In response to Drew Chial’s article, I give you my two cents. This is just a little rambling of what it means to me to be a writer.
You’re a writer, so you need to have an established presence online. So you’ve reached out to others like yourself. You blog, you socialize, you set goals and have ambitions.
You wonder, just how hard am I supposed to push this PR thing? Will I ever actually have time to write my novel? Bingo. You just hit the nail on the head.
Here’s a thought… Be a person.
There are people in the world just like you, who want the same things you want. Reach out to them, surround yourself with those like minded individuals because they will help you to become who you want to be. Just spending time with them, whether it’s online or in person, will boost your happy level tremendously. One thing that I’ve learned about the writer community, there are a great many of us who want you to succeed just as much as we want to succeed. When you have a novel that needs reading, you may find yourself with friends who are happy and excited to read your book. They may even like it! You have to write it first, though. In the meantime, enjoy the company of folks like yourself. We’re all in the same boat, welcome aboard!
Write what you want to write, for no other reason than because it’s what you want to write.
Wrote yourself a handy little list? Awesome! Got a poem stuck in your head like a song on the radio? Write it down! You know what really burns my ass? A flame about three feet tall. You don’t think that’s funny? Tough, I do. I write stuff I like. It may not get many “hits”, but you can bet if I wrote it, I found it useful/touching/funny/etc. I don’t write to a specific audience, I write what I can. I write with the hope that people who will like my work, find it.
Share what you write because you’re proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small.
This time last year, I was thinking, maybe I could be a writer. Now, I am a writer, albeit an amateur. IAMA noob. That’s okay. I’ve made progress. I’m proud of that progress. We are all on a journey to becoming who we want to be. I happen to be enjoying who am today as well. Most of what I write is crap, but it has to be written. I have to pull out all the furniture to get to the carpet beneath. I’m gonna put all that shit right here, in this other room, for now. I’ll fix, dust and polish later. Right now, I need to get to the hardwood floors beneath it all. My novel is down there.
I’m ripping up the carpet. It’s coming up in pieces, chunks, in strips; poems, articles, flash fiction and even a few short stories at a time. That’s okay, I need those. All of them. They have a place. They are my sacrifice to the internet Gods. They have served their purpose. I liked each and every one of them. But they are not my children or my future. They are décor, now dated.
It’s hard work, getting to that novel, to the big Works in Progress. Sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it. Sometimes, I just want to take a damn break. Sometimes, I need a little incentive to motivate me. I like writing challenges. They keep me writing, even when I’m not writing what I should be. At the end of the day, I’m okay as long as I’m writing something.
I especially love writing things in a way they aren’t necessarily expected to be done. Try writing an entire story without using the definite article the. Try writing a story in sixty seconds with a single word prompt. The word is Senator. Go. Try writing a story in six minutes using a random prompt. Exhilarating, isn’t it? Don’t even get me started on my spreadsheets. Dear God, how I LOVE a good spreadsheet. It’s not for everybody, but it floats my boat.
In the end, I keep coming back to my novel. I’m not worried about who’s going to read it. That’s still years down the road, if I’m lucky. What I want now is to write it. I have planted a seed, the sprout has broken the surface of the soil. I know that it needs water and sunlight and fresh air every day to survive. It needs nurturing and time to thrive.
I want my novel, my love, my future, to be spectacular. That is going to take reading, writing, learning every day as well as editing and revisions galore over an unspecified period of time. In the meantime, I’m going to surround myself with writers, readers and all the wonderful, imaginative, intelligent people I can find. Those that I have found so far have made my life so full, I can’t imagine this journey without them. They are my coffee breaks, my bits of chocolate. My Twitter and Facebook chats are my treats for writing. They are my teachers, confidantes and, sometimes, even my muse.
The point? Yes, well, I’m sure I was making a point. Ah yes, the point is, write for you. You are a writer, as much as you are a man or woman. It’s a part of who you are. It’s a part of the person you are. Write, promote, socialize, but don’t limit yourself to an occupation. You are not an occupation. Writers are people, too. Enjoy the journey. Write on!