Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Public Side of the Writing Life

I have been off the blog recently with my energy focused on the public side of the writing life. It's a crazy sometimes, isn't it? We go from writing in our pajamas until noon to talking about a book that we wrote many moons ago, while wearing lipstick. I am happy to have launched my new book Marching With Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women's Suffrage with two events in Spokane recently. Saturday I head for California to present at suffrage centennial events and libraries, and Naomi Kinsman Downing's Inklings program in Menlo Park. Hurray. Support from our fellow writers is so valuable. I wish I could be in Minneapolis to attend one of Anne Ursu's upcoming book readings for her new novel Breadcrumbs. Or to have attended Mary Rockcastle's novel launch last Friday night at Hamline. Congrats to you both.

We are never too old to appreciate friendly faces in the crowd. That's what makes a Hamline residency reading so special. The entire crowd knows the journey the writer has been on and has cheered every step. At my Spokane reading, one of my writing group buddies said afterwards, "As I heard you read, I remember all your revisions and the choices you made." Those writing friends know my book like those that work backstage on a play. New readers experience only the story that exists now on the page.

Marsha Qualey was here last weekend to present at our Spokane SCBWI conference with a wonderful presentation on character. What I especially loved is for that hour in the day we didn't focus on marketing or publication, other public sides of the writing life, but rather on the writing that begins and ends with story and character.

The public side of writing is so important. We have to get out in the world to share our work and learn how to do it better. But how I also love the return to the quiet life of putting words down on paper, an energy that comes from inside.


  1. I am so shy, it is hard for me to "sell" anything. My first novel comes out in 2012 and I would way rather get back to writing than show my face in public. Most artists are not businesspeople, even though they have to be.

  2. Congratulations on your new book, Claire! :0)

    You know, something that fascinates me about the writing life--particularly the lives of you published folks, is how we must engage in the world, opening ourselves up to allow the world to sink into our bones. Only, to later sew ourselves up, retreat into our rooms, and through some miracle--and LOTS of work--focus only on the world we are crafting. And the danger, too often, is excess absorption--letting in too much of the world. When this happens, it's WAY more difficult to sew ourselves up and focus on the story. How do we always stay aware and unaware at the same time? Hmm...