Festival season in Ohio has begun.
Ohio has the good fortune to be saturated with fairs, festivals, and other events throughout the year, but spring is when things really start rockin'. I participated in my first event, the Jackson City Book Fair, in late March. The Missing Falls Brewery Spring Bazaar was my second.
Missing Falls Brewery is in Akron, near Cleveland in northeastern Ohio. I sampled their brown ale while participating as a vendor at their spring craft fair: it's pretty good. That's one advantage of going to privately held events like this: the opportunity to sample craft brews.
As ususal, I attended with my best friend, @Cindra Phillips, of C. R. Ranch Creative. She's an artist. Around half the paintings we displayed (and offered for sale) at the event were hers.
The weather did not cooperate: chilly, raining, blustery. We found the location without any wrong turns; the drive from my place took about three hours. Upon finding an entrance with a ramp for carting all our stuff, we soon located our assigned table. Set-up took around 30 minutes. All vendors received warnings to "build UP" not "build OUT" their displays. Cindra and I pushed the boundaries by placing our display boxes filled with paintings in front of our table. They didn't stick out too much, we thought.
The event opened at 12:00 p.m. The vendor room was filled; I only noticed one empty vendor table. Vendors filled the rooms and overflowed into the warehouse area. Our table was at the end of the row next to the women's restroom. Any woman needing to use the facilities was forced to walk in front of our table, so that was good exposure.
Attendance was light. Cindra learned that the event was the brewery's second; the first having been held in November 2022. The third will be held in November 2023. The brewery also reserved marketing efforts to social media. That was not unexpected. Vendors were asked to spread the news via their social networks. I didn't know how many actually complied, but I know that I did. I couldn't have said that my marketing efforts were in any way effective, but I hoped that perhaps a few people were intrigued enough to attend an event that they might not have otherwise known about.
Attendance dropped off around 3:00 p.m. and began picking up slightly about 5:00 p.m. During the "dead time," vendors started preying on one another, trying ot sell to each other. It happens at most events during the lulls between busy-ness.
The upshot? I made enough in sales in books and paintings to recoup my hard costs: the vendor registration fee and lunch. Cindra recouped her lunch expense, but not her mileage. (IRS mileage reimbursement would have exceeded $350. I don't ask Cindra about her expense claims, because they're none of my business.) She did trade a painting for a bracelet offered by one of the jewelry vendors, but I'm not sure whether I'd call that a sale.
By the way, the pizza there is pretty darned good. We also appreciated having lunch delivered to our "booth" space.
With few potential customers wandering the aisles, a few vendors closed up shop and departed before 5:00 p.m. We waited until 5:30 p.m. before packing everything up. (The event officially concluded at 6:00 p.m.)
On the drive back, we discussed our impressions and whether we'd sign up for another such event and decided our sample size wasn't large enough to decide against going back. So, we intend to register for the next Missing Falls Spring Bazaar in 2024 in the hope that the event will have gotten more recognition and better traction among the locals.
#henhousepublishing #festivalseason #craftfair #craftbrew
Over the weekend I cracked 70,000 words on the latest work-in-progress which will be the fifth book in my Twin Moons Saga, Champion of the Twin Moons. I anticipate the book to hit approximately 90,000 words.
To coordinate with my marketing team's efforts, that means I've got to finish the draft by May 1. That means writing another 20,000 words of good content in that time. That's not easy. Not only must I produce that much content, but I must also make sure the content makes sense. A rough draft that's nonsensical needs to be rewritten, and I don't have time for that.
Once my marketing team has the rough draft, I'll have a couple of weeks to review it, self-edit, and revise. Then it will go to my editor who will work her magic to help me deliver something worthy of public consumption.
When the editor returns my manuscript dripping with virtual red ink—that always happens—I'll revise the manuscript. I never blindly accept the editor's suggestions. I review each and every recommended change and accept most of them. I'm the author and it's my story. In that same vein, I advise those clients for whom I edit never to blindly accept the changes I suggest in their manuscripts.
Once I revise per the edits, I will submit the manuscript to the editor a second time. The second round of editing focuses mainly on proofreading.
A lot of new authors don't understand the editing process. It's one a once-and-done activity, it's a process. At the very least, editing requires two rounds: a round of substantive editing and a round of proofreading. Most manuscripts need more. They either need a round of developmental editing, then line editing, then copyediting, and finally proofreading. Most indie authors can't afford that "more." That's were editors like me come in: we combine the first three types of editing. It generally saves the author some money and may reduce the editor's passes through the manuscript to what most of my clients opt for:
Here's hint: the indie author can save himself (or herself) a lot of money by making sure the manuscript is as good as he (or she) can get it before it goes to the editor.
So, wish me luck, because I've got a lot of writing to do in the next couple of weeks.
The source of creativity
Every so often, I come across a post asking what to do about writer's block. Writer's block is an inability to write; it does not refer to having written your character into a corner. I don't believe in writer's block. I do, however, understand when someone has a creative hiatus. I've experienced them myself. The only cure that works for me is tincture of time.
How much time? That's anybody's guess. I once took a 10-year hiatus. There were other demands on my time, energy, and focus, and I had nothing to spare for writing.
When I explain the concept, I use the analogy of a well. There's a well within your mind or heart or spirit that contains your creativity. When you write or paint or compose or whatever, you draw from that well. Now just like real life, some people have deep wells that refill quickly and others don't. If you draw from the well faster than it can be replenished, your suffer a scarcity of creative energy.
A well needs time to refill. Therefore, I advise those writers who have emptied their wells of creative energy to set their languishing manuscripts aside and do something else. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Cook a new dish. Listen to music. Read a book. Watch a movie. This is not to say that a single excursion or activity will cure what ails you; it's a suggestion for alternative activity to focus you conscious mind on other things while your subconscious mind takes a much needed rest.
The source of creativity is not the well.
My son likes to remind me that writers have one of the highest percentages of mental illness of any profession. There's a good reason for that.
The source of creativity is pain.
Creativity results from the need to express pain. Humans express pain in beautiful ways: music, art, and literature. Other people express pain in other ways through physical exertion or a multitude of tasks or by shutting down.
I came to this conclusion with the realization that when I'm in a contented or generally happy state, I don't write or paint. I have no urge to expel the emotion filling me, to get it out before it can do any more damage.
I'll bet that those creative people who were acknowledged as "mad" or "disturbed" or "not quite right in the head" were the types who worked best when the well runneth over. They created their masterpieces in an effort to drain the well and ease the pain.
The key to sustainable creativity is to manage the pain, to keep it in balance with other emotions. Too much pain squelches creativity. Too much pain manifests as mental, emotional, and physical illness. The absence of pain removes the impetus to create.
I also think that this explanation of creativity doesn't serve the majority of writers who are "plotters." This explanation better fits the "pantser" category of writer who writes best when inspired.