Things are a bit crazy behind the scenes for me at the moment, so my blog posting will probably be sporadic for a bit. I just found out two days ago that my short story entry placed first in a yearly short story contest in a glossy regional magazine, and it will be published in their March 2011 issue. So I’ve just hit the milestone of having a story published for the first time. As the publication date approaches I’ll post the name of the magazine.
I also signed up for the Denise Little Workshop at the very last moment, and am now scrambling to get caught up with everyone else and get the travel arrangements nailed down.
I went on a trip to Disneyland, and for the first time experienced the joys of not having to lug around a stack of paperbacks and hardbacks in my backpack. I just got an e-reader (a Nook) and had a wonderful time exploring the Project Gutenberg website, whose mission is to provide to readers free access to classic books and reference works in the public domain (though donations are encouraged).
I was able to download electronic versions of books such as ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TREASURE ISLAND, THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, EMMA, and several other classics.
If you’ve ever lugged around a hardback version of THE COLLECTED WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, you know what a pain it is to the back and wrists. Being able to carry Shakespeare around in a feather light electronic device was a joy. Plus, when we got stuck in the airport due to flight delays from all the snow back east, I had enough old classics written for kids on the Nook to keep my son entertained for hours.
I’ve heard people talk about how they’ll never get an e-reader because they love the smell of paper, but I think one can have fun owning both paper and electronic books. Each format serves best in certain situations. When stuck in an airport, an electronic reader is an amazing tool for people who love to read and who want to share that love with their children.
I also encourage writers who are doing research to check out the non-fiction collections that Project Gutenberg has put together. I’ve found some wonderful out-of-print reference books from the 19th century to download to read in preparation for doing various writing projects.
Project Gutenberg provides their electronic files in various formats (ePUB, Kindle, rtf, html, and txt).
Whatever your opinion may be about playwright/director/actor Tyler Perry’s work, consider reading the interview he did with Oprah for the December 2010 issue of her magazine.
When he started out, Mr. Perry’s plays failed six times in a row over six years (one play failure each year, and then he’d have to work odd jobs to scrounge up the money to start over the following year). It wasn’t until the seventh attempt that he wrote and produced a play that succeeded.
During those six years when he was trying to make it, there were times he was sleeping in his car to put together the funds for the next play production attempt.
Too often there’s a belief that one must be successful with the first short story, novel, screenplay, or play written. And that if one fails, that means one has no talent and should just give up.
It takes time to learn a craft and reach a professional level. An important lesson to take away from Tyler Perry’s story is that one must be willing to learn from failure.