A Word with Anthony Bonds
A big howdy to all the inklings out there! One thing you should know about me is that I’m from Texas, and am apt to throw in a little flavor into my language here and there—I apologize in advance.
I was honored to be asked to write blog posts for the Writers Ink, but I wasn’t quite sure at first what I’d blog about. I could jabber on for hours about publishing and writing, since those are the things dearest to my heart. But first, let’s get acquainted, shall we?
In 2010, me and several writers and poets from across the country formed a publishing company called Calypso Editions. We’re a publishing cooperative, and we publish works in translations in addition to the occasional book by an emerging writer.
I published my first book The Moonflower King, in February of 2012. Prior to publishing the book, I worked as an editor at Rainbow Publishers, a children’s book publisher based here in San Diego. As much as I loved the work of being an editor, and being so involved in the publishing world, I stepped away from that particular job so I focus on writing, promoting my book, and building up Calypso.
To put it another way, I took a leap of faith in order to further plunge down the rabbit hole that is literary pursuit.
In the coming months, I plan to discuss topics from craft, to publishing (including self-publishing), to often uncomfortable business of promoting one’s own work.
Hopefully, by sharing my experiences, hardships and successes, you will be able to glean a few grains of practical advice that will come in handy as you continue on your own writing odyssey.
In the interest of brevity, I’ll cease my waxing poetic about myself and offer a bit of practical advice —a tidbit that is probably the single best piece of advice I’ve received.
That advice is this: write every day. Raymond Carver put it best, I think, when he said in an interview: “Isak Dinesen said that she wrote a little every day, without hope and without despair. I like that.”
To write without hope is not to say you shouldn’t hope to succeed. Rather, to write without hope, to me, basically means not judging yourself too harshly while being being generative in your writing. Don’t sit down expecting to write Shakespeare, because you’ll be disappointed. Allow yourself to write for the trash can. To put it another way, leave the editor’s hat on the hatrack when you’re cranking out that first draft.
And then there’s that second part: “…and without despair.” I take this to mean that we as writers should always remember that the work we are producing is important, even if it’s a simple writing exercise. Michelangelo said, “Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.” What we write may not be perfect, but the simple act of writing—building upon one small success after the other—makes us better writers.
Stay tuned for more from the literary battlefront. And in the meantime, keep on writing!
Anthony Bonds is the author of The Moonflower King, and is a member of Calypso Editions. Having earned his MFA in fiction from San Diego State University, he has worked as an editor and designer in publishing since 2008 and lives in San Diego with his wife. You can read his blog at www.anthonybonds.com.
He is also included in A Year in Ink, Vol. 5 and recently chosen to be the prose editor for the upcoming A Year In Ink, Vol. 6.