Saturday, October 6, 2012

By the Book

I've always been bookish. I prefer non-fiction, but I delve into fiction every now and again. I'm also quiet and introspective so, I would've been a good librarian. Except that I also have a very rebellious side. So, that whole following the Dewey Decimal system all the time thing might be a challenge. And on casual fridays I would want to be able to roller skate through the stacks. Casually, of course. Ok, so obviously, me working at the library wouldn't actually work. Because, I have a problem doing things by the book.

So, I really think writing is a better fit for me. I need to be creative, make my own schedule and write what I'm inspired to write. And without having to follow rules. So writing allows me a lot of independence, but that's probably just because I'm unemployed. It also makes me quite dependent. Writers need readers. Well, there's really no hard and fast rule that actually says that, but I think even Republicans and Democrats would unilaterally agree on that point right now.

I grew up in a family that valued modesty and humility. Where actions spoke much louder than words. Where substance prevailed over crap. Where you didn't advertise what you were going to do, you simply did it because it was the right thing to do. (And it usually wasn't the tasty way to do it, by the way.) After you did, there would be no accolades, just a quiet sense of accomplishment when you finished. But, this isn't how the world works anymore. Even though I still do.

So when people ask me what I do, I hesitate before I reluctantly tell them I'm writing a memoir. Then, I feel the need to justify that, further explaining I'm not a self absorbed narcissist. I babble on and before confessing that I've never written a book before and have no idea what I'm doing. And lastly, that NO I do not have some fabulous book deal with a publisher. Because I'm a just a struggling writer.

What I struggle with most isn't the writing at all. That's the one thing I'm confident about. It's all the other stuff that goes with the world of self publishing, which is most likely the route I'll have to go. It's the getting my name out there and promoting myself that I am totally crappy at. Now, shooting myself in the foot? I am fabulous at that. Seriously, maybe I should actually do that to promote the book somehow.

Maybe this whole journey isn't about writing the book at all. But having the courage to finally call myself a writer without having to validate it. And promoting myself without feeling like I'm obnoxious and annoying the crap out of people. Unless it really is about writing the book. In which case, you should buy the book. Or maybe just take a quick glimpse while you skate by it at the library. Or not. No pressure.


SherilinR said...

daring to call yourself a writer is a hard thing to do! writing is the easy part, but having to admit to our hopes and dreams and promote ourselves is challenging.
i hope you'll have tremendous success once you get it finished so that you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Rachel Howells said...

I completely relate. I am doing the same thing and feel the same way about it. Have you read or heard of the best-seller, Still Alice? I was listening to an interview with the author, Lisa Geneva, a neuroscientist, who spoke about first going the traditional publishiby route. She received 100 rejection letters before a few agents were interested enough to at least read her manuscript. They all passed on the book as well, saying the general reader would not be interested in a book about a woman with Alzheimer's. So she resigned herself to self-publishing and in less than a year through the power of the internet grapevine her book caught the attention of Simon & Schuster & has sold over a million copies. Then there is the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon - not well written but hugely popular. Anyway, I look forward to reading your memoir. I know it will be fabulous. Perhaps our PBAU group will be willing to be your beta readers?

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I know what you mean. I co-authored a friend's memoir, and we actually had a publisher. But the publisher sent out one news release to radio talk-show hosts and that was it. So I did a lot of promotion. But the book was about my friend's life rather than mine, so I didn't have the ego-conflict thing. All this is just to say that after you do all the work of writing the book, you will definitely want people to know about it. If you can find a friend or two to help you promote it, they can help in lots of ways.

Janine said...

You are so unbelievably brave and I admire you. I dont think I will ever be able to do it...well, not at the moment with Den just being made redundant. I cant wait to read your book.

The Loerzels said...

@ Sherilin-Thanks for the encouragement!
@ Rachel- Maybe I should just write porn. Although is there such a thing as humor porn? Maybe I could start a new genre.
@BOG-You must be psychic, I just had a friend offer to help yesterday.
@ Janine-Not as brave as you are. Hang in there friend!

Sine said...

Once again incredibly well said, Marie, especially what you said about your upbringing. Will send you a separate email, no need to clog up your blog with all my sentiments. Hope your address still works.
Rachel, what is your PBAU group?

Leah Griffith said...

Marie, I struggle with the same conflict. I've written my novel and published it, but now I have to figure out a way to get folks to read it. This is not an easy task. Anyway, if I were you I would put the marketing thing out of my head for now and simply enjoy the creative part of authoring a book. The rest will come soon enough.

Sandra said...

Great point! I think if you are writing, then you are a writer. How many novelists out there are not published, but have completed several? How 'bout JK Rowlins who was rejected by publishers. Was she not a writer? You can do this. You will do this. First, write the book. Then the rest will fall into place. I have a little saying: "Everything works out in the end."...actually, I don't even know if that is my saying or if I stole it...?

onesontwocats said...

Have you heard about Pen Women? It's an organization of women who are professional writers, artists and composers--or if your like me and haven't made money by writing, you can join as a friend. Every month we meet and have a different speaker. If you want to learn more about Pen Women, here is the link to the local group:
-- If you want to attend a meeting or two to see if you like it before you join, let me know.

The Loerzels said...

@ Catwoman- (Can I call you that?) Would definitely check out the meeting. Could you let me know when the next one is at:


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