Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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My favourite writing moments are rooted in the natural world. I paddle along a river or a lakeshore, meditating on the delicate properties of the landscape, drawing spiritual strength from the earth's teachings.
Lately, I have been out of touch with that world as I spin through the days, preparing for Christmas markets by night and dashing into school in the morning to learn the full details of my substitute teaching assignment for the day. There are not enough teachers to go around, but but the students and staff are amazing, and everyone pitches in to make it work.
This is also the season to market one's self-published novels! Someone recently observed that it must be nice to be able to sit around and write, doing as I please. I quite agree that it must be nice!
The reality is that a writing session, although pleasant and creative, is also exhausting. The writer sinks into a special world, creating, scrapping, recreating.... and that is just the beginning. Editing and revising involve intense focus, for we are breathing life into our vision, not merely checking the spelling.
Getting the book into publishable form involves long hours of hard work. And then, before during, and after publication, there is Marketing. Books somehow refuse to sell themselves.
Why do I go to farmers markets, craft fairs, and book fairs? Do I sell lots? Sometimes I do, but mostly I pass on information. I am an unknown author, whose audience is often discovered in face-to-face encounters. If I remain at home, I will be an unknown author, but no one will even know that much. Now, when I go to markets, there is a sense of "There goes an unknown author!" I consider that progress.
I am, some are surprised to learn, an introvert. I am learning to manage this challenge, terrified as I drag my tent from the car, feeling the dreaded imposter syndrome crowding me. So what keeps me going?
The online community reposts and cheers me on. "Tell us how it went," they say. They read my books and are generous in their comments. There is a fellowship there that runs deep. The market community rushes in to help me set up, offering welcome and encouragement in a genuine camaraderie. People drop by to chat and share stories, or simply to welcome me to their community. I meet other aspiring authors, and we swap strategies and share dreams. Established writers at book fairs offer encouragement, treating me as a colleague, not the lesser being my introverted self whispers that I truly am. I wonder if all these people really know the difference they make in one introverted unknown writer's life.
So, I go to the markets. I have learned to keep a pen warm in an inner pocket for outdoor markets, to pack many light boxes because I have lifting restrictions, and to listen to the market world around me. It is a little like paddling the shoreline, observing, absorbing, and learning.
And ever grateful to the online writing community, the physical writing community, the marketing community, and the market patrons, who teach me another side of the wonder of life.
Blessings and best wishes to you all. I hope these words reach you; you are making a difference in the world.