Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ponderings of a Self-Published Nobody

By Jai Murugan

Geez, I'm not sure if I want to do this or not.  It might backfire, or I might look like an idiot.  Hmmmm.  Oh, what the heck!  Here goes.  Nothing to lose.
English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engra...
English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engraving (prints). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two different writers are invited on consecutive weeks, to sit outside a local bookstore in a mall, to flog the freshly printed book, by reading, and signing.
The books are of different genres, but each in its own way has appeal.  Certainly
beforehand, by viewing the books alone, without the author, there is no significant difference, as to marketability.  Neither author is well known, and each is here on her initial foray into the market. The first writer sells well over 100 books on the Saturday afternoon.  The second writer sells a grand total of three books. Why?

The first author smiles a lot, shakes hands, nods at little kids, drinks coffee sloppily, and generally appears, outwardly at least, to be having a grand ol' time.  The table is covered by bright gawky blowups of media stories on the book, or her.

The second author sits quietly, reading another book, quietly sipping her coffee, and appears openly only mildly interested in the flog.  On the inside, she is terribly interested, as all writers are, but  cannot overcome the shyness, and fear that someone might think her book is crap.

The difference between the two scenarios, of course, is reflected in the title of this column: confidence.

Confidence is a learned trait, whether inadvertently, or consciously.  Your personal degree of writing confidence, today, is a sum total of your personal experiences regarding feedback on writing.  The grade one teacher who proudly read your story aloud, or wrote, "You have such wonderful ideas!" had a powerful impact.

 So did the high school or university professor who labeled your paper with a 'C' for crappy.  Most, if not all, of the feedback you received, you feel at least, was outside your control.  For it came from the mouths of others.

Once lost, confidence is hard to regain.  But surely if we as writers have none at all, we'll never be writers, at best our only audience will be ourselves.  There are probably many manuscripts (not to mention paintings) lying around somewhere on the planet just waiting to be viewed by adoring masses.

Unfortunately these never will, simply because the creators of said works of art have never shown them to anyone, or only just perhaps to a few close friends, due to their lack of confidence.  That's sad.

Here are a few simple tips to hopefully improve confidence. There are many more if you do a little hunting.

  1. Take all destructive criticism with a grain of salt, however hard that seems.  Remember that there are another 5 billion people on the planet.  Someone will love your writing.
  2. Write daily.  (Laugh daily.  Even if you laugh at how pathetic your own work is.)
  3. Do something towards self-promotion regularly even if is a simple as posting a message on a news-group, or submitting a poem to the few readers on a chat-line.
  4. If you need to show your work to someone, show it first to someone you trust as a person.  If they give you a negative critique, you'll know it's not a direct attack on you
Originally Published in Writing Today (May 9, 1998 Vol 1, Issue 1)

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Friday, June 20, 2014

JournalSpark: If your computer could talk, what would it say to you?

Computer Setup April 2010
Computer Setup April 2010 (Photo credit: Paul Mayne)
We use our computers every day for everything from reading e-mails to playing games and keeping up with our friends on Facebook.  What if your computer could talk? What would it say to you? Write a journal entry on this topic. Have fun with it.

If you use this idea, feel free to link back to this post.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

BlogSpark: Top Ten Reasons to Quit Blogging

X (Photo credit: hidden side)
There are plenty of blog posts for those wanting to get into blogging, but rare are those that say why you should quit. Why not think about this idea for a bit and write a blog post listing the top ten reasons to quit blogging.

If you use this idea, feel free to link back to this post.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

3Spark: cap, match, bed

English: A stopwatch is a hand-held timepiece ...
English: A stopwatch is a hand-held timepiece designed to measure the amount of time elapsed from a particular time when activated to when the piece is deactivated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Welcome to this week's three word free writing challenge. Remember to set your timer for twenty minutes before you begin writing.

Today's words are:

  1. cap
  2. match
  3. bed

 If you use this idea, feel free to link back to this post.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

StorySpark: Mirical Mile

English: Mile Post, Caldon Canal. A mile post ...
English: Mile Post, Caldon Canal. A mile post on the Caldon Canal near Milton, Stoke on Trent. Erected by the Caldon Canal Society showing Etruria 4 mile, Uttoxeter 26 mile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today's StorySpark is "Mirical Mile". Think about that for a bit, then write your story. No other guidelines today.

If you use this idea, feel free to link back to this post.

Monday, June 16, 2014

ImageSpark: Remote Control

Spektrum DX7EU Remote Control
Spektrum DX7EU Remote Control (Photo credit: Lenz Grimmer)
 When most of us hear the words "remote control" we think of the thing that controls our television sets. But, there are a variety of things that can be remote controlled. Use the image to spark your imagination and write about the use of a remote control.

If you use this idea, feel free to link back to this post.

Friday, June 13, 2014

JournalSpark: Vacation TIme

Cover of the 1982 album Vacation.
Cover of the 1982 album Vacation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is the earliest vacation you can remember? Write about it in your journal today.

If you use this idea, feel free to link back to this post.
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