Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Liz Worth - previous's blog

Touring, Part Two: What to do, what to bring

When I posted the first part of this topic, I didn’t expect there to be such a gap in time between part one and part two.

But what’s my excuse? I was busy with readings and book fairs in and out of town. All good practice to get this second post out to you, right?

Right.

In my last post, I’d promised to talk about getting the word out, making a checklist, and how to deal with a bad turnout.

Touring, Part One: what you will do, what you won't, and how you can

Okay, let’s admit it: gigging at literary events can be a strange and sometimes scary experience.

But as an author, scheduled appearances can also be some of the best experiences, whether you’re doing a reading, giving a talk, or signing books.

When you get booked for a reading you don’t always know what you’re going to be walking into. Some reading nights are long-running series that have a dedicated, built-in following that will show up no matter who’s on the bill.

Other audiences might depend more on who you’re sharing the stage with, and depending on how varied the works are of the featured readers, you could find some new fans or end up feeling totally out of your element.

Giving yourself permission to live your life, revisited

I have to admit that I had a lot anxiety about being a Writer in Residence here. Not because I didn’t want to – I did, I did, I did – but because I wasn’t sure I had enough to say. I was also worried about managing my time, and wondering if blogging here would take away from other writing.

But after I got my first post up, my anxiety lessened, and continued to do so with every new post. I also found that, while I still had moments where I wasn’t sure what I would write about next, they didn’t last very long because I went with how I was feeling, or with questions that had come up organically in conversation or online.

The day job

"You can't give up something you really believe in for financial reasons." - Robert Plant

When I meet new people and they ask me what I do, I tell that I write, but that I also work a day job.

I don’t really try to downplay the fact that I have to work, though people are sometimes surprised to learn that books don’t make any money, unless you’re one of the lucky few (i.e. Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyers, etc.) who end up getting really famous for your writing, or who end up getting really lucky by tapping into publishers who will invest in them.

7 albums that made me want to write

In the overdrawn, ultra nerdy, raging debate over whether lyrics are poetry or not, I tend to side with poetry.

There is always a danger in finding yourself in lyrics, because so often you end up disappointed when you find out that they were written with no backstory in mind, with no reality anchoring them, but no matter what I learn about these album, it won’t shake how I’ve reimagined them.

I don’t know that my feelings on these albums is necessarily an accurate reflection of what the artists intended to put out, but in the end, I don’t think it matters what my interpretation is of a song, anyway. We all need to make lyrics our own, to some extent, if music is to stick inside of us, and influence us.

Finding inspiration in the afterlife of old habits

Since early 2010, I’ve held a much more tenuous, uncertain relationship with alcohol than I ever have since I first started drinking.

Not long into January, 2010, I decided to do something I’d thought about frequently for years before, but was always too scared to do: I stopped drinking.

Before this, the longest I’d ever quit drinking was in the winter of 2005. Again, it was something I’d thought about before. I hated how nights spent drinking sabotaged perfect plans the next day. I hated how a Friday night could start out with pure happiness, only to fade into regret or embarrassment or a fuzzy, sad head the following morning.

Feel, don't think

On Monday night, I tweeted that I’d just written a “very satisfying” 1,000 words. One of my friends, Jennifer Goldberg, a writer and editor, promptly responded with the question, “what is the secret to writing 1,000 words on a Monday night after a full day or work?”

When I wrote back that caffeine, a clear starting point, a distraction-free environment, and a decent start time – preferably before the point in the night when my brain and body decide it’s bedtime – are my main tips, Jennifer suggested I blog about my process.

Of course, the beauty of blogging the process is I have way more than 140 characters to share my process, so here it is.

1. Pay attention to every thought

Making time, making the scene

In yesterday’s blog post, I talked about using social media, specifically Twitter, to connect with other writers. But I also mentioned a dilemma in making real life connections.

The dilemma, like many of my dilemmas, centres on balance, time, and relationships.

At the beginning of this year, I didn’t make resolutions, but I did make plans. There were things I wanted to do, and one of them was that I would go to at least one literary event a month.

I think it’s important that, as a writer, I support other writers. Sometimes the people I’m going out to support are my friends. Sometimes they’re people I’ve never even heard of. Sometimes they’re people whose work I have been a long-time fan of.

I like you on Twitter, but I would like you even more in real life

I am on my second Twitter account. The first was deleted after over a year of mostly inactivity. I didn’t get it, so I didn’t do much with it. People would follow me anyway and it made me feel bad so I deleted my profile and decided Facebook is where it’s at.

A few days later, something clicked. In a moment of clarity I understood what Twitter is all about. I got back on and started following people, and tweeting.

Notice how I said I started following people before I started tweeting? See, that was one of the things I didn’t get before.

My biggest “aha moment” with Twitter was that it’s about connecting. It’s about listening to what other people are saying and responding to them, or sharing their information. It’s about having a genuine interest in other people.

Bad press vs. bad press (Or, why I don’t write reviews anymore)

I first got published writing music reviews for a local magazine. The publishing schedule was infrequent and the gig didn’t pay, but it was a start, which is what I was looking for. The free CDs didn’t hurt, either.

I was a huge music fan and keen to get as much experience as a music writer as possible. I was also very young. Sometimes I think I was too young: too young to differentiate between critique and criticism and still too filled with the precious arrogance that so often takes hold of us in our early 20s. (I’m so relieved mine finally faded out of me years ago.)

I also was too quick in believing that my writing – whether it be wit or clever references or signature style – was as important, if not more, than the thing I was writing about.

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