Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why This Blog Exists

If success in selling is my primary interest, I am not primarily a writer, but a salesperson. If I teach success in selling as the writer's primary objective, I am not teaching writing; I'm teaching, or pretending to teach, the production and marketing of a commodity. (253)

- Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wave in the Mind (Shambhala 2004)

Writing with money in mind -- crass? If your gift is the ability to write well, practicing your talent as a trade is the highest form of fairness. It's fair to you, the artisan, to be supported for doing what you're best suited to do. It's fair to everybody else, because your work is done with integrity and done well. This concept has been around since Socrates.

Greenkeys treats money-for-writing as a natural consequence of doing good work. Good means three things: 1) you write what feels, deep down, to be true, 2) you allow your words to have a life of their own, and 3) you revise with your readers in mind. If you disagree, there are 999,999 other monkeys on the Internet, blogging, and one of them is saying what is helpful to you. On this blog, money is not a bright plastic trophy you win when you finish a piece. It is not payment for a commodity. It is a wage earned for practicing a craft.

And what a fussy craft it is. Every weekday and on some weekends, I am a freelance editor who works with all kinds of writers. The rest of the time, I am the writer, experiencing the same hopes and vulnerabilities. This blog carries the glad news that when we fuss with the writing enough, doing our good work, the stories we tell are salable. As both editor and writer, my faith is reinforced over and over again.

What you won't find here is much submission advice, even less marketing advice, and reference to publishing trends, hardly ever. A sisterhood of blogging literary agents is already covering that ground frequently and well.

You will find tips, advice and thoughts on how to achieve good writing, because good writing is what publishers buy. They also buy profit-motivated books whose subject matter ranges from the innocuous to the repugnant -- but that's irrelevant. Really. This blog is about doing good work. It can't turn you into a celebrity. The only thing it offers is advice on using what you have at this moment. And that's all you need.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Crab Orchard Review story now available

My story "Hamsa" was published this month in Crab Orchard Review's Defining Family issue, Vol. 11, No. 2. To order a copy, mail $10 to:

Department of English
Faner Hall 2380 - Mail Code 4503
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
1000 Faner Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901

...with a request for the Defining Family issue. The journal isn't available in stores because, according to their FAQ page, The savings CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW experiences by not using a national distributor to place the magazine in bookstores allows us to continue to increase the amount we pay writers and keep our subscription price low... We would rather give free subscriptions to public and community college libraries across Illinois, send those issues to bookfairs across the country, and to find other worthwhile projects to distribute CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW to readers and underserved communities across the nation.