When I first started writing, many years ago, I tried to discover THE SECRET to writing. I was sure there was one thing I didn’t know that everyone else knew, and once I found that out, I could write the way I wanted to. Naturally, I was convinced this one secret thing was contained in a book.
So I spent most of my time finding/buying/devouring books about writing. They were both liberating and frustrating. I would get inspired by all the ideas, but perturbed that it wasn’t getting me to sit down and write. (Yes, I know — that last phrase contains the actual secret. But it took me a while to embrace the obvious.)
Nowadays when I’m looking for inspiration, I can usually find it in blogs, or tweets, or what-have-you in the vast repository of ideas known as the internet. But recently I stumbled across something that made me say, “Huh, I didn’t know I had that.”
It’s called The Pocket Muse: Endless Inspiration, by Monica Wood, and it contains a variety of writing prompts, and intriguing pictures designed to inspire the muse, as well as some advice and personal writing experiences from the author.
There was one essay titled “Memo From the Department of Just Showing Up”, which is really a variation of THE SECRET (sit down and write). However, it included a phrase that really resonated with me: “If you keep your hat in the ring, sooner or later somebody’s going to need a hat.”
And I realized that’s the essence of what I love about the indie publishing life. Not only is somebody going to need a hat. It’s very likely they’re going to need the kind of hat that *I* produce.
In the past, writers expended a lot of time and energy trying to discover which hat styles were all the rage, in the hopes they could fill the needs of a powerful consortium of buyers who had rather vague manufacturing specs.
But what we ended up doing was trying to convince people who love fedoras to fall in love with a frilly fascinator. When they didn’t, it was too easy to assume there was something wrong with the hats we’d made. So we’d remove the netting and feathers and squoosh it into a more practical form of headgear, all in an attempt to woo the fedora-loving crowd.
Talk about completely wrong-headed thinking.
The beauty of the indie publishing world is that there is room — as well as avid consumers — for all kinds of hats. Ball caps, knit hats, berets. Even crocheted beer can ones. Heck, we can go mad-hatter-crazy and fashion a never-seen-before chapeau if we want.
All because of another wonderful secret:
People out there will believe you made that particular hat just for them.
And they’re going to love you for it.
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.
I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.
I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.
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