Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Self-publicisement [self-PUB-lis-size-ment]: noun the act of using self promotion to attempt to influence sales/marketability of one's novel/person/way of life/income/self-respect.

Question one   : why do you want to be a writer?

Answer one    : because it's a hobby I can do on my own.

Question two  : do you enjoy spending time alone?

Answer two    : yes, that's why I want to be a writer.

Question three : what is your dream lifestyle?

Answer three  : spending as much time as possible on my own, writing things I'd like to say to people if I knew any people.

Question four  : Are you insane?

Answer four    : flibble

Question five   : would you like to spend the next few years creating an online presence, cultivating Twitter and Facebook friends and followers, working dilligently on a blog where you enlighten anyone who is wierd and lonely enough to look as to your every thought, pretend to be happy all the fucking time, and generally share your most intimate thoughts with shitloads of people you have never and will never meet?

Answer five    : yes

Question six    : really?

Answer six      : yes, yes I would

Question seven: weirdo

Answer seven  : fair enough

Musicians, actors, even lowly artists, they love getting themselves out there in front of people and doing their wee dance. They care about being seen. They want to be seen. And they have the platform to get themselves there. They have raised stages in pubs and clubs; they have theatre auditions and gallery openings. They have the fact that it's easy to get drunk and still appreciate their work. They have the fact that the drunker you are the more you're likely to appreciate their work. They have the fact that, mostly, it only takes a couple of minutes for their individual contribution to that given work to be appreciated.
They have, over and above all that, though, a desire to be seen.
Writers? Not so much.
Writers want to be read, not seen, that's a wee bit different. Evidently. Writers want to be anonymous and faceless. Apparently.
Writers would prefer to be judged on the words they lay down rather than on the ones they speak on local radio, or whatever.
Writers, apparently, get to decide who they are in advance. Funnily enough, most of them are wise, kind people who wouldn't step on a badger if it had step-cancer.
And that was more than enough, a while back. Don't step on a cancer-ridden badger, don't be an evil despot with an eye towards world domination, and don't mess up your tenses. Get that sorted, yay, you're a writer!

Sadly, times have moved forward (or on. Forward is almost the same as on).
These days writers not only have to be able to write, they also have to be able to prove they have an e-audience in the many thousands or they've got no chance of a book deal.
One without the other wouldn't be such a huge deal. A highly talented writer might still win out even if their online network hadn't hit the fabled 2000 mark. It's unlikely, but you never know.
A middle of the road writer, though; a writer who is nothing more than adequate; a writer who's lucky if every 17th paragraph relates to the poorly thought out plot? A writer like me, essentially. Us guys, we're in trouble.
Why the fuck else would I be writing on this bloody blog, after all.

It's all about publicity now. Publicity is all that matters. Is the writing any good? Probably not (yes, I am talking about WYLMT). Is the story any use? I have no way of knowing (see). Would it matter if WYLMT was so extraordinary it created a new definition of the word 'fiction' (it isn't, and doesn't)?

If it was that, though. If it was that good, would it matter? Would anyone know? Would anyone know to care?

Answer eight : No, no one would care. Apart from the hundreds of people who are your artificial friends on Twitter and Facebook. And no, they're not real friends. That would be stupid. And no, they don't really care. That also would be stupid. They do read, mind. Give 'em some yarn and they'll read the thread. Some of them, at least.

Do wannabe writers have to do the blog/online/making a remorsful tit of ourselves thing? I think we probably do.
Does it have to be depressing? Not really. Depends how well you can utilise wine and/or beer.

Here's a radical thought:

It's just writing. it isn't that precious. They're only words. We use up hundreds of them every single day, but they're all still there of an evening.

Give them a break. Light a fire. Have a think.

See what you dream