Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving

Photo Credit: Cindi Albright.
For Americans, it's time to show how thankful we are by eating an army's worth of food over the course of a long weekend and spending billions of dollars on things we really don't need. It's going to be amazing. As an author, however, that got me thinking.

Writing, they say, is a solitary art. A person sits down with their thoughts and their word processor, repeatedly banging on a keyboard until a novel miraculously forms under their fingertips. There is a lot about this description that rings true. I cannot count the number of hours I've sat alone with my computer, starting at its screen with a look of intense focus on my face (or confusion, or frustration, or bone-deep exhaustion).

But this also doesn't reflect the whole truth, because if writers were always going it alone we'd be horrible at our jobs. We need people. We need writer friends to commiserate and write along with, editors to tell us just what needs to be fixed, and beta readers to give us their unflinching first impressions. If you're an indie author, you need artists to help make cover art, proofreaders and copywriters to make your work flawless. You need a whole support group, a family of cheerleaders that pat you on the back as you go.

I published my first book this year, and next year I'll publish one more...maybe two if I'm lucky. The amount of people who helped me launch that sucker off the ground feels limitless, and I feel awful because while I was putting Stay the Distance together I forgot to include an acknowledgements page. Of course, they know who they are. They edited and betaed and supported their little hearts out, and I'm incredibly thankful that they did, because I wouldn't be here otherwise.

Then there are the readers and the book bloggers, who pounced on my work and cheered for it without my having to ask. Their reaction was so important, so necessary, and without their reviews I can't say I'd be back, publishing a book next year.

Writing at its best is an art of cooperation, of being able to reach out and ask someone for their opinion, and being open-minded toward the thoughts of others. It's about dedicating yourself to making something better, and better, until it's done. And I can't say that I could have a better group of people helping me get there as I bang away at that keyboard.

So, what are you thankful for?

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Mara Dabrishus is an author and librarian at a small college in Northeast Ohio. Horse racing is her first great love, but for the past several years she's ridden dressage, learning how to spiral in, half halt, and perform the perfect figure eight. Her first novel, Stay the Distance, was released in March 2015. For more information, please visit www.maradabrishus.com

1 comment:

  1. There are so many things to be thankful for! I am truly thankful to have experienced working with horses and making them my career.

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