Last week my husband and I went to see the Rangers beat the Yankees. Most evenings I write, but it was nice to have a planned night out. We met at my office, where during the day I use words like income statement and cash flow instead of character development and plot twist.
Driving from Addison to Arlington is never pretty, but in rush hour before a big game, it was brutal. The close parking lots were full, so we backtracked to a far lot and rode a shuttle. “One way trip,” said the driver. Which meant I was walking back in the heels I wore to work. Modest height, of course, yet heels nonetheless.
It was a perfect Dallas spring night and my eyes were busy taking it all in, with the occasional glance at the game. I love watching the big screen as the camera pans the crowd, the getups and tattoos I’m thankful never showed up on my son, the mad dash when a guy steals second, and the dreaded onscreen proposal. (She said yes, despite several people yelling, “Turn back!”)
There’s always at least one moment when I’m staring at nothing and my husband will ask, “What chapter are you working on?” proving his theory that if I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.
As is our custom at massively crowded events, we slipped out early to avoid nightmarish traffic. Although it was mild, I dreaded the walk back on already aching feet and was thrilled to find a pedi-cab waiting out front, as though we’d reserved it. A nice kid, probably early twenties, welcomed us aboard and began chatting us up. He works full time at the pedi-cab business in Austin and drives up to Dallas for big events to make extra cash. (For non-Texans, that’s about a three-hour plus ride—each way!)
He turned to me and asked what kind of work I do. (I might have complained about having my work shoes on, it is just possible). I have two answers to this question, depending on who’s asking and where I am. He seemed like a nice guy so I gave him the answer I know to be the truth. “I’m a writer,” I said.
“Really?” he said, ears twitching, and proceeded to tell me he writes short stories and flash fiction.
“Oh, you have the Writers’ League of Texas right there,” I said.
I wondered how he could be a writer in Austin and not know about that wonderful resource, the one that offers courses and programs and conferences and contests. It occurred to me that there are still writers out there who don’t know where to learn about the publishing business. So I mentioned a few resources and of course told him about our blog (are you reading, Andrew?).
My husband tipped him large and added, “My wife wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t support a fellow struggling writer.”
I thought I’d share a few resources here as well, for new readers like Andrew. Feel free to leave a comment and tell us your favorite literary site.
For lists of contests, agents, newsy articles, you name it: Poets & Writers
For craft advice and nifty essays from those who have navigated the publishing world: Writer Unboxed
For a literary blog offering thought-provoking discussions: Beyond the Margins
For tips, insider info, and new agent listings: Writers Digest
For killer query advice - Janet Reid's Query Shark