Building an ark takes work, building a spaceship takes even more.

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My friend Joe is building a small two seater plane. He has some people coming by to look in on him, some even help a bit, but Joe is building this plane himself.
If he were building a jet, he’d need help. If he were building a spaceship or an ark or Disney Hall or a bridge over the River Kwai, he’d need a lot of help.
Writers often get involved in literary publishing, and they aren’t as used to working with others as dancers, theatre people or even artists who are well aware that without an art gallery, you usually won’t get your work out into the world.
When the dead counselor spoke to the newly deceased couple in Beetlejuice she gave them the warning that’s often true of writers. “He does not work well with others,” she said. “Do not call his name three times.” But they did. Beetleduice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.
Writers do their creative work alone unlike dancers, actors or film makers. They are god in their own little room. But, to make a literary organization work, you need to work with others. Staff. Stakeholders. Writers. Board members. Advisors. All these people in the room while you exercise your god like powers and conduct the orchestra. That’s really a must. You need a team. You need a board and you need stakeholders and you have to work with these people.
It’s like having a kid. You can take your kid out of school and away from coaches, teachers, therapists, older kids, anyone else who would talk with him/her and raise your kid in an isolation chamber, but they’d grow up to be a very weird person.
So in my previous blog when I said that you have to be willing to go it alone and sometimes have just one person in your cheering section I was talking about being a writer. If as a writer, you need to have a lot of people on your side all the time, helping you and encouraging you, that actually might not happen.
If you’re running a literary organization, you’re going to need a village. And when members of your village/tribe tell you that they’re sure you’re doing it all wrong, you can’t just assume that you’re right and they’re wrong because they don’t see the world as you see it. Their point of view, though not as impressive as your own, might just be the key to unlocking change.
“You’re wrong,” I told my son once when he was a little boy. “That’s not a space ship we’re looking at.”
“You don’t know that,” he said. “I see a space ship. I see aliens. Just because you don’t see the space ship and aliens doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”
And who’s to say he wasn’t right?
I work in publishing. I’ve seen aliens.

Published in: on September 14, 2013 at 9:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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