… About Writing
By Jeff Salter
This week’s topic certainly narrows down the traditional list of things I’m truly thankful for (and that IS a long list, indeed). You might think that focusing solely on the aspects of WRITING would make my gratitude list relatively short. But, not so.
Creating with words has been in my blood since my earliest memories. Growing up, our entire household was creative! My Dad was a writer and actor/director in community theater; my Mom was a musician. My siblings and I were involved in the creation and production of little ‘plays’ which we performed for our kin. We even rented an 8mm movie camera and created several little ‘movies’.
My parents always encouraged our creative efforts – whatever the medium – whether our product was a joint venture or completely solo.
As an elementary kid, I had been composing little rhymes and verses … as well as very short, short stories. But I didn’t show any of my creative writing to anyone outside the family until I shared some of my verse with my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Fleming. She took a real interest and gave me a lot of (general) encouragement.
During my junior high years, I continued to write stories and verses … and even some creative essays.
When I transferred from Louisiana to an Iowa school for 10th grade, my short stories were much more mature and complete … and my verse practically exploded. I shared some of those efforts with my English teacher, Miss Rosalie Sherman, who provided specific feedback and very supportive encouragement. She even selected one of my stories to be included in the school’s literary anthology. It was Miss Sherman who nudged me into experimenting with free verse and blank verse … forms which had totally baffled me theretofore.
I later became a photo-journalist and editor — in both civilian and military newspapers. Of course, most of those news, features, sports, photos, and columns were published.
Though they are way too numerous to summarize here, I continued (as a librarian) to write stories, professional articles, book reviews, and poems. Published many of those and won a small stack of writing awards. Also co-authored two monographs with a royalty publisher … plus a signed chapter in a book and a signed article in a specialty encyclopedia.
Romance Writers of America
When I retired from library work and began composing novel manuscripts, I was not only working in a new medium, but pretty much writing in a vacuum (except for a few family members and some indulgent friends). What I needed was contact with other writers.
I found that contact when I joined Romance Writers of America, and later qualified for its PRO Section. Within PRO, I was rubbing shoulders with published authors, aspiring writers, contest judges, RWA office holders, and many others. It was a great experience to network with all those folks.
Before I knew it, I was even being offered guest spots on blogs. Eventually, this led to my invitation, by Jillian Chantal (pseudonym) to join a brand NEW group blog called Four Foxes One Hound, which you’re reading right now.
I think joining RWA’s Chick Lit Writers of the World Chapter was my single most significant step. Through numerous contacts there, I’ve met many more colleagues and several have become good friends.
In ChickLit Chapter, for example, I met Tonya Kappes. Through Tonya, I met Renee Vincent. Through Renee, I met Sarah Ballance. Through Sarah, I learned about Astraea Press and was put into contact with publisher Stephanie Taylor and editor Kay Springsteen. Through Astraea, I was able to realize a long-time dream — publication of my novels!
Also through Astraea, I’ve met most of the 100+ authors under its imprint. Many of these folks have become good friends and some of them already feel like bosom buddies! One of these, Vivian Roycroft, invited me to share her new website, Take Two … on Romance, and now I have a brand new blog which I call Write By Salter.
Yeah … it’s a pretty small world — writers with completed manuscripts who are either publishing or looking for publishers. And lots of these folks know each other. I’m continually amazed to discover that an author I met through THIS association also is a friend of an author I know through some OTHER connection.
Once you’ve gotten a book or two published, the next huge hurdle is promoting it to readers and potential buyers. I’m greatly indebted to friends (old and new) who’ve made that investment in my stories … and especially to those who have “talked it up” to others. Of course, I’m extremely grateful to relatives who’ve supported and promoted my book sales … especially my brother Charles, who is surely my best salesman.
So this has been a long-winded way of explaining how and why I’m thankful for the people who’ve been supportive, encouraging, helpful, generous, and kind … and have thereby made positive impacts on my writing.
If you’re also a writer / author and also possess that drive to manipulate words into creative products … what are YOU thankful for (as it pertains to writing)?