I love watching author interviews. It can be informative to hear how each authors’ journeys to success have progressed differently. Watching an interview between two authors going back and forth can be an even better experience as they share their stories.
I find myself having some feelings though as I watch this recent video. It is a conversation between Stephen King and George R. R. Martin. They are asking each other questions back and forth and telling all kinds of stories about when they were young ones.
The first thing I feel is inspired. As I’m listening to the video I open the document that is one of the two novels I am actively working on. (As I work a full-time job, this means I write randomly and sporadically, and never as much as I wish I could).
As I continued to listen I also became a little disappointed in myself, because I don’t write as much as I want or should and I haven’t finished my novels. I haven’t published anything in any significant publication and so it’s easy to take that to mean that I’m not a real writer or that I’ll never publish anything.
My disappointment further digresses into something uglier. That voice in my head that says I’ll never be published, because I’m not good. But just as I’m getting swept up by this train of thought I ask myself…
“Do I care?” What if this is true and I never get published. Would I stop writing my stories? And I know the answer of course not. Even if no one ever read anything I created I would still want to write it down, because I enjoy the act of creating. I enjoy committing the words onto the page. Of typing so fast to get a thought written that the sentences are littered with typos and illegible to anyone including myself.
So the only thing from this video I will hold onto is the advice and stories I enjoyed listening to and the feeling of initial inspiration I felt.
I am a writer. Nothing else is relevant.
For your viewing pleasure here is the video that sparked the train of thought that led to this post.
Instead of complaining what could we be doing to make things happen?
I have been guilty of this. At times I was focused on the result and what I wanted without really thinking about how I was going to get there. Its also something I see a lot of in my peers. When I saw in them I knew I needed to purge it from myself.
For instance a writing group on Facebook (admittedly one I’m not super active in) often is full of posts from people complaining about something or looking for a quick solution. I just read a post from someone claiming they tried to use boost post on Facebook for easy advertising, but couldn’t find the pricing. They were clearly angry and questioning the legality of this.
Now I know from experience the prices are there once you set your requirements for the post. Clearly this person didn’t look that hard or do much research on it before they moved into complaint mode.
I learned this lesson the hard way. When I first started my blog I thought I would be able to build a readership easily. Well a year later and I don’t think this is true. I didn’t really think much about what I was putting on my site to attract people’s interest. So my blog had turned into a stream of conscious with topics that likely only interested me and allowed me to go off on a tangent.
Gee, I wonder why no one would want to read that.
When I didn’t get the results I wanted I was disappointed and I began to lose focus on my blog and I grew distant from my social media pages. This only further pushed my side into obscurity. Obviously not what I wanted. So I shook off my previous thought pattern and began to work.
Let the research begin. When I actually do it I’m pretty good at researching. I can find the answer I’m looking for. I just need to start weeding through material.
What I found…
I started with social media. I quickly discovered that for whatever reason writers and bloggers are active on Twitter. I began to play with my twitter account to what would happen. In just a few weeks I went from 150 followers to 343 followers. In one year on Facebook I was still only at 167 followers. At that rate if I continue to be active on twitter I could have a real following/readership in no time.
But I can’t let up on it I must be persistent.
My next step is to research content. What should I be blogging about as a writer? I found a great article that really got me thinking about different possibility. If you’re interested check it out here. She gave great content suggestions for writers based on their goals.
I am noticing more and more books about dystopian societies. Some of the first ones that came out were pretty good, even some of the ones coming out now aren’t bad. However, I can only read so many dystopian society books before I want to roll my eyes all the way back in to my head, groan, and mumble under my breadth “Again?”.
I understand that some authors or maybe the publishers (since they’re the ones who pick the books that get published) are recognizing a trend amongst readers. After all, look at how well The Hunger Games & Divergent did, to name a couple. Those books became popular to the point of becoming movies. That is quite an accomplishment and those particular books are in fact very good.
The problem is that smaller authors are attempting to do the same thing with the same results. Like plugging a formula in and waiting for the outcome. That isn’t how writing or publishing should work, (I should say because I am certain publishers have utilized formulas at times). These little writers seem to think if they just do what these bestseller writers did then they will become them.
Wrong. They are in fact misinterpreting what these bestselling writers did. They wrote their own story. They didn’t follow market trends. So when their book came out it was new and something readers could be excited about. But now when I see more dystopian books coming out I just want to cringe. “Couldn’t the writer think of anything else?” The subject is no longer new and exciting but rather becoming old and tired in my mind.
Don’t get me wrong I know that The Hunger Games was not the first dystopian novel ever written. Book genres move in cycles of popularity, but I am more than ready to move out of this particular genre and into something new. This also means that the next author to publish something new and well written will probably be the next crazy bestseller and the cycle will begin again.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with me or think I’m totally wrong? I’d love to know. Everyone is entitled to their opinion just keep it respectful.
From The TypeWriter Writer's Group 1 member This group is meant to be an online writer's group to help us further our goals of getting a novel written. All genre's are welcome. I only ask that you come with a project in mind and ready to work.
I will work with each member to get them set up in the group once they join and you will be given specifics as to how the group will work. All you need to know for now is, you will be reading at least one person's story every week.
It is understood that life sometimes gets in the way and there will be forgiveness if something comes up and you are unable to participate. However, if a member is inactive for 30 days they will be removed from the group.
I will try and suggest books and classes for the group to help us all improve, do research, and increase our knowledge which will help our writing.
Welcome to the group! I wish us all luck and determination on our roads ahead!