The Rising was released Friday. I changed poopy diapers. It was an all day event. Not the diapers, the release. Well, ok, maybe the diapers, too.
I had a “cyber” release day party on Facebook and it was a blast. Lots of fun. Lots of cyber pats-on-the-back. Less humble authors may have gotten a big head with all the attention. But I know my place in the grand scheme of things. This week brought several reminders.
Like Paisley asking me where I was going to work when I grow up.
Or this little conversation with Emma…
Emma: Grandma, how many more books are you going to write before I’m twenty? (she’ll be 8 in November)
Grandma (me): I don’t know. I hope a bunch.
Emma: Probably not a whole whole bunch because you may be real old by then and already dead.
Or this from Aiden (said with a sour look on his face): Poop.
Or from Ava…I was tickled to see a picture of my book in a shipping box on Facebook so I called to Ava to come look…her response was something along the line of, “Uh-huh. Can I have a snack now?”
I’m not that crazy about coffee anymore. There I said it. It’s a weight off my shoulders. A burden gone. And to take it even further – I not much of a drinker of alcoholic beverages, either.
So…what’s the big deal? I’m a writer! For the normal person, these proclamations may not be a big deal. But I’m not normal. I’m a writer.
Some of my writer friends write in coffee shops. Some have very productive writing sessions while sipping on a cup of joe. I’ve been debating on packing up the laptop and heading to a local cafe myself to try and up the daily word count, but I’m scared my secret would surface. The image of a writer typing away at the keyboard while a cup of…grape Kool-Aid sits nearby doesn’t conjure up the same mythical vision.
Don’t get me wrong. There was a time not too long ago when I was one of those writers whose words were tethered to a cup of coffee. But then something happened – I don’t know, like hot flashes or something – and I was no longer in want of any type of drink with steam rising from it.
In my mind, the marriage of writers and coffee was so ingrained, when my taste buds changed, I wondered if I was cut out for this writing life. All my writer friends thrived on the stuff as if it were an intravenous happy drug. While I was chugging the (sugar free) grape Kool-Aid.
Not really all that fond of sweet ice tea now, either. Holy Crap! Now I’m not even a true southern! But that’s another post for another day.
Back to the drink of choice…in all the “how to write” books I’ve read, they all say study the masters. You know, guys like Papa Hemingway and that Faulkner guy (who leaves me banging my head against hard objects!) So I did…and discovered Papa, Faulkner, Dylan Thomas, Hunter S. Thompson…they all liked to, um…partake in Miss Mamie’s throat soother. A lot. But their writing was brilliant (I reserve judgement on Faulkner, but he IS considered one of the greats.) For some reason I don’t think the how-to books meant to emulate the greats in every way so I’ll leave the hard drinking to frat boys.
So am I still a writer even if I no longer like coffee? Am I still a writer if I write without having a good buzz? Or go on a binge after the writing is done (that Faulkner guy again)?
Stand up to the stereotype my fellow writer friends! Ditch the coffee and the spirits. Want you join me for a cup of Kool-Aid?
Between my son’s kids and my daughter’s kids, we have four currently in diapers. We are diaper experts. Or at least I thought we were. Didn’t know they could explode.
Recently, one-year old Casey went to bed early, and got up up late. My daughter is one of the best mother’s I know. There was a time (maybe with the first kid, possibly with the second) that she would have gently woken the sleeping baby to change its diaper. Doubtful with the third. And Casey, is the fourth kid and has a younger sister by twenty minutes so you wake a sleeping kid in their house now and you face Nina’s wrath.
So Casey wakes up all smiling and happy but he has this massively wet diaper. I go to change him and the diaper like explodes! Little tiny, gooey, beads of what ever it is that makes up diapers, go everywhere. You couldn’t wipe them up, they multiplied! Like rabbits. It was a complete, horribly, gunky mess. Of course Casey was oblivious to the surrounding chaos and was quite happy entertaining himself with a game of patty-cake solitaire. He could care less about what was going on behind the scene.
Sort of like a reader who just wants to read a good book. Do most readers really care if it took you a year to write it, a year to get it published, another year to hit the bookshelves? I doubt it. Yes, there are the real fans who eagerly await your next title and they might be interested in the ‘behind the scene’ stuff. But for many, I suspect, they just want to read a good book.
Everyone in the business says now is a great time to be a writer. We’ve never before had as many options to get our work out there in the readers’ hands, whether it be a physical book or on an e-reader. The popularity of e-readers has proven we no longer have to bow at the feet of the big publishers to have our work read. But however good that is, it’s also created a bit of a problem. For me at least, and I suspect I’m not alone.
There are currently eight new blog posts from other writers in my in-box I haven’t yet read. I want to read them and will get around to it and hopefully they aren’t time sensitive.
But it makes me wonder how many blog posts or tweets are going straight to the delete folder rather than being read? Because, I, like almost every writer I know, subscribe to other writer’s blogs. We follow other writers on Twitter. We “like” their Author Facebook pages. We’re friends on Facebook, Goodreads, and all the other social networking sites because we want to support them. But aren’t we sort of preaching to the choir?
It kind of hit me in the face the other day when I kept seeing the same “how to” article tweeted and shared over and over again. As writers, our main goal is to reach readers. Not necessarily other writers.
Like Casey’s diaper, I think social media has become over-saturated with writers telling other writers how to write. Do my readers really care why I write in first person rather than third? Or why action verbs work much better than passive verbs? Or how to write effective dialog? Or how I can increase my Twitter followers by following three easy steps?
Maybe it’s time to take a step back and give thought to who we’re really writing all these posts for. There are a number of big names in the writing world that I do follow because they offer very sound advice. But I get a wee bit frustrated by seeing their post re-tweeted a thousand times.
Just my opinion. I could be wrong. Feel free to re-tweet. Maybe it’ll start trending. In more ways than one.