Friday, October 12, 2012

Write on the Sound!


Last weekend I had the great privilege of attending the "Write on the Sound" writers' conference in Edmonds, Washington.  It made my head spin with the wealth of information presented.  The view from the location was amazing (of course) and I got to rub elbows with a lot of writers, editors, and various industry folks.

To provide an full overview of the weekend would just be too much to cover here.  I guess I'm just not enough of a journalist.  But overall, I came away with the following jewels of wisdom:

"I am a writer and I'm proud of it!"  The first thing we had to do was to proclaim this openly and verbally.  Though I would've liked to have stated, "I'm a struggling writer and I'm proud of it!" ;)

Not everyone is going to understand what it means to be a writer.  Don't be discouraged when your closest friends or family members don't read your latest creations.  The need to write and create comes from within.  Recognize that and be willing to strengthen the creative self.

The industry is undergoing major changes!  I thought that if I even mentioned electronic publishing or that I would have been kicked out.  It was a pleasant surprise to hear that so many authors are moving in that direction.  Even the Editors are embracing the movement.  However, the big warning from almost everyone was, "Garbage in equals garbage sales!"  In order to be successful at self publishing on electronic media, an author still needs to utilize a professional editor and artist for the cover (and internal illustrations if needed).  Readers will not put up with shoddy work, poor grammar, spelling errors, or in-consistent story flow.  It still takes a bit of an investment to make it all work and to be successful at it.  Point noted!

Those who self publish also need to be good at formatting their work for use on the various platforms.  Several of the sessions I attended actually went into the details on how to format the project for uploading to the various media outlets.  I'm sure glad that I'm computer savvy.  There were a lot of glazed over eyes during those sessions.  Along with those topics were the discussions of how important social marketing is.  How to use Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, and other processes for promoting your work, while at the same time not letting it dominate your time and take away from writing.     

Out of all the sessions that I attended, I think the most enjoyment and beneficial aspects were from hearing how everyone else got started and what they were doing to be successful at writing.  Almost every session was presented by an author who was finding success in both "New York" style publishing and "ePublishing".  Even the Keynote speaker, Carla Neggers (over 60 books), gave us a little insight on how she got started.

Was it worth the time and cost?  Totally!  I highly recommend a writing conference to any budding writer.  It was a great boost to my confidence and gave me a lot of great ideas.

Desk Pictures?

Speaking of good ideas, I guess my request for pictures of the desks of published authors fell on blind eyes.  No one responded!  I guess maybe most authors feel that their desks are a secret ingredient to successful writing?  Well, if I do manage to get some pictures, I'll be sure to share them here.

Now to get to all those "To Do" items I came up with during the conference.

Keep writing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yeah! An Office!

Not a Man Cave!
I finally have an office for writing!  I'm not quite sure that I really know how to act.  My youngest son recently moved out and his bedroom has become my (our) new office.  Now, I've had home offices before.  But that was when I was in the consulting business and was working from home.  It's not quite the same since those offices always had that "I should be working and not writing" feel to them.  This time it's different.  I have a full time job somewhere else.  So, when I come home to my office, I can actually think about writing.  (Which is what I'm doing now.)

I also mentioned that it's our office, since my wife now has a desk here too.  Though her computing time is usually spent with emails, shopping on-line, or playing a game.  Which I love about her by the way, especially since she's married to a computer geek/programmer/gamer/writer.  She's currently wrapped up with Civilization V.  Which I'm afraid to even try for fear that the next few months will just vanish without any writing done and all I'll have to show for it are conquests over virtual countries.  (We won't talk about my current diversions into Minecraft.)

Time to Spread Out
One of the first things I decided to do for my office was to get a new desk.  I absolutely hate it when I'm writing/programming/computing and there's not enough desk space.  Before I decided on what I wanted, I tried a Google search to see what desk arrangement other writer's were using.  Basically, I came away empty handed.  Almost all of the search results showed the desks of famous writers from the past.  Which was quite interesting since it highlighted that most of these famous writers didn't need much space at all.  It actually made me think a bit about what I really wanted.  It was also interesting to see the changes in writing technology.  Most of the desks had manual word processors (paper and pens/pencils) or typewriters.  Nowhere did I see an iPad or a laptop computer!  How did these people ever do it?

Disheartened that I wouldn't be able to find a modern day configuration that I could mimic from another author, the wife and I set out on a gas consuming search for the right arrangement that would suit my needs.  After multiple stops at various major office supply stores and a few find everything here stores, we ended up making the pilgrimage to Ikea.  Okay, maybe there's no moral significance, but it was a trip outside of our local area.  I kind of knew in the back of my mind that I should have just started there anyway.

After 3k+ new steps on my FitBit, and a much lighter wallet, I now have a desk configuration that gives me enough room for all my books, gear, and accessories.  I basically bought a single corner desktop (seen in the pic) and a separate student size desk.  I attached the student desk as a extension off the right of the corner desk.  This gives me plenty of room for my books, printer, and accessories.  Plus I still have plenty of room for my monitors, laptop, Kindle, and lots of desk space for books, papers, and research materials.

This still leaves me with an uncanny desire to find out what other writers are using and what recommendations they have for an efficient work space and writing environment. 

So, here's my request.  If you don't mind, shoot me an email with a picture of your work space and why it works for you.  My only requirement is that you're a published author.  (I do appreciate all the struggling writers out there as well, but this is so we can see what the pros are using.)  In my next posting here I'll show as many of the pictures that I have room for and the descriptions of why it works.  This is your chance to actually have an impact on the Google search results for those other future authors who are looking for the best desk arrangement for their writing. ;)

You can send your picture and description to IAm at timothytrimble dot com.  (Put that together into the right format please.)  I look forward to seeing what you're using.

Write On The Sound
 By the way, I'll be attending the Edmonds Writer's Conference this coming weekend.  This will be my first live (non-virtual) writing conference.  I hope to come away with more enthusiasm for writing and hopefully with a little more knowledge about the industry.  While I'm sure this year's conference is most likely sold out, feel free to check out the site and maybe make arrangements for attending next year.  It's hard to beat scenery of the beautiful Northwest and the city of Edmonds!
Write On The Sound!

Thanks again for reading.  Come back soon to check out what's new.