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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Belonging To Yourself

Happy 2018, everyone! On behalf of our founder, Alex Cavanaugh, and all of us here at IWSG, we welcome you to the 1st Wednesday of the month (and in this case, the year) when we all convene online to share, compare, brag, or bemoan the adventures we experience along the uniquely solitary journey we call writing. 

My thoughts for today are on a beleaguered soul; publicly berated on social media, for having the gall to call himself an Author when he wasn’t traditionally published by one of the few remaining “Big Houses.”  On the off-chance that there is more than one writer-turned-author turned writer-disparager out there, I recommend this article on 2018 publishing predictions by Steff Green.  

I daresay the condemned writer also wasn’t an actor or a Politician, nor a writer seeking immediate fame and fortune. But writers do write to be read, hopefully, while they still live and breathe.

Case in point: In 1846, American author Herman Melville found a London publisher for the first of two highly acclaimed novels based on his experiences in the South Pacific. In 1851, Harper & Brothers (New York) published Melville’s epic novel; Moby Dick, which for some reason flopped and was not recognized as a classic until nearly 30 years after Melville’s death. 

Conversely, Sue Grafton, author of the popular ‘Alphabet’ mysteries; beginning with “A is for Alibi,” knew very well the impact she had on her readers and never failed to deliver the stories they yearned for. She also swore there would be no other name on her work and no Ghostwriters. While her passing this last December leaves a mystery as to what “Z” might have been for, we can especially cherish “Y is for Yesterday,” her last book.

And to think Claude Monet’s father wanted him to be a grocer, not a painter ;-)

Whatever the outlet, may we all seize and enjoy this season of creativity!

"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you ..... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself." 
-  Ruth Stout

Happy Writing!


  1. I also read about the self-published author being maligned with a nasty retort about using the term "author." The best way to deal with those sad, destructive people is to delete, block, ignore. Publishing is changing, and that's not a bad thing.

    1. Hi Lee!
      I'm all for changes in the industry. I also think hybrid authors have a unique advantage in experiencing both sides. The only thing I'd add to delete, block and ignore is perhaps comfort food for the accosted ;-)
      Happy 2018!

  2. Hi Diedre,

    Such a thoughtful post. I think if you publish anything, in anyway, that makes a person an author.

    Heck, even the dog is an author every time she paws something on the keyboard.

    Happy writing and here's to a wondrous, inspiring 2018, Diedre.


    1. Hi Gary!
      I totally agree! These days even comments on social media are 'published'.
      Does Penny have an agent yet? She may well need one ;-)
      I received the sweetest project proposition on the very last day of 2017 which will no doubt inspire me throughout 2018. May joyous surprises dot your year as well ;-)

    2. Hey Diedre,

      Ah yes, even on such social "notworking" sites such as Farcebook, our musings are published, or "pawbished", as Penny states 😀

      Penny, according to her, does not need an agent because she's too busy being an acclaimed pawblisher. Heck, I noted she shared your post on Twitter.

      Great timing for a project proposition. What an inspiring focus for 2018. Well done and joyous surprises to us all!

      Gary 😀

  3. Hi, diedre!

    As I explained to you on my blog, I fell behind yesterday and was unable to make the rounds because Mrs. S and I were tied-up all day and evening entertaining a house guest, her brother, who stayed with us through the holidays and flies back to California today. Yesterday, the final day of his two week visit, we traveled to various parts of Florida so that he could see other family members before returning home. We didn't get off the road until late last night. I arose early this morning to catch up with dear friends like you. Thank you for understanding.

    Whether you are trying to sell laundry detergent or books, the reality of finite "shelf space" creates fierce competition, and competition can bring out the worst in people. I have found that the truly great people in any field of endeavor - politics, entertainment, music, art, literature - are the ones who are humble, down to earth and generous of spirit. They tend to play down their own achievements and applaud the accomplishments of their peers.

    I appreciate the Ruth Stout quote about peace, solitude and privacy fostering creativity. How true it is - "only in the winter, in the country..."

    Thank you for sticking with me, dear diedre. I look forward to another year of friendship with you. Happy new year to you and your family!

    1. Hi Shady!

      Oh, I knew you were up to something - as popular as you are ;-) Hope you all enjoyed.

      Well said, my friend. Like you, I much prefer the humble folks.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the quote. It seemed quite fitting for where I was when I wrote this post (in the country), as well as how important the last line is to me.

      Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Shady! I'll be seeing you both at the Dell!

  4. Hi Diedre - honestly people make remarks that can really hurt - so unfair ... so many of us are authors - in fact everyone authors something in their life. I give talks, write for publications ... all simple level - but it's awfully nice when one succeeds ... that bottom rung of the ladder needs to be stepped upon! Cheers Hilary

  5. Hi Hilary!
    Nicely said - you're such a ray of sunshine ;-) Love the 'bottom rung' line.
    I look forward to more of your pleasant postings.

  6. I love that quote and will definitely keep it in mind as I'm confined to being I and with myself to recover over the winter.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Doreen!

      I love it too ;-) I wonder if (voice) recording your story ideas would fill the temporary void in actually writing them down. At any rate, it could be a jump-start on your reading list ;-)

  7. I guess even those of us published by small presses would be shamed. Which is a shame. Big press doesn't mean anything.

    1. Hi Alex!

      I couldn't agree more. I think meanness is a sign of insecurity - or wearing your shoes too tight ;-) I guess it's best to ignore and remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

  8. Winter can definitely be restful and private. As for authors diminishing each other, I'll never understand it. But there are a lot of things I'll never understand in how people treat each other.

  9. If one is published anywhere--especially if they've received some sort of remuneration--to me is enough to give a writer the credentials of being an author. Besides, I don't know that any of it is worth condemning or criticizing another for.

    Tossing It Out


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