Not too long ago, I was stopped at a red light that seemed like it was neeeevvverrr going to change. Seriously, I think I listened to three full songs. After a few minutes, I noticed that the vehicles that were on the road I was trying to cross weren't going either. No one was going straight, no one was turning right, no one was turning left. NO ONE was going anywhere. I leaned forward a little bit, and sure enough I saw that the others had a red light too. EVERYBODY had a red light; EVERYBODY was stopped.
Well, um, that was frustrating to say the least.
Then something occurred to me. Yes, the fact that all the lights were red was annoying, but it wasn't exactly dangerous. Now, if all the lights were green -- that would have been chaotic! That could cause a whole new level of "delays". That could have killed someone.
I'm thinking this is a good metaphor for my writing career (and other things, too, for that matter). I'm not going to curse the lights for all being red (well, okay, okay, I might cuss a little bit!). Instead I'm going to enjoy the music and be grateful things aren't as bad as they certainly could be.
When it's time to safely move forward, I will. And when it's your turn, so will you ;)
Side note: I just realized that Gavin and I have been playing the game Red Light/Green Light a lot lately. Suffice it to say that the dude gets just as much pleasure from the abrupt stopping as he does the running toward the finish line like a maniac. Ah, the things we can learn from a three-year-old.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Aspiring writers (as well as established ones) are encouraged to have a "strong online presence". All of the reasons for doing so are valid. So why is it that every time I get that particular suggestion, whether from an article or a hopeful friend or a helpful acquaintance, I feel the exact same way -- drastically unmotivated?
Oh, wait! I know why. Because I'm an aspiring writer. (Side note: I mean that as in aspiring to have a career in the writing world. I believe in the concept that I'm a writer simply because I write; I don't have to aspire to a be a writer.) It's difficult for me to spend time trying to recruit followers when I don't have an actual product to offer these people. I've completed two novels, but neither of them is published yet. So wouldn't that make me akin to an insurance salesman with no company? A teacher with no degree? A doctor with no office or hospital association?
WHY would anyone want to support my talent if they have no evidence that I actually have talent? Sure, my family and friends are all about it. But how do I get the attention of a much larger group of people who are all strangers? Let's be real. Everybody and his or her cousin's ex-girlfriend is "writing a book". When I mention that I've written two books and am working on a third, I mean multiple drafts with lots and lots of editing and relying on the help of others to proofread it. I mean researching and polishing. I mean waking up at one a.m. because a great idea pops in my head, and setting the alarm to wake me up at four a.m. so that I can write a few hours before going to my day job at seven a.m. But how is someone supposed to know this and believe in me just because I say, "Hey, I'm a writer. Not a published one, but please follow me on Blogger/Facebook/Goodreads anyway!"
To be honest, it makes me feel silly. Worse, it makes me feel like a fake. Like I'm in denial or something. The ugliest, weakest version of me whispers things like, "Having a website doesn't make you a real writer. You think you're something special because somebody commented on your witty little post? Ha! You're just tricking them. You're not published."
Generally, I punch that bitch in the face and get rid of her. Still, those remarks echo in my head. So what happens next? I start to ignore my blog altogether - for months actually <insert sheepish grin>. I refuse to write anything on my newest novel, and I stop submitting to agents about my completed manuscript. Like I said earlier, drastically unmotivated.
Well, this is me admitting it in hopes of overcoming it. I've started a Twitter account (with 15 whole followers so far, yay me!), I've started "putting people in my circles" on Google+, and here I am writing a post for my blog. Fingers crossed that I'll continue to do this every Tuesday. I also have every intention of reading the blogs of other talented unrecognized writers like I used to do (reap, sow).
This is me aspiring a little bit harder. Wish me luck! (And for crying out loud, follow me!! HA.)