Right now it is a very blustery night. Really, a dark and stormy night. It is a very good night for hot chocolate. I’m just going to pour my cup, and we’ll be all set.
Hello there. This is Ryan M Williams and welcome to the zero episode of the members-only podcast. This is our chance to sit down over cup of coffee and catch up on what’s been going on. Or if coffee isn’t your thing, a cup of tea, or hot chocolate, or whatever your beverage of choice is, go ahead and pour a cup and join me. It’s good to have you here. Thank you so much for listening today.
November 3rd will be the official launch of the members-only podcast for all Books for Coffee members. This is an extra podcast so that I have a chance to work out all the kinks of doing the members-only podcast.
Working on this has been interesting. I might as well share how I got into doing this whole thing.
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Dictating my work
I never really thought about telling stories out loud. That is I thought about it, but I didn’t think it would work for me. I’m fond my keyboards, and didn’t see any real reason to change how it is working. Typically I have a small wireless keyboard with me so that I can write wherever I happen to find myself. That might be at the library, while taking a break, sitting outside in the sun (but not at this time of year), or wherever else I might have a few minutes. I can put in my headphones, turn on the music, and write.
Like anyone, time is one of my most valuable resources. And although I don’t believe that multitasking works in most cases, I am able to walk and talk at the same time. Inspired by Kevin J. Anderson I decided to give dictating my stories a chance. I was also lured – or inspired – by the notion that you can talk much faster than you can type. From what I had read it was possible to dictate at a much faster rate than I type. Although I can take a typing test and type easily 60 words a minute, when it comes down to actually writing a story my rate is more in the order of 17-20 WPM. Even a very modest 50 WPM while dictating would increase my production greatly. And if I also managed to do it while taking walks around the neighborhood, well, so much the better. Even taking into account that I would have to correct what the software transcribes, I would still come out well ahead.
So I became the crazy guy that walks around the neighborhood talking to himself, recording with a mini digital recorder. And when I encountered somebody on the trail coming towards me, I would simply hold my phone up as if I was talking to someone else. And in truth that’s not really a lie. Because when I’m telling my stories I’m not really talking to myself, I’m talking to you. You, my friend, the kind spirit that has treated me to this delicious hot chocolate, are the person that I’m telling the stories to.
From dictating to podcasting
Which makes the leap to podcasting pretty obvious. I was already getting used to walking around telling my stories and hearing my recorded voice when I play things back. From there it made sense. Why not start podcasting as another way to reach you? Truth is, I don’t get out a whole lot to socialize. Like a lot of writers I’m fairly solitary most of the time, with the exception of spending time with my wife and my son, the other social interaction that I get is on the day job at the library. And those interactions, although often enjoyable, aren’t really the same thing as sitting down over coffee with friends.
I wanted to provide more value to you. I’m assuming because you’ve agreed to support my work that you enjoy the sorts of novels and stories that I’m writing. And maybe you’re interested in a look behind the scenes of writers life. Maybe you have questions? Or maybe you’re interested in writing and art? Or maybe you just want to hear funny stories? Not that I’ve been particularly funny in this post.
Where do we go from here?
I’ll be learning as we go along. That is how I approach all of my work. I learn, I practice by creating new work, and then I share it. I sum it up with the simple phrase: Create. Share. Repeat. The learning happens through that process. Writers often have this notion that somehow everything about their work must be absolutely perfect before it sees the light of the day. And because writers are the absolute worst judge of their work, the only way that they can determine if something is ready is to have judgment pronounced by the Powers That Be – typically an editor or literary agent.
I think that that forgets the intended audience. Because you are my audience, my supportive readers, who are willing to buy a cup of coffee in exchange for a good story. What’s more valuable to a writer or an artist? Having an editor accept and make an offer on a piece of work? Or having a reader choose that same piece of work? I choose to make my work available to readers. Now and then I will also send my work out to some of the top magazine markets for short fiction, but after the story makes rounds of the markets where I might like it to appear, I’m perfectly willing to share it with the world of readers. I read recently something by a writer that I respect, who is widely published, and who is on this point – I thought – completely wrong. He wrote that writers should only consider publishing work themselves that had already appeared in one of these professional magazines or anthology markets. Even if that process were to take years and years before the right market and the right editor finally graced the story with his or her blessing. Those are years when that story could have been entertaining readers around the world. If your goal is to win awards that advice is probably well-founded, as currently most of the awards in the field won’t look at something that was independently published. But if your goal is to write entertaining stories and get them into the hands of readers as soon as possible, then there is a limited window in which to send it out to professional magazines and anthologies, and then after that I believe you should make it available to readers. There are always going to be many more stories to write, and perhaps some of those stories will appear in those magazines or anthologies.
In any case, I thank you. This is a new world of publishing, and it gives us a chance to connect more directly. You support my work, and in return you have access to all of the stories and novels that I have published. I plan to keep putting up new content as often as I’m able and I hope you’ll come back often and find things that you enjoy. Next week I’ll be back with the first official members-only podcast so I hope you’ll be back then to join me, and in the meantime, please browse the site and find something to read. As always if you have questions, please let me know through the contact form on the website.
Until next week, good reading!