With good stuff like…
Save the creativity for your writing
That’s not to say you shouldn’t have fun at your meetings. Maybe you want to have a Johnny Cash impersonator serenade an author who just sold a western or build a cake in the shape of the Temple of the Sun to celebrate the sale of a book about the Mayans (both of these things happened at AH meetings). But where you shouldn’t get creative is in how you handle reviewing material. Print out your book. Hand a copy to everyone. Give them a month to read through it, read through it again, and mark it up. Then get together and go through it, page by bloody red-pen saturated page.
Be prepared to spend long hours. Don’t read aloud from your work. Don’t ask people to provide spontaneous reviews of works you’ve shoved in their hands minutes before. Don’t dump 100k words in their laps a couple of days before the meeting and pout because no one has made it through. Suck it up, do it right, give it time.
Mark tells all about his writing career and the development of The Naturalist.
By then, I had achieved a simmering low boil of frustration leading to burnout. A career that had looked promising one moment, had become an endless, thankless grind for pay so low that I could have topped it doing night shifts at Burger Doodle. I put down my metaphorical pen, brushed off a moth-eaten jacket, and went back to beg for an office job.
It took me a long time to get my “Once upon a time” back…
Yes, we really did have “Tommy Cash, Another Great Country & Western Musical Tradition” show up to a meeting, to sing the classic “Antriders in the Sky.” Seriously.
Here’s the proof.