Tuesday, November 09, 2010
The Curses of a Writer
If you write nonfiction, having expertise in the subject matter often substitutes partially for not having that almighty writing education. If you write fiction, you simply have to prove yourself with remarkable prose. Either way, though, you need a following. To be a published writer, you have to be a recognized writer. For many, becoming known is a curse that gets in the way.
You've heard the Chinese proverb, "May you live in interesting times." It's supposed to be the first of three curses. The second is: "May you come to the attention of those in authority (usually referring to the government)." The third is: "May you find what you are looking for."
So many writers are afraid of standing up and being writers. They talk about becoming one; they attend book festivals and other events; and they even speak of how to publish and market -- all before they've written the book. Being a published author still carries an air of respect. We crave it. We taste it. We dream about it.
You live in interesting times dominated by the Internet. You want people to know you. You want to find that satisfaction you are looking for as an author/writer. Many are afraid of their duties outside the actual writing effort, so they talk about writing instead of tackling the curses.
Here's how you overcome the writer's curses:
1. Live in interesting times. Embrace change. My gosh, do you know how lucky you are to have the opportunities afforded you in the form of Facebook, blogs, websites, newsletters, Twitter and LinkedIn? They are practically free once you have an Internet connection. Yet people whine about having to learn them. Hey - you embrace interesting to become interesting. Otherwise, you stay in the shadows. Create a blog, set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, all with matching, catchy titles. Splash yourself on the Web.
2. Let people know you. Dare to be daring. Be bold. Be creative and spread your name and talent. Most of all, SHOW it - don't TELL it. Sites and blogs abound about becoming a writer. Those types of comments are wearing thin. What is your voice? What is your personality? And why aren't you tossing it out to the world to demonstrate you are worth paying attention to?
3. May you find what you are looking for. What are you looking for? Don't say be published. Don't say write something memorable. Don't say earn a living. Establish projects, give them deadlines, do your homework for them and take off. Manage your schedule. Groom your personal development. Submit like a crazy person. Become a business and take your writing seriously. As I always say, if you expect to make a dollar from your writing, expect to become a business person. Published author means becoming CEO of your stories.
Yes, those Chineses phrases are both curses and blessings. The harder you work at them, the more blessed you become.