Yale Writers' Conference: Day 4

So many good quotes and pieces of advice at the conference which I will not share with you because you are not here and did not pay for it. I keep asking all of these successful writers the basic question of how they do it. How do they have lives and get the writing done? The editor from Ploughshares, this lovely woman with square black glasses, a gentle, teacherly voice and a sensible bob, said that she gives herself an hour a day. Every day, whenever that might be. And sometimes, longer on the weekends. Why don't I use do this? Here is my goal. I have to write a book by next year's conference. That's 50,000 words or about 220 pages. If I could do math, I would figure out right at this moment how many words that is per day, plus revision.

This guy is here to talk about how he broke out of his drug addiction and construction job by writing about being shipwrecked for Amazon's Kindle. He wears a black Dead Volts t-shirt with a skull surrounded by angels wings, has two sleeves of tattoos (hopefully not cartoon characters, hopefully nautically-themed like his story), a scruffy face with sideburns and matching scruffy voice (read: smoker?). I wonder if he will write about coming out of addiction and I hope he will stay sober (I automatically flash forward to him being invited out to dinner tonight and being pressured to have a glass of chardonnay and taking it and then spiraling down into addiction and never publishing again. All because of the Yale Writer's Conference). His name is Mishka Shubaly. You should look him up and buy his work (so that he's indebted to me and introduces me to his publisher and I make $27,000 for a long piece and can buy my mom a house like he did).

His sensible advice, "If you don't send any of your work in to Amazon, you most certainly will not be published by Amazon. If you do send your work in, your chances are dramatically increased." He got $9,000 for his first Kindle story and three times that for the next piece (I can do that math). Just imagine. And not all of it has to be genre work. And his Kindle publication has led to a print publication. He's good. He's funny and gives real direction and emphasizes the importance of reading stuff that you don't gravitate towards, just to discover some new things and so that you're committing to a particular project (like, I'm going to go ahead and read the modern library's top 100 list. I am going to do this, even though it contains Ulysses). I am in love with this guy, maybe because he said he got sober without AA or treatment. And also because he looks like the rock star version of Don Draper. And because he recommends taking pictures of cats.

Just FYI, there are some look a-likes here. There's a guy sitting in front of me who looks like an older Bill Murray, a guy who looks like the cranky guy from a cartoon strip, and, like, two David Cross doubles.