How To Eat Fried Words

So, one thing I have learned in life is that I am destined to eat my words. I have made claims since I was young that I wouldn’t do any of the following:

Live in the South

Get married

Become a salesman

Go to church

Have a cell phone

Have email

Eat any animal product ever again

And a few more…

I have systematically been forced to eat each and every one of those words above.

I currently live in Asheville, NC and love it. It’s a lot like where I grew up (Eugene, OR), but with southern hospitality. And, by the way, there’s no more racism or bigotry in the South than any other region of the US. Trust me.

I got married, and am still happily married with two wonderful kids. Glad I ate those words.

When my son was born I had to make a choice: get a real job and make money or keep slinging hummus as a natural foods chef. Money (and responsibility) won easily.

I currently attend a pretty groovy non-denominational church here in Asheville. Any place that regularly plays the Grateful Dead and Rusted Root as part of the service is fine by me.

I, of course, have a cell phone and five email accounts. What can I say? I was living in a basement in the mid-‘90s when I said that stuff. Who knew?

While I am still vegetarian, I am no longer vegan. There really just isn’t a vegan version of great pizza. Sorry cows.

So, what does this have to do with writing? A lot.

Since I started writing seriously I have made many statements and drawn several lines in the sand. Of course, as I have gained experience as a writer and learned more about the business and realities of writing, I have had to eat those words, also. Or probably will eat them in the near future as I face some hard decisions.

That’s great, Jake, you say, but why should we care?

Well, dear reader, if you are an aspiring writer you better care. In this day and age of blogs and websites and Facebook and Twitter, your words are permanent. If you change your mind, you will be challenged. You will be challenged with your own words.

So, Jake, what you are saying is we should waffle and be wishy washy wusses?

Not at all. What I’m saying is choose your words wisely. Be sure you have all the facts, and experience, before you make blanket statements that could hurt your credibility down the road when you realize you were a rookie ass when you made those statements.

Can you give us an example?

Of course! I once said I’d podcast every single bit of my fiction for free forever. That was a stupid thing to say. Why? Because I am now shopping a YA novel to major publishers (well, my agent is doing the shopping, I’m doing the waiting) and it won’t be just up to me whether or not I can release that YA novel as a free podcast. Publishers have different opinions of free. Pretty much 100% of those opinions are against free of any kind. I want the novel to be successful, so if they say I can’t podcast it then I’m not going to fight. You have to pick your battles.

Another example?

Hmmmm, let’s see. Oh, yes. I once said I didn’t think ebooks were a big deal and I wouldn’t release my writing as ebooks. They were just a waste of time. Yep, ate those words. Ate them big time. I now have several ebooks available for sale with many more on the way. It’s amazing how the world changes in just a few months.

What’s changed that makes you write this mea culpa?

The world has changed. It has changed big time.

Last May I was on the self-publishing panel at our local con, FANATICON. I was hoping to get published and didn’t really have a ton of experience to speak of, but shared my knowledge of podcasting my novel and the success that I had with building a fan base. I didn’t mention ebooks once and neither did any of the other panelists. Nor did a single attendee ask about ebook publishing. This year I am on the panel and will be moderating the discussion. I’m guessing there will be a good chunk of time devoted to ebooks.

That’s it?

No. My time has changed. I have a lot less of it. Well, actually, I have a lot more going on now and it is taking up all of my time.

When I first started writing, and podcasting, I only had one project to deal with. As of this moment, I have no less than twelve different projects in the works. And that doesn’t include guest posts, my time on Twitter and Facebook, my time helping other writers, interviews, podcast/writing discussions, etc.

I no longer have the time luxury of spouting off like I know everything. I just don’t have time to know everything!

So, what specific words do you see yourself eating soon?

Well, if I told you that then that would defeat the purpose of this post. I’m not gonna say anything until it happens. Otherwise I’ll spend my time backpedaling instead of writing and publishing. I don’t like to back pedal. Riding a bike makes my bum hurt.

And that’s it, folks. Nothing hugely insightful, just some words on eating words. Maybe this post will help some of you take a step back the next time you’re about to make a major proclamation. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes of talking like I knew what I was talking about when I couldn’t possibly have known what I was talking about since I didn’t have the experience of talking about it for real yet.

That makes sense, right?

Sigh. I’ll probably end up eating these words, too. Oh, well…

Cheers, yall!

Posted on May 19, 2011, in What's Up.... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on How To Eat Fried Words.

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