Monday, July 03, 2006

Several weeks ago I wrote an article/opinion piece about children's publishing, which will never appear in its present form, as I was given to a bout of whinging at the time (but it made me feel better to write it!). Nevertheless, the bells I heard ringing at the CBC conference in May, about the advances of technology and the need for us to consider new ways of presenting content (i.e. our stories), are ringing louder. In the email newsletter I get from Publisher's News weekly in the UK, apparently publishers there have been running briefing sessions for agents on how they (publishers) see the digital future evolving, and how they plan to explore and exploit new technologies in the way they publish books.
As always, where does this leave authors? Regardless of where you stand on issues of copyright, when it comes to the new technologies they are talking about, publishing stuff on your website will become obsolete as a way to attract new "readers". You may need IT help to make your material attractive to the new breed of readers who want all the bells and whistles they will be able to get in the marketplace.
The speaker at the CBC conference advised authors to make sure their publishers were going to be capable of handling the new stuff - the briefings in the UK indicate that some publishers, at least, are not sitting on their hands about it.
No doubt some writers will be able to keep up. I'm keen to learn but the time to put it into practice is the issue. I have enough trouble making sure I contribute to this blog regularly. My website suffers sometimes.
On the other hand, I've been ruminating (makes me sound like a cow, that word does) about capturing ideas. I keep telling students to never let an idea get away, to grab it and write it down, even if it's only one sentence. I have reached that stage in my holiday break where the brain has finally stopped zigzagging its way through work chores and deadlines and settled down in creative mode (at last!). On the weekend I wrote two poems about Hong Kong and two 600 word children's stories. The question of "are they any good?" is irrelevant at this point. I am glowing in the "having written" mode, ready to write more. Feeling ideas bubbling, writing them all down, just in case. Who knows where things might lead?
And at this point, even rewriting seems enjoyable. New ideas for how to rework stories bubble up too, adding to the mix. And all the time, I push away the thought that if I didn't have to work for a living, I might be bubbling like this all the time.
Reality check - I actually think it would be similar. I'd have very productive, creative times, and then down times where I just had to keep slogging away and produce words, no matter what. Same as everyone else. Sigh.

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