Intimidation and the Writer
Have you ever had one of the days when the very thought of putting words on paper, or in this case onto a screen, seems like the most pretentious of personal behaviors?
Today has been one of those days for me. I listened to a discussion yesterday about blogging in general and for writers in particular. The consensus almost seemed to be that it really amounted to being a personal ego trip of the highest order. Let me back up one moment to preface that statement. The entire conversation revolved around the idea of having a blog the writer can use to gain editorial and publishing support in the industry; in other words, a blog to help market the writer to the public and to have a target audience use it as a viewport into the writer’s abilities, talent and worth.
It was mentioned that with few exceptions the writer was actually trying to validate his/her own sense of worth among writing peers, to give the writer a sense of being a contributing member of the industry.
I had to agree with some of the points made during this conversation. We do think that we might be able to say something that is of value to someone else. Otherwise, all we’re doing is writing an open personal diary. And yes, I do realize that this is a journal, but journals come in many shapes and sizes and subject materials.
We can choose to do poetry, prose, political commentary or whatever each day. Or, we can talk about our work in general – that being writing, as I’m doing here. Every subject is up for grabs. The question remains, however, for whom are we marketing ourselves?
If we’re doing this to attract editors, agents, or publishers, we are building a business and this is our business card of the wordier variety.
If we’re talking with our peers about discoveries we’ve made or problems encountered, we’re dispensing information that could be helpful to others.
If this is a personal journal, who would really want to read it on a regular basis unless its steamier than someone else’s life?
I can guarantee that I don’t live a steamy life. I’m lucky to handle watching soap operas. I try to stay away from them. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth, if you know what I mean.
You’re asking now where the intimidation comes in. Well, unless your blog is linked to dozens of other sites, which mine isn’t yet, I can really only generate a readership consisting of writer friends of mine and strangers with lots of extra time on their hands. That doesn’t bother me particularly.
What tends to bother me is a question posed to myself each time I sit down on this site of mine, which has grown in importance since I’ve been away. The question? Why would anyone who didn’t know me stop by to read anything I wrote anyway? It’s not that the question hasn’t been there all along. I simply had faith that those of like mind would find me sooner or later and find something of interest for them when they arrived. I know, I can be naive at times, especially when dealing in a complicated media system I don’t truly understand to begin with.
My original query was soon followed by others. Why would a reader spend time here? I’m not doing anything flashy with this site. I’m not a big name writer. I don’t have a publicist. So why would I draw any readers? And if they came, would they come back and for what?
You can see how one question can multiply until the ultimate final destination; what can I possibly write that anyone would want to read?
There you have it, the intimidation mentioned above. Don’t get me wrong. I love sharing personal insights with my friends. But I’ve been doing the writer comparison thing here lately, too.
You know the one. I read another writer’s blog, which just happens to look better than I feel mine does. This writer has far more profound and interesting things to say than I do. Another has far more insight into the writing industry and lots more credits to spread around. That one over there just got a new book deal and is explaining how it was accomplished.
That’s the insidious intimidation that wound its way into my life. And what did I do about it? Why, I wrote about it on my blog now, didn’t I. After all, I reasoned. I can’t possibly be the only person with these same personal questions or considerations. I can’t be the only one to have come to this crossroads.
You can ask now why I blog at all. And I can tell you in all honesty that I just like to share my thoughts about this business and the things that influence it from my perspective. I was trained in influences. In fact, I have degrees that prove that training. I know, impressive, isn’t it. It’s true, though.
So, I decided this morning that once I’ve finished this, I will do a few pieces on those influences that I see in life and the media as it stands right now. I’m going to encourage this discussion here. It affects all of us in our writing and our personal lives, and since blogs are supposed to journal such discussions and thoughts, I felt that I might as well use my time to say something I felt was pertinent to a wider audience, regardless of profession or personal interest.
There you have it – my platform. During this discussion with you this morning, I just came up with my platform. Not having one has been wearing on my mind here lately. Now I have solved that problem.
Thank you so much for helping me get to this momentous position. I didn’t think I would ever arrive, but with your patience and assistance, I’ve made it at last.
I hope you all have a great week with lots of productive time and marvelous surprises. Go NaNo addicts!
Take care and God bless.