As my regular followers know, last weekend I went to the Southern California Writers’ Conference in LA(ish). I was a little nervous going in, not knowing what to expect, but let me tell you, it was worth every penny. The conference staff was welcoming, the class instructors both knowledgeable and honestly interested in helping their students, and the other attendees were friendly and talkative, quickly including me in their conversations. I found a new writers’ group that meets down the street from my house, I met published authors with successful careers in both traditional and independent publishing, and I made connections with other aspiring authors struggling with the same issues as I am. All in all, it was a great event and I’m looking forward to the next one!
Tom Zoellner was the keynote speaker on Saturday morning, and I loved his presentation of the “Seven Writers’ Paradoxes”. I thought I would share his insight, in case there are others out there who might benefit from his words.
- Solitude & Sociability: Writing is inherently a solitary activity, but in order to write well, we must be social and interact with the world.
- Surprise & Predictability: In telling a good story, the writer should surprise the reader, but must also play within their expectations.
- Cruel & Loving: To write great conflict, you must be cruel to your characters, but for the reader to love them, you also have to love and empathize with them.
- Doubt & Confidence: Authors live in a world of extreme self-doubt, yet must have faith and confidence in their work to move forward.
- Market Oriented & Freely Creative: Writers must know the business and care about the industry, but at the same time, they can’t worry about the market while they’re writing, instead pursuing the projects they love.
- Strive for Publication & Don’t Worry About Publication: Writers should strive to put their work out for others to read, but also recognize that the greatest pleasure is in the act of writing itself. Publication will not change your life. (Probably.)
- Selfish & Selfless: Writing is ultimately an act of ego, a demand to be read, but it’s intended to connect with and entertain the reader, which is ultimately a selfless goal.
So crazy, yet so true.
What do you think? Do you have any to add?