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Anvil

Sat, 30 Apr 2005

This site is dedicated to the conceit that you are willing to read something I have written. Not too much of a conceit is it, considering that you are right now umm.... never mind.

What you need to know about me - Shiloh Canaday is obviously a pseudonym, taken from a map and an old list of Quaker names. Why not use my real name? Well right now I have a business and family to protect, and just because I have some wild hair up my whatsis about writing professionally doesn't mean I need subject them to the criticisms and fallout of my meager attempts. Should I decide to publish under my real name someday, you will be able to tell the world that you read me way back when.

While I am not unfamiliar with the writing craft, my work has nothing to do with books or publishing or writing. I have no connections, professional, social or otherwise, with publishers, authors, critics, or any of that circle. (Which should be obvious - if I did would I agree to this cacamamie scheme? No I would not. I would shmooze somebody to pay me an advance.) The only writing class I have ever taken was technical writing, of which I have done a fair amount. Other than that I am just like that jamoke next to you at the Barnes & Noble discount table, I read too much and I live too little.

So why on earth did I think I might want to be a writer. There are several indicators. First of all, I am a voracious reader. I once figured out that my recreational reading amounted to some 40 to 50 books a year. Good writing, bad writing, magazines, Cheerios boxes, whatever. Secondly, the several times my work required me to do more than a little writing, technical papers, project reports, text materials and what not, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Dear God I loved it. Time just zoomed by, and I realized that to write day after day is a great way to spend day after day. Oh to have nothing else to have to do! Thirdly I noticed that a lot of what writing is out there making money for authors is pretty mediocre - in my conceit I said, "I can do this," to which I replied, "so why aren't I?"

Another indicator is that I already abuse coffee.

I do not deny that I would benefit from some classes in creative writing, or perhaps even a degree in literature or something, but right now I think I would benefit more from having to write every month. Just cowboy up and do it. In fact, not being formally trained is an excuse I have often used for not writing. If I want to be writer, I gotta write. What ever else I need to do, I believe, will become evident as I go along.

The details of our Iron Writers wager are secret, and do involve more money than I can casually ignore. It is a bit like the story of the old man and his grandson, in the two seat out house. The old man had finished his business and was standing up when his pocket emptied into the hole, dropping twelve cents into the filth. He reached into his wallet and pulled out a twenty dollar bill, and dropped it down as well. He explained to his grandson that it wasn't worth it to go down there to retrieve only twelve cents.

Actually it's a lot like that. The idea is to create a mechanism whereby spending part of our limited discretional time writing becomes not so foolish an idea. At first, the idea of needing crazy mechanisms like this to get going may seem to contradict the idea that we aspire to write for a living. I can't speak for the others on this site, but for me a paycheck with which to make a mortgage payment would be a great motivator. Until I can cajole someone into paying me to write, I have to make my living elsewhere. And with what time remains I have to have a life. Well not really, but I do have things that need to be done. With this wager I have something to lose and something to win, and spending some time each morning writing has risen in priority over sleep I am missing and what ever else. (The dogs will just have to cross their legs and wait.)

So yea, hang in there. The content will change monthly. If you find something you like let me know.

Posted Apr 30, 2005 at 06:19 UTC, 737 words,  [/shilohPermalink

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