This has been such a steep learning curve that my poor tiny brain is fried! I knew for several years that one could self-publish on Kindle free but I doubted that I could manage it, technologically challenged as I am. I succeeded only after many hours of frustration, kicking and screaming. I have considerably less hair than I had a few months ago.
I’m not a Luddite; my first computer was an Apple 2e in 1980. I’ve gone from the simple as pie Apple Writer to the horrible Word Perfect with all its F commands to many iterations of Word. In every case I’ve learned just enough to do what I need, mostly to simply write.
Formatting for publication is a huge jump, and my legs are short! Once I got Amigos on Kindle, my sister-in-law who drew the illustrations many years ago said she would love to see it in print. Okey Doke I thought. But that took weeks. Either there’s flaws in our Word 2013 or I’m seriously impaired. I prefer to blame our program.
Then there were weeks of editing my memoir and struggling to write enticing language for the book jacket, cover, etc. Now I’m told that a serious author needs a lot of “platforms” like a web presence, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. I’ve been on Facebook for years, but only to occasionally see what friends and family are up to. I joined Twitter during the election in 2008, but Mark soon gained followers on my account by making rude comments about some candidates. In fear of being put on the “no fly” list, I soon backed off. Now I’m in the throes of learning to use this platform (if that’s what it is). In every case if I finally succeed I’m so stressed and tired that I have no idea how I accomplished it.
Will all this brain activity strengthen my mental ability or will it hasten the onset of dementia?
I’ve read (and repeated to students) that there are three classes of writers: Those who want to be A Writer, those who want to write, and those who write. The first category dream of author’s tours with TV interviews, fame, and lots of money. Those who want to write have a story they feel compelled to tell. The last category simply can’t help but write.
As with most truisms, this isn’t entirely true, but I fall mostly into the latter group. I still have a “poem” written when I was about eight and diaries or journals kept off and on through the years. In the eighth grade my essay won an honorable mention in a county-wide contest. During boring college classes I wrote (very bad) short stories, to all appearances taking extensive notes.I later took writing classes, but I seldom submitted anything for publication because I lacked the drive to be A Writer.
My work for many years mostly satisfied any creative writing itch because I graded thousands of college compositions, wrote thousands of dull words of curriculum, policies, self-studies for accreditation, strategic plans, etc. However, during summers and a period of several years when I wasn’t working full-time, I wrote four novels, a novella, and co-wrote a murder mystery. Mostly what I submitted for publication were stories for the local newspaper or poems.
Only recently have I decided to do something with those files of manuscripts and obsolete Apple floppy disks. Either I die leaving my daughters to burn those moldering piles or I work to get them out into the world for better or for worse.
After eight days of camping, the cleanup takes days! Will we do it again? Of course! It was great to visit with seldom-seen relatives – 32 of them the evening we (with daughter Janelle) cooked dinner for the group. I took copies of my novella, Amigos, and gave a copy to my sister-in-law Diane, who drew three illustrations after reading it probably 35 years ago and also gave copies to other interested folks. Per request I read a piece from Amigos around the campfire one night and a poem, “Brother” from my memoir another night.
A hint for your memoir writing or just for reference: I keep a little notebook divided into months with those little post-it strips and record whenever we take a trip like this one, have guests from out-of the area, etc.