stories. I’ve been focused on “publishing”. I guess I had thought to get my name out there and not about the money. However, writing is a product and products sell. Its a lot of work to get a piece polished and to the public and deserves compensation. Though selling my work isn’t necessarily a new concept, this goes along with the thought that writing is a business. Taking myself and my work seriously is another way to succeed in this business.
Mr. Allyn repeatedly stated that his career has been fun. He has had a full and varied career, apparently enjoying every minute of it. I am inspired by his words.
I purchased one of his books, Icewater Mansions, from [amazon text=Amazon&asin=978-0312118297] and am looking forward to reading it. It is one of the few of his novels that has a female protagonist. I will be looking to see how he handles this from a male perspective Most, if not all, of his work, is set in Michigan so it will be interesting to see stories set in my own backyard.
As I said in the beginning, Doug Allyn has given me something to aspire to as a writer. Though I have a long way to go, I will keep his words in mind along with other writers whom I admire.
Stephen King gives this advice to writers:
Read a lot.
Write a lot.
It is as simple and as difficult as that.
Keep on keeping on!