This summer's book publishing groups are shaping up; about 40 faculty members have asked to be teamed up with others working on similar projects. The excitement is infectious, and I can't wait for the first groups to meet next week.
However, a clear pattern is re-emerging, one that I've seen before. The people who want to be put in groups tend in general to already be published. We have some first-time book authors, but most people who are asking for help now have already made some progress in the publishing world.
So where are the beginners? Right where they've always been since I established this office in 2006... hiding in their offices, lingering under the toxic misconception that writing a book is supposed to be solitary work. It doesn't help when those ghastly, finger-wagging "How to write" authors snark about how writing is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration, or that it's all about applying butt to chair. That kind of advice (a) produces guilt; and (b) just isn't true. Most of the well-published authors I know are collaborative, collegial, and willing to take advantage of every opportunity to learn from others. They are the spiritual opposite of the writer stereotype: the scrivener in the garret subsisting on stale cheese.
So if you're working all alone this summer and feeling isolated and pressured, why not come out of hiding and join us? We have cookies. We have inspiration. We have contacts in the academic publishing world. And best of all . . .
**We have each other.**
Art above from Dorothy Frankel sculpture.