Footsteps, silent or echoing, can leave us chilled to the bone. I recently ate lunch at the Eagle and Child, or the Bird and the Babe as the Inklings called it. The deep amber wood, creaky floorboards, and foaming ale brought me to the table where sat Clive Lewis, his brother Warren, and John Tolkien, among many, crowded around those sticky tables in the Rabbit Room. It was smoky and dim, and the men were brash, loud, laughing. I wanted to write it, and then my fish and chips arrived. The table I sat at, near the tables of those great writers of afore, got loud with laughter and banter and I felt it. The knowing that our own great efforts are no less in potential than theirs. They were men, hard working and inspired, yes, but also full of bad jokes, and laughing a little too loudly. They feared failure but stuck out their necks anyway- because they had to.
Visiting the places where writers have worked and grown, from J.K. Rowling to Shakespeare, it becomes clear that the process is very personal, the muse tender and fickle. There is no recipe for process, except to open up and let in the world - the chill of inspiration and the warmth of friendship. And keep learning. Curiosity itself brings inspiration, sparking the muse. Walking in someone else's footsteps is interesting, and fun, but our floodgates open because we feel the call, the silent whisperings no one else can hear, and we give them sound. We shape them into Golem, Snape, Peter Rabbit, The Artful Dodger, Othello. No one else can hear them until we give them a voice. If these newly formed personalities struggle and fail, they have still, in the way of fictional characters, had life. If they thrive, establishing themselves in the lexicon of best loved/hated characters, we rejoice, but we plot and plan. Until we no longer hear the whisperings and echoes from the past, or the future, or from other worlds entirely, we write.
As a writer, I spin tales to take the reader away from everyday life, if only for a few hours. However, becoming a published author and reaching readers is a struggle. Writers sit in front of laptops and tap away in hopes of creating the next great American novel. But what happens after the manuscript is written and edited?
It was a dilemma for a few of my fellow writers and me. One Sunday night at Denny’s we pondered the question. Sending query letters to publishers is nerve wrecking. It takes the stars to be aligned just right to connect and get a contract.
We knew there had to be another solution. Yes, self-publishing on Amazon is an option, but the writers at the Sunday Night Write In knew there had to be other alternatives. So in January, the idea of starting a publishing company for authors in the 518 was spawned.
The 518 Publishing Company, LLC has been created to help writers in the 518 to publication. We will make it happen.