Anita Laydon Miller, author of the newly released middle grade e-book Earthling Hero, commented on my last post that she wanted more details about the writer's club meeting I attended at the local library last weekend. It was interesting. A variety of ages were present ranging from teens to retired school teachers. It was an open forum where people could read up to five minutes of their work. Some read poetry and some read excerpts from flash fiction, short stories, novels, and memoirs. Everyone was super encouraging towards each other. It was great.
The piece that I remember the most was from a memoir written by a retired teacher who struggled with a variety of phobias and anxieties in her life. In particular, she struggled with something called scriptophobia, which is fear of writing in public, and she shared a wonderful story of how she had to write her first check for college tuition in front of a line of strangers. It was a story that didn't just enlighten me on what scriptophobia was but was a story that anyone with a phobia or anxiety could relate to.
I have a fear of empty swimming pools or pools that don't have people swimming in it. As part of my ACL surgery rehabilitation, I had to do quite a bit of pool therapy. I didn't mind it at all, and in fact enjoyed it, except for the fact that there was always someone swimming in the lane next to me or a therapist was sitting on a bench beside the pool. Eventually, my work schedule changed and I had to change the time I went to the pool. Unfortunately, this fell during a time when there wasn't anyone in the pool and no therapist. Needless, to say my pool therapy fell to the wayside. And then I had to explain to my trainer that I hadn't done my pool therapy for three weeks because I was scared to be in the pool by myself. I felt so ridiculous explaining it to him. But hearing this retired teacher talk about her phobia, made me feel better somehow.
Over all, I thought the meeting was a positive experience. The only negative thing I had to say was that I felt like the moderator was putting down traditional publishing. Yes, finding and agent and selling a book is hard and you have to write the best story that you can. I've heard some compare it to winning the lottery. But, when you have novice writers, with bright shiny dreams and hopes, don't just come out and tell them that they will have to self-publish because becoming traditionally published is impossible. There is of course nothing wrong with self-publishing. But, give them the choice. Without any bias, both paths should have explained.
I almost felt like the meeting moderator, who was a writer himself, maybe didn't have the best experience pursuing traditional publishing or something and so he was poo pooing it for everyone else. I usually don't like to say negative things about people, books, or really much of anything on my blog (except if it's about Sarcastically Declicious' antics, because, hey, I have the right), but the way the moderator presented publishing left a bad taste in my mouth, and I don't know if I will go to another meeting. Or maybe I will. I don't know. Really torn about it.