Get on Twitter, they said. Facebook, too. Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, woo-hoo. It's all great for marketing books, they say. They, of course, are people that have their heads up their collective rear-ends. For most writers, there may not be a worse way to present yourself to a wider audience than being yourself on social media. First, most of us are simply not very interesting which is why cat and food pictures feature prominently on some feeds.
Some writers are a bit delusional on this score, but let's face it, we sit around and make stuff up. In our pajamas. If we get fancy, we put on pants and go to the local coffee shop. Unless you get caught up in an episode of Friends, the excitement factor is somewhere south of 'snooze.'
Second, and more importantly, we are supposedly masters of story-telling. This is a nice way of saying that we are all a bunch of drama queens and a goodly number haven't matured all that much since junior high school.
All this first occurred to me when I read a retweet by Chuck Wendig back in April or June. I'd link to it but Chuck blocked me a while ago. (The reason for that will be a different post tentatively titled "Dude, Your Bullshit Detector is BROKEN.") The subject of the tweet was how dare a mere mortal publicly tell a writer that his book sucked. Chuck, as is his wont, felt free to tell people what horrible people they were if they did such a mean, mean thing.
My response on Twitter was that it was a good thing the writers in question weren't home inspectors as we get called idiots three times a week. Most writers aren't nearly mentally tough enough to handle the profession.
At the same time, it got me thinking.
What is it about being a writer that's supposed to be so damn hard?
So someone tells you that your book sucks. Or that you suck. So what? It doesn't stop you from putting fingers on the keyboard and putting words on the page.
Writing, like running, is about effort. Yes, there are a talented few that will be superstars. I'm not one of them in the running world - lousy oxygen uptake, too big, etc.
I might not ever be a superstar in the writing field either. It's way too early to tell and I have a ton of practice in front of me, but it's long odds against. To become competent, though? That's a practice and persistence issue. That's on me. Why would I let a negative nellie discourage my effort?
If someone offers creative criticism, take it. If someone is poo-flinging, ignore them.
You own the space between your ears. You get to decide where to apply yourself. Don't surrender your control.
Now, go out and do something great. Screw the odds and screw the naysayers.
It's your life - live it big.