Friday, June 15, 2012

The Writing Biz

When asked about writing as a career, I always give the same advice: If you can do anything else and be happy, do it! That counsel comes from the heart. Having said that, I have known since I was six years old and in the second grade that I wanted to be a writer. Never wanted to be anything else. Not once. Nonetheless, it has not been an easy path.
I don't regret it because being a writer has granted me access to people, countries, worlds the average person must only read about, not experience. I have met the powerful, the unscrupulous, the filthy rich and the desperately poor, the genuinely pious and the televangelists who offer your salvation with their right hands while their left hands are firmly ensconced in your wallet. I have met politicians, murderers, psychics, both honest and corrupt law enforcement officers and attorneys, and show business celebs.
Would I change one moment of it?
Absolutely not.
And I have learned a heck of a lot along the journey
One things's for sure: The first person the writer must learn to deal with is himself or herself because writing is a nebulous profession at best. There is no one right way to write. There are no surefire rules for success or universal standards that define success and the resulting uncertainty can drive one a tad loony. One commonly accepted measuring stick is the sales figure. If a book sells x number of copies, it's a success. If it doesn't, that automatically means it's a dud.
Perhaps, perhaps not. Millions of well-written books have been published. And the number is growing with the explosion of epubs. However, few have been commercial or dollar-driven successes. Does that mean the books are failures? Only if the writer writes strictly for money.
But whether the book is deemed a failure or a success as measured by sales figures, the writer must believe in his or her talent. The writer must overcome the insecurities that accompany the sensitivity necessary to be a good writer, the sensitivity required to understand and create characters the readers will care about or find interesting.
(Writing 101: Characters are based on human beings. Writers must first understand the foibles and flaws, strengths and weaknesses, and basic motivations of the humans around them before they can create convincingly real characters.)
Next time, let's talk about rejection, dejection, and resurrection!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Writers Network of South Florida Gala

Saturday night was a wonderful celebration of writers and writing in South Florida and the culmination of the season for the Writers Network of South Florida. The main purpose of the party was to celebrate and acknowledge the winners of the 14th Annual Writers' Network Writing Contest. The venue was comfortable, the food and liquid libations were delicious, and the company outstanding. As a member, I was very proud. Enjoy with us visually the fun, the pleasure, and the pride we felt for our organization and our winners!

Congratulations to this year's winners! (Gentle hint: Perhaps next year, you'll be one of our winners! Oops, I should mention that you'll need to enter--and it's never too early begin writing and revising, searching for just the precise word, the clever idea!)

The cake reflects the 14 years the Writers Network
of South Florida has been holding a contest to honor South
Florida authors.
A happy president--all is going well!
Vinny Muttarelli (left) and Don Grimme, veteran actors present
the winning play, "Our Boys" by Peter Hawkins.

Deb Sharp is  in the foreground, as well she should be. Deb took on the task
of organizing the Gala, a major job, which she pulled off beautifully.

The young adult winners include Daniel
Rousseau, Jodi Tuchin, and Mariolga Locklin.
The short story winners are (from left) Claire Ibarra, Mark
Levy, and Laura P. McCarthy.

The second heroine of the evening is Joanne Endorf,
the contest chairman. Another excellent job!

And the winning poets are (from left) Judy Shaffer
and Beth S. K. Morris

The winning playwrightsare  (from left) Brian Reeves, Peter
Hawkins, and Don Scheer.