When something is not my idea, it is inherently a bad idea.
So after being harassed for months that I needed an “online presence” for my writing, or for me as a writer, or my alter-ego the author or whatever, I finally acquiesced. Fine! I’ll make a blog! I’ll try to think of clever things in 140 characters or less and tweet! I’ll do it!
And I did it. Sort of. But I’m not going to lie, it felt completely disingenuous. I’m almost done with a book, but I’m not. So I don’t have that to promote. I’m having a hard time finishing it what with having a real-person job and all. I had to quit my last freelancing job because of, you know, the real-person job sapping up 60 physical an 150 mental/emotional hours per week. So…I don’t have that to build off of…what am I supposed to be blogging about again? Just complaining about not having the time to write?
Considering those last six sentences of whining makes me want to quit reading my own words, I sense this isn’t good fodder for a blog. So I kind of let it fall by the wayside. You know, like the writing.
And then I was reading this very exciting issue of Writer’s Digest that was all about writing and selling memoirs, which my book happens to be (I know! Roll your eyes at me. Do it. I’ll wait.), and you know what it said? One incredibly important thing for unknown authors to already have when trying to break into an agency is a “platform.” What is that? That is an audience. A following.
A what? The way to become not-unknown is to already be known? Well shit, I could have told you that. Because then you don’t really need to “get” known anymore, do you? They suggest you do this by blogging, naturally, or going on speaking tours. Really? Can you just go on a speaking tour? Because if there’s a market for any old idiot to give lectures to any old audience, well, here’s one idiot in particular who will sign up. I’ll talk about stuff. Try me.
I realize that writing isn’t the only field that suffers from this dilemma of backward breaking in. Did you know that in order to even approach a label a musician should have gone on at least a handful of several-state tours and have released dozens of songs or albums or whatnot? Again, must be already successful to become successful. I really don’t think if that’s how it worked for Kelly Clarkston. Or J.K. Rowling. Does anyone else feel like that there really is no secret to success, whether you’re a writer or a musician or an artist of any kind? That really every path to success is a completely different crapshoot?
I don’t in any way mean to sound like it’s a hopeless crapshoot. I completely intend to be very successful in shooting my crap. I’m just working on the how right now. And since my current work is still a work in progress, I guess I should concentrate on my “platform.” Assuming my non-act isn’t ready to go on tour quite yet, it would appear I should stick with the blog.
Now I just have to be interesting.
*Originally posted via the site formally known as natalieburgblog.blogspot.com on June 30, 2010