Lots of things freak me out. The numbers on the scale. My bank account balance. The mileage on my car. The lack of tread on my tires. But word count isn’t one of them. I’ve got my plan for 2014, not an overly-ambitious plan, just a plan.
I wish I were more jazzed about cracking word counts, but the tsunami of digital publishing has left me underwhelmed, and perhaps feeling more practical about the coming year. My goal is to simply put out great, well-crafted, superbly edited books. The process will take as long as the process takes. But there is one quantifiable goal for 2014 that freaks me out more than the little box on my credit card statement that reads Amount Due. It’s public speaking.
And it has everything to do with being a writer in this day and age.
Unfortunately, my palms sweat just thinking about it. The last time I addressed an audience was seven years ago. Even at my best I was a so-so public speaker. I got my information across, but knock-their-socks-off I did not. Yet this year I know I must step up my game and continue to build readership. Teaching a class is one way to do that, and now with several books under my belt, I feel it’s time to get out there. Again.
As I’ve begun to prepare two classes, one for fiction and one for nonfiction, things are very different. With the vast sea changes battering publishing, I’m anxious, but more confident. None of us are standing on solid ground. It’s almost relaxing knowing that we are all swimming in uncharted waters together and sharing any information or direction we may have. That’s a much better way to look at relaying my thoughts than the old podium route. Not to mention, I have a lot more to say today (and I’ve learned to tread water and speak at the same time).
So this is my goal for 2014: Finish my class outlines, propose them and book a gig (and like Asa, if I don’t make this goal I will be buying a round of drinks for the Janes).
Jamie Brazil is the author of Oni the Lonely (January 2014) and other novels.
Mari Kato, 16, wants what everyone else her age wants: a driver’s license. Too bad a family curse, passed on by her Japanese-born Buddhist dad, who claims to be thousands of years old, transforms Mari into a flesh-eating Oni demon when she feels frustrated (like every time she gets behind the wheel). But when her geologist mom moves their vegan-lifestyle-obsessed family to Rock Creek, Mari stumbles upon the gates of Hell and a mining company plundering its depths. Add in an evil cheerleader determined to steal Mari’s first boyfriend and plunge the Earth into eternal darkness. Suddenly getting the keys to the car isn’t as important as saving the world. Totally dealable… if she can find the courage to reveal her demon self.