The ratio of people who tell me they want to publish a book compared to people who tell me that they want to write is probably 4:1 and I get it – the hunger to get your work out into the world but I often feel like they’re putting the cart before the horse. I mean, obviously, if they’re thinking of publishing a book, they’ve written something but that doesn’t mean that that something is ready to be published. Writing is the purpose of writing; publishing a book is another step altogether and a big one. & I worry sometimes that people are skipping the writing en route to publishing a book, in part because it’s easier to self-publish now than when I started out from my surveying of the landscape. But that still doesn’t mean that the work is ready to be out in the marketplace. But it sells, it makes money, people like it, you’re just a hater. I mean that’s one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that I believe in writer development and that’s one of the reasons I started Wadadli Pen – to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Before the baby is sent out in to the world, it has to grow – go through stages of development, which in the case of writing, may include revisions and self-editing, feedback from someone outside of yourself or from a later self who has some distance from the work (i.e. put it down and come back to it), writing groups and/or workshops, writing classes or seminars, submitting to journals and contests (test your writing in the markeplace, building a writing profile etc)…or just put the work out; that’s worked for some people. I come from a different school. & the truth is different schools can yield success; there are different paths to the goal.
I do hope that one of your paths, if you’re a writer or aspiring writer in Antigua and Barbuda takes you through the Wadadli Pen challenge.
Some of the interviews we’ve been doing to promote the 2023 challenge have included hacks or tips about writing and about submitting – the Voice of the People appearance, for instance, floats ideas to jump start new writing, while on The Review I talk about what’s meant by “keep it Caribbean” from our submission guidelines:
“the idea is to kind of re-wire our brain to think of ourselves as the center of the story; to think of ourselves as where the story starts. That doesn’t mean that you have to write a stereotypical, cliche Caribbean story. In fact, we would prefer if you didn’t. You can write any kind of genre, you can set it in outer space, you can set it in a parallel universe, you can set it in a future reality but the idea is that imaginatively, psychically center your Caribbean-ness…life as you see it but also as you imagine it.”from The Review interview
Margaret during her We the People appearance reminds that you don’t have to be Antigua-Barbudan born (only resident) to submit; whoever you are you have a particular story to tell.
You shoud give these media appearances a listen.
And if you think you need help, sign up for one of this week’s Wadadli Pen workshops…
and just so you know I will be offering scholarships to my Jhohadli Writing Project workshops as part of the prize package.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and To be a Cheetah – the latter scheduled for July 2023 release and available for pre-order wherever you buy books at this writing). All Rights Reserved. Subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.