Merrily, We're Pulled Along... Until We Take Wing

I love attending writers' conferences, watching the fervor with which we all (including the editors and agents attending) collectively put our ears to the railroad tracks of publishing in a vain attempt to discern what's coming. Often, some Chicken Little or another shouts out, "It's going to be X," whereupon others take up the cry. Pulled along by the prevailing sentiment, many struggle to keep up, following along like so many kites pulled by puffing children.

But every so often, one of us is lifted far beyond the trend, buoyed by some unknown, unknowable inspiration. Losing sight of the fray, this one writes a book so special and so different that it soars high above the others and creates a new trend of its own.

Everybody wants to be that writer, wants to lead the wave instead of following. But the magical ingredient can't be bought or earned by study. It can't be found at writers' conferences or in the recorded wisdom of industry professionals. For all our efforts, inspiration is still as mysterious and unpredictable as it ever has been.

All we can do is keep on writing in the hopes that today, or perhaps tomorrow, it will show up to guide our hands.


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