I was thinking about a blog post by Laura Stanfill, called “Publicity Payoffs: Emily January.”
But now they’re publishing their first work of fiction, A Simplified Map of the Real World, by Stevan Allred. In the blog post, she writes, “I’ve been working on this one book for nine months…” and today I realized what her experience, working for months and months and then finally seeing it all start to pay off, reminded me of.
My first (serious, non-high-school) band rehearsed for over six months before we had a gig, before pretty much anybody heard us except for us. From Valentine’s Day to Labor Day (almost exactly), and when we had that first gig we learned two very important things.
One was, “Hey, this is actually for real!” As Laura can tell you (part of her promotional process includes a lot of public events), nothing is more suddenly real than being on a stage in front of an audience.
The other thing we learned was that all that rehearsing and writing and rewriting and arranging and rearranging all paid off. That’s a really great feeling.
My second band was basically pulled together on the fly (with gigs already booked) and we did four gigs in a row with different lineups, each of which had been together for ten days or less.
That can be great, too, being that close to the edge and making it work, minute by minute — like the difference between carefully rehearsed comedy skits and improv. The latter is closer to what I’m doing these days, where I’m basically writing and posting and writing and posting (and which I think is going really well — though this didn’t end up being the story where I broke all the rules for how a story should begin, all in one story).
Anyway, preparation can get frustrating, but it does pay off, sometimes in surprising ways.
I just emailed Laura to tell her I was writing this, and she wrote right back: “I ran to Powell’s tonight to look at the marquee–Stevan’s there! I stood under his giant name and I felt like okay, this is what I’ve done for him. This. Right here. I made it happen, Jeremy at Powell’s made it happen, the person with the letters and the pole made it happen.”