Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Rebirth of Inexperience

If you live a purposeful life, then experience is your reward. We like to believe that our lives, both the parts shared and the time we’ve spent apart, have left us with heaps of real world knowledge. Lynn has spent nearly three decades at the same high school and her opinion is sought on everything from how to deal with the most horrific tragedies to the refreshments served during staff meetings. Evan’s first computer-assisted analysis was conducted on punch cards and fed into a computer that wouldn’t fit in our living room. It makes him smile when younger colleagues gripe about how the company’s dual-core Pentium processor laptops with gigabytes of RAM and half-terabyte disk drives are “not all that good.” 

It’s not a boast to suggest that we know our way around our professions. We’ve applied ourselves for a long time and now, not unreasonably, we’re considered experts. So it has been something of a shock to realize that we are “wet behind the ears” when it comes to the writing game. Not so much creating a novel. There is a lifetime of stories, plays, and poems in our past and we have been dedicated to learning the craft of “can’t put it down” book length fiction for over five years now. It’s the stumbling about after the novel has been completed that reminds us of when we were young and our hearts raced at rooms filled with vacuum tubes or wide eyed students.

This post novel production might have been easier a few years ago when there was really only one path to take. But Amazon and eBooks changed all that. Now, when century old publishing houses are floundering about how to sell books and agents only want to represent the sleazy and notorious, everyone is on the learning curve. We realize that, while there has never been a better opportunity for independent writers, it hasn’t come with a road map. We often feel lost, frustrated, and like complete rookies. On the bad days it makes us wonder if it’s worth it. On the good days it reminds us of when we were young, newly in love, and believed there was nothing we couldn’t do as long as we never let go of each other’s hand.

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