Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Zigging and Zagging in Your Writing Career

by Matt Sinclair

I had everything planned: I had scheduled my car for its inspection with my mechanic and arranged for a couple routine maintenance items. Before I brought the car to the mechanic, I noticed that the air in one of my tires was low, but whether due to the cold or some mechanical problem, the air dispenser at a nearby service station didn’t work.

Then came the pot hole that flattened the low tire. Since this is New Jersey, I also had a car hot on my tail, so I pulled to the side so he could pass and I got stuck in a snow bank. Once back on the road, I engaged the hazard signals and drove on my flat tire to find a safe area nearby to change the tire.

It seems the last person to secure the spare was an arm wrestling champion, but I couldn’t budge the screwed-on clamp. I ended up having to drive a couple miles on a flat tire. I could smell burning rubber by the time I pulled into his station. Long story short, my plans changed.

It may as well be the story of my writing life.

As writers, we need to be ready and able to adapt. Things get in the way, opportunities emerge. Sometimes Plan B doesn’t work and Plan C is less than ideal.

Lots of things can happen to writers at any stage of development. Your agent and you might disagree on your latest project. The editor might suggest a total refocus of your manuscript. Your family life might interject its own catastrophes that make your fictional characters say to themselves, "Jeez, glad that didn't happen to me."

I wish I could say everything will turn out fine in the end, but real life can present terrible challenges when you turn a page. All I can say is that as story tellers, if we can keep people interested, there'll be an audience. Keep writing, my friends.

Matt Sinclair, a New York City-based journalist and fiction writer, is also president and chief elephant officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, which recently published Summer's Edge and Summer's Double Edge, which are available through Smashwords and Amazon, and include stories from several FTWA writers. In 2012, EBP published its initial anthologies: The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse, (available viaAmazon and Smashwords) and Spring Fevers (also available through Smashwords, andAmazon). Matt blogs at the Elephant's Bookshelf and is on Twitter @elephantguy68.


JeffO said...

As Batman once said, "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb."

Hope everything is OK, Matt.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks Jeff, things are generally fine with me. This truly was intended to be a writing-related post, not a whiny gripe about my life, which I'm happy with, all things considered. There's an old joke: How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans for tomorrow. Still makes me chuckle.

Liza said...

All of life's catastrophes, that tire-burning smell for example, provide fodder for future stories. If we look at it that way, how bad can it all be?

Susan said...

I just try to add the crappy things to the list of Things I Can Now Write About With Personal Experience.