Peeking Between the Pages

Please join me in my excitement of welcoming Laurie Viera Rigler, author of her newest novel Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict and Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict to Peeking Between the Pages. Anyone who reads my blog knows how crazy I am about both of these books and I just reviewed Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict not long ago and you can peek at it here. I loved it and anyone who has worked with Laurie knows she’s just the best! So, of course I was excited to have Laurie come and share with us a post on A Real Writer Writes Every Day, and Other Myths…enjoy…

The very first thing I like to address in my writing workshops are some of the myths and misconceptions many people have about writing and writers.

“A Real Writer …[fill in the blank with your dogma of choice].”

Some common examples:

“A real writer must suffer for his/her art.”
“A real writer is always a mirror of his/her protagonist.”
“A real writer needs to be hard to read.”
“A real writer is helpless in real life.”
“A real writer is a recluse and a drunk.”

… and the big ones:

“A real writer writes at least X-number of pages per day,” or:
“A real writer writes every day,” or:
“A real writer always feels compelled to write.”

You get the picture.

There was a time when I would read those last three assumptions in various books and articles and invariably felt defeated. Second rate. And definitely not like a real writer.

Why? Well, I’ll make a confession: I do not write every day. Sure, I go through periods where I write every day and often all night (fueled by inspiration, looming deadlines, or both), and then I take a day off. Or days off. Or several weeks. It really depends on how the story is flowing at any given moment, how motivated I am, how uncluttered my brain is, the state of my deadline, what else is going on in my life and commanding my time, and a myriad of other factors.

My Turning Point came when I heard Zadie Smith speak at UCLA, and she very nonchalantly and completely unrepentantly admitted that she does not write every day. Some days she is even watching daytime TV or perusing Gawker.com.

Zadie Smith’s offhand remarks were a revelation. Zadie Smith, one of my idols, the brilliant author of On Beauty, a masterpiece that was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize—Does. Not. Write. Every Day. That meant that I no longer had to be ashamed of not being a “real” writer. Because if I were to give credence to so ludicrous a definition, then neither was Zadie Smith.

Who’d want to be a “real” writer anyway, if it means being confined by dogma and compulsion? My teacher very wisely suggested that I start calling myself a storyteller rather than a writer, because the word “writer” is laden with all that baggage of what “Real” writers are supposed to be. Storytellers, however, are free of all such restraints. They get to sit around the fire weaving tales and mesmerizing their listeners.

Therefore, after two published novels, I may not be a “Real” writer, but I am most certainly a storyteller. And proud of it.

I hope this little confession is helpful to anyone out there who writes, sits around the fire telling stories, or has ever thought about what it takes to do so.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the myth of what a “Real Writer” is and any other misconceptions about writing and writers that you can think of. Are we drunks, self-absorbed fools, exactly like our protagonists, simply a little bonkers, or all of the above?

In return for your comments, I’ll be giving away one signed copy of my new novel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, and Darlene will be giving away one copy of my first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. (Personally, I think that Darlene should consider running a giveaway in which the prize is a chance to spend the day with her dog Buddy. Because after seeing all of those adorable photos of Buddy here on the blog, I think a day with him would be the best prize of all. My cat, however, would most certainly disapprove.)

Thanks for inviting me here, Darlene!
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Thanks so much for joining us today Laurie but no way are we including Buddy in the prize! Besides he’s such a mama’s boy that he’d drive someone else crazy trying to get back to me -lololol.
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Before we move on to the giveaway I’d also like to share the brand new book trailer out on Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. Enjoy…

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GIVEAWAY DETAILS

As Laurie mentioned she is very graciously offering up a copy of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict to one lucky winner and I thought it would be really cool that if the winner hadn’t already read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, then they could win both so I went out and bought a special hardcover copy to give away also.

So, the winner will win one copy of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict from Laurie and one copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict from yours truly. You are welcome to enter for one or the other but if the winner is someone who hasn’t read either, then they will get both. If they only want one of the books then I will draw a separate winner for the other. Sound good?…great…then this is what you need to do…

* For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
* For 2 entries share with Laurie and I something from her guest post that interested you or answer the question she asked.
* For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word.

This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only and I will draw for the winner on Sunday, August 9, 2009. Good luck to you all!