Dreaming of Becoming an Author? You're Not Alone.
It took us a while to get here.
David and I started Collective Inkwell nearly a year ago, though without a clear direction or defined sense of purpose. Like two thrill-seekers without a map, yet thirsty for adventure, we set out with our packs, eager for the open road and curious to see where the new domain would take us.
We wanted to write, that much we knew even without a compass. Did I mention we forgot the compass? Well we did, and we were short on supplies as well. But that didn’t matter. We had dreams.
My favorite feature of the earliest Inkwell, and the only deeply rooted part of our plan, was the serialized story we ran with a fresh installment every Friday. Available Darkness wasn’t just a genre bending thriller which finished off each week with a surprising cliffhanger, it was an opportunity to write fiction with the best creative partner I’ve ever had, while taking a break from the SEO, web copy and general administration which occupied the majority of my hours.
Throughout the Inkwell’s life, Available Darkness has always been the constant.
It was mid-summer when we first realized the fundamental flaw with the Inkwell. What was it that truly made it special? We had Available Darkness, sure, but that story could and would be resting on its own domain. We had our personalities, but our main fan base, some of who had followed us from our primary sites, could get that by following Blogger Dad, Writer Dad or both. We offered writing advice and general thoughts on creativity, but so did a million other sites on the web, and many of them much better than us. I have a tendency to focus on theory or lingering thought, rather than the tangible lists with actionable items most people are looking for. Dave tends to be shy about discussing the many things which make him truly exceptional.
Besides, even at our best, we were discussing writing and creativity without a context. That’s like tossing our coats into the corner of the room, expecting them to hang in mid-air without a hook.
Yet the glue was strong, even when adhering to something uncertain. We continued to pour heart and soul into Available Darkness while allowing the rest of the site to run on auto-pilot while we searched for its true purpose. We continued to write every day, forever engaged in endless discussion, stoking our dreams and abundance of ideas.
Once Ghostwriter Dad started to do well, David and I had the opportunity to start the migration away from web copy and closer to our dreams by helping budding authors fine tune their books before sending them to publishers or off to print. At the same time, I finished off the manuscript for the children’s book I’d been working on, “Penny to a Million”
Dave designed the book cover, of course, along with the interior art. We worked on the page layout together, bought our ISBN numbers and registered the work with the Library of Congress. We then set a release date and sent the file to the printer.
Though this process was no different than what we would do for a client, doing it for ourselves left a 1.21 jiggawatt lightbulb lingering over our heads.
We finally knew what we wanted to do with our online lives and had the perfect direction for our Collective Inkwell. Everything we had shared with one another over the last year could help others. All we had to do was sit down and start to articulate.
Moving a book from the inner corridors of the mind to the rolling paper of a printing press is the most vehement dream of many an author. Yet the process is difficult, peppered with trial and error and an awful lot of loneliness. Had Dave and I not found the perfect silent partner in each other, we would likely still be resting heads on restless pillows, wondering if our dreams were really worth chasing. Instead, we have built a quickly growing independent publishing house together. We have a full roster of titles going to print for 2010, in addition to the many authors whose dreams we are helping to fulfill.
It may have taken the Inkwell a year to find itself, but it was for the best. Had David and I not spent the last year taking the time needed to discover what it means to have a perfect partner, we would not be nearly as equipped to be the silent partners standing quietly behind our clients.
We hope to share all we know with you.