Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for October (and Opportunity)

It's Letter O day in the A to Z Challenge (and I bet, because I'm so late posting, you thought I forgot. I didn't, just a busy, away from home kind of day.) Now, on to today's O-word, October!

Why October when it's almost six months away? Because October means, Surrey International Writers' Conference!

The Surrey International Writers' Conference, or SiWC as it's more fondly known, is the first writers' conference I attended. It's where I met amazing people who, like I, loved words, all sorts of words, including O-words like omniscient, obstreperous, obstacle, obstinate, ochre, origami, orga—you get the idea. It's where I met Diana Gabaldon, and from her, learned that the only way to write a novel was to write it. No magic wand, no faery dust, no Oz behind the curtain, just bum glue.

Bum glue?

The stuff that sticks your bottom in the chair so you can write. Don't worry if it's not perfect. Don't agonize over what your mother/father/sister/aunt/neighbor might think if you right _that_, just write. No excuses. No need to set aside large chunks of time. Twenty minutes in the car waiting for the school to let out, thirty minutes at swim lessons, ten minutes before the dryer buzzer sounds—the words accumulate, and eventually scenes form, chapters manifest, and eventually, a full-fledged book takes shape. Considering she had three young children and a full-time job as a university professor and still managed to finish the 300,000 word novel that started it all (Outlander for those of you unfamiliar with her fantastic books), I had to believe she was on to something. So I went home, put aside my excuses, stopped revising the same seventy-pages I had fussed over for over a year, and in the next year, pounded out a thousand pages. A thousand, messy, beautiful, amazing pages, hard evidence of what I already knew in my heart—I was an author.

Not, I wanted to be an author. Not, one day I was going to be an author. But, I _was_ an author. If the damned thing never saw the inside of a publishing house or bookstore, I was an author. I had authored a book. Me. Little ol' me had written beginning to end and the burgeoning middle that connected the two. I was an author. And I owed it all to October, SiWC, Diana Gabaldon, my husband (who kept four kids amused when I was otherwise occupied) and me.

So, here's to October, and here's to SiWC. Here's to Diana, persistence, and to husbands that love without condition. Here's to writers, and books, and the people that read books. Here's to O, and the Opportunity to give credit where credit is due.

And for you writers out there, SiWC's writing contest recently opened to submissions. Fiction is judged and the significant cash prize awarded by Diana Gabaldon herself, and the amazing, and multi-talented Jack Whyte. Details on the conference here.


It is the essence of genius to make use of the simplest ideas. ~Charles Peguy


Linda G. said...

Great post, Deb! Yes, here's to the big "O"! *grin*

Lara said...

Can't wait! I get to go this year! :)

Deborah said...

Linda... *wink*

Lara...excellent! I get to see you again. I can't wait!

Lara said...

Wanna room together?