I wish I could ingest Carolyn See’s book Making a Literary Life and have it swirl around inside me keeping me as inspired and excited about writing as I was in my first moments reading her marvelous words and advice. Ms. See has a success formula that she insists will get you the literary life you’re seeking. I believe her!
I’ll share just one of her many brilliant, practical and do-able suggestions that she insists you must execute 5 days of week for the rest of your life: send a charming note to someone in the literary world. It can be an author, an editor, an agent or a publisher. It doesn’t need to be long. Just complimentary, charming and not requesting anything in return.
Her point is for you to create a network for yourself in the sphere you are entering. Instead of sending your precious writing off into the universe blindly, you begin to put out threads in what will become a growing web of connection. Find authors you admire and write to them. Look up their agents and thank them. Write to critics and praise their columns. Get your name out there as someone who is interested and interesting.
Of course, before I could start sending out these charming notes, I had to find the perfect memorable stationery, which I did on easy.com, and then wait for it to arrive. I’ll mail my third charming note tomorrow, not the 5 weekly she insists on. I’m willing to take a little longer to establish my literary life. But I love the process and could not recommend her book more highly.
To demonstrate her own success, there is a blurb on the cover of Making a Literary Life by one of my all-time favorite writers, Anne Lamott. When a colleague of mine had sought Lamott’s words for her own memoir, she was turned away hearing that “Anne has declared a blurbatorium.”
If only my friend had been writing those charming notes like Carolyn See did.