Chicago’s annual Printers Row Lit Fest brings together authors and readers, and celebrates all things literary. This year’s event hosted dozens of programs, hundreds of authors, and thousands of books. For a writer (established or aspiring), inspiration pulses throughout the auditoriums, green and white tents, and tables that line the streets. It’s a chance to talk with authors, to share the love of a genre, to swap writing stories.
As an author, one question I am often asked is “How do you get to Printers Row?” (actually, the question is “how do I get published?”, but that doesn’t set up the classic Carnegie Hall joke). Practice, practice, practice (and edit, edit, edit). The first step, of course, is to produce a manuscript, which is no easy task.
Writing a novel is a long, often winding, frequently bumpy, road. You must be willing to commit a great deal of time and effort to a project that may or may not pay out financially in the long run. It is a labor of love that, at times, feels like it will never be completed. Working in such solitary confinement may find you talking to yourself, repeatedly and out loud. Others may question your sanity when you admit that your fictional characters talk to you. You write and write and write, often into the wee hours of the morning. Then, when you finally squeeze that final sentence from your soul, finishing your precious first draft…you face a gauntlet of ruthless edits and rewrites.
Oh, but the satisfaction of completing your novel makes it all worthwhile! That’s why I started teaching the Finish Your Novel Workshop. It’s an opportunity to talk with others who are at various stages of writing a manuscript, to trade feedback and offer encouragement. We look at strategies for completion and options for the next steps. We become inspired to get back to the story and finish what might just be the next great novel.
Guest post by CE Instructor Laura Ehrke. Photos show scenes of Printers Row Lit Fest 2017.
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