As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.
Below is a message from author Jordan Castillo Price,
I wish I could warn you that school is nothing like you thought it would be. You’re standing there with your shiny new diploma and it seems like you’re embarking on a grand adventure where you land a fabulous, secure job, rub elbows with interesting people and make cool things. Unfortunately, what’s ahead of you is more of a long slog.
I’m not sure if it’s the recession, or your personality, or simply a matter of wrong place, wrong time. You’re not going to find a job you like. Ever. I hope you’re not too crushed upon hearing this—I’d actually like to encourage you to relax, because this day-job thing doesn’t last forever.
Something called the Internet is coming, and that something is really big. Nowadays it’s made of cat pictures and porn. When you first see it, though, it’s mostly text. Photographic images will take forever to load, line by line, and trying to stream a video at those speeds would be ludicrous. Even so, having access to any information you care to find is a massive game-changer.
The Internet only evolves from there. Connections improve. Pretty soon most people start communicating via email, which leads to special interest groups on Yahoo and Google, which then give way to MySpace, LiveJournal, Twitter and Facebook.
So what does this mean for you?
Early on, you’ll stumble into a group of women who write fanfiction. Not only will writing with them teach you the mechanics of writing, but it will train you to be able to write sex scenes without flinching away, and in fact you will learn to infuse meaning in every groan and thrust. Sex and sexuality are an important part of the human experience, and being able to handle gender and sexual identity fluidly, without apology, will put you exactly where you need to be when gay romance becomes the hot new genre. And here you were willing to write it for free.
Have faith, it doesn’t happen overnight. Initially you will send out numerous submissions to mens’ magazines where they either go unacknowledged, are returned unread, or are even occasionally berated. Erotica is probably not the place for you anyway, though I think it’s as good a place as any for you to start making sense of the writer’s market. Keep practicing and develop your voice. One of these days, the gatekeepers will begin publishing you. And a few years later, once you figure out what’s what, you can set up shop for yourself and reach your audience directly, thanks to the Internet. Yes, your audience is out there, people who want to read about bent heroes who, up until now, were only allowed a tragic ending.
So don’t beat yourself up for not learning more useful things in school to set you up in a rewarding traditional career. You’re learning how to interface with other people, to communicate and to present yourself. Besides, the genre you’ll be writing in doesn’t actually exist yet. The method for delivery isn’t yet accessible to the public, and the devices people will read the stories on won’t be around for several years either. Do your best instead to observe your human experience as you navigate the roller coaster ride of your life, friends and enemies, loves and losses. The learning never stops. And every experience has the potential to make your stories that much richer.
Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”
About the Author
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.
With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again. Visit Jordan’s website.