Monday, October 22, 2012

As a Writer, Sometimes - You Just Need to Walk Your Duck...

I don't remember where I saw this photo.  I just remember that the minute I did, I 'got' it.  Total understanding immediately.  Sometimes, you just have to walk your duck.

Okay, to me that makes sense, but maybe not to you...yet.  Let me explain.  In the 'old days' of being a published author - you could only walk your dog.  Publishers wanted things a certain way.  They wanted authors to be mainstream...follow trends, but not too much.  Don't think outside the box.  I have to give my first publisher some credit, in that they were okay with me walking a goat, or maybe on rare occaisions - a cat.  But still - no duck.

But the stuff I write is kind of weird.  My series of humor/assassin books were just this side of outside the box.  When I pitched the other stuff I wanted to write:  Absurdist sci-fi humor, British nerdist romance, funny Ben Franklin time travel...well, they didn't like it. 

It was like they were saying, 'Don't walk the duck.  Why can't you just walk a dog like everyone else?'  But I wanted to walk the duck.

I also wanted to remain published, so I put aside the weird stuff I wanted to write and tried several other ideas on them.  They all foundered because my heart wasn't in them.  Meanwhile, really cool, edgy stuff like 'Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter' and 'Pride & Predjudice & Zombies' were topping the charts. 

It took 'firing' my publisher and the indie revolution for me to finally break out the leash and the duck.  But even though writing that stuff makes me very very happy now, I'm still a little sad that it took me so long to do this.  I felt like I should have fought harder...experimented with indie publishers...something. 

Fortunately, the duck doesn't mind that this walk is overdue.  He just slides his head through the leash, and off we go.

Did you have a duck you wanted to walk?

Leslie Langtry - Duck Walker


  1. Great post! Isn't it great that you now have the freedom to write the stories in your heart!? Walk that duck and be happy!

  2. I love your ducks, Leslie. Those indie publishers don't know the golden goose they've let go... (Okay, so I mixed my metaphors...sue me.)

  3. Leslie, you know how much I love it when you walk the duck. You've got to publish that stuff. It's awesome!

  4. Thanks Hellie and Janene! You know what - I think it might be a goose in this photo. I'm not sure. I wonder what my town's ordinances are for owning a duck within city limits? Hmmm...

  5. I love this post. The changes in the publishing industry are unsettling, to say the least. However, those changes have kicked the door wide open for all of those rule-breaking, genre-bending books that have been circulating in authors' heads or gathering dust under in their trunks.

    It's fantastic that such books are now seeing the light of day and that readers are buying them.

  6. I can totally see you walking a duck. A duck wearing a top hat and carrying knitting needles. For protection.

    I'm a straight up dog walker, but I'm still excited about the expanding boundaries for writers. At this point, there are no boundaries at all. About dang time!

  7. This post speaks to my self-imposed dog walking. I get a great idea (a duck...or perhaps a liger) and then the dog-walker in my head says "That can't work". Thank you for the reminder that I can, in fact, walk my liger.

  8. Thanks Reese! And Terri - I'm now googling, 'where to buy tophat for ducks.'

    Jen - you walk that liger! Awesome!

  9. Awesome, Leslie. I have 2 ducks I really want to walk out in the world. That's a great metaphor to work with. And good for you for doing it, even if a little know some people never do it at all!

  10. Walk your ducks, Samantha! Free the ducks!

  11. What a coincidence...I was contemplating buying leashes for my ducks today! I'm not totally outside yet, but the more we stay inside, the more the walls close in on me and the louder the ducks quack.