In last month’s Part 1 of “May This Blog Haunt You Pleasantly,” I stated how important it is for writers to read about other writers. Whether they were trailblazers or path-wideners, each writer has his or her own story. Being as human as we are, those stories paint for us pictures of triumph and tragedy…two things from which we can learn.
As I read Les Standiford’s The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits over the holidays, there were some things that jumped off the page for me, and I thought I’d share them here at Seriously Write.
Last time, we looked at Gleaning #1, which was:
Authors have always wished to get their works in as many readers’ hands as possible, sometimes at the chagrin of their publishers (if they are traditionally published) or themselves (if they are independently published). And if not handled properly, it can become an all-consuming fire.
One little tidbit I didn’t mention at the end of last month’s post was how all-consuming that fire had become for Dickens. By the 1850s, his relationship with his wife Catherine had become so estranged, they divorced after twenty-two years of marriage and ten children. Rumors tossed about suggested Charles had been involved in “an illicit affair” (is there really any other type when married?) with a younger woman. Dickens took such offense that he used the front page of his then current magazine, Household Words, to argue to the contrary. 1
As much as this writing life can become a soul-wrenching conflagration on a personal level, this passion we often champion at writers conferences can worm its way into the writer’s business relationships as well, which leads us our next point of interest:
Gleaning #2: The constant tension between authors and publishers will always be a constant. So, get used to it.
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1 Standiford, Les. The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits. Broadway Books; New York, NY, 2017. pp. 210-211.