Monday, June 27, 2011

Precious New Beginnings

Tonight I'm heading to Denver to meet my new nephew, Nash, and be with his big sister, Devyn and other members of my amazing family. I'll also be seeing great friends, some of whom I haven't seen in many moons. Instead of today being a sad day for me, today is filled with family, love, possibility, and forward movement.

Thanks to all of you who have lifted me up and helped me move through these past fourteen months. Small or big, silent or spoken, I will never stop appreciating your support.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Social Media's Raging Storm: Follower Gathering

Lately, I've been curious about the phenomenon of gathering followers on social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. I've noticed certain people - often times new writers with their first or second book out - gathering followers like fisherman catch tuna in a net; as if the numbers alone will insure greater book sales. 

Daisy Whitney, a marketing guru and dear writer-friend, wrote an interesting post about social media recently. She pointed out happiness comes from within, not without, and that giving yourself a break from social media's raging storm (my words, not hers) can be an extremely healthy undertaking. Her main point being, "Don't Stalk Yourself!"

Please understand, my background is in marketing. In my early days, I managed and promoted my rock band, and later I worked in marketing for several architectural and engineering firms. That said, I wonder if we've taken this "follower gathering" (FG) thing too far. 

On Twitter, I only follow someone back if I think their tweets are interesting, funny, inspiring, or all of the above. I do not simply follow back in hopes their followers will soon follow me. I mainly stick to people in the literary world, but also include some musical and political folks. On Facebook, I operate the same way. I only friend people who I know and/or interest me in some way. I imagine, once I have a book deal, I'll be encouraged to increase my FG, though it may seem a bit disingenuous; following people for the sole purpose of increasing book sales.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this - it's the foundation of marketing. The more people who know about your product, the more product you'll sell. That said, I'm not sure why it irks me when I see: So-and-So now has 30,000 new friends! (I'm from New York, therefore I exaggerate.) Of course, there's the natural twinge of jealousy:

Hey, wait, she's got more followers than I do! WAH, WAH, SHE'S MORE POPULAR THAN ME!!!

What am I not doing that he's doing? 

Should I change my profile pic? 

What does he know/have that I don't know/have? 

Why does she have to be prettier (more successful, more interesting, more  hooked up with the 'right' people, more famous, younger...) than me?


(We humans are a real treat, aren't we?)

But, more than that, it bothers me because I love the personal schmoozing factor of social media outlets. I hate to think that could be obliterated by the need to use these outlets strictly as marketing tools. Plenty of people advise writers to watch every word they say on social media outlets in order not to alienate possible readers. I say, "Bah, Humbug!" If some people don't like my political views or sense of humor, so be it. Delving into the thoughts and lives of the artists I love makes me love them more. The more open they are about who they are and what they believe in, the better.

I hope my attraction to social media as a means of getting to know interesting people, having people make me laugh, making people laugh, being inspired, inspiring others, and sharing music and political views, etc. doesn't fade as my number of followers grows. Why? Because I'm human and have an ego and love when my follower numbers rise. (There, I said it!)

Curious to hear your thoughts on this. 

Feel free to share this on Twitter, FB, your blog, YouTube, Linkedin, etc. (Bwahaha!!!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The 3 W's: Writing While Waiting

Writing While Waiting is the one and only thing a writer should do. I mean, besides painting, sculpting, writing songs, or doing anything else creative that calls your soul into being in the world.

What I have to say next may come as a shock to some: I have amicably parted ways with my agent. She's awesome. Keep querying her. You won't be sorry. That said, things just weren't working out for us. So, I'm back in the saddle, aka: querying game, again.

I'm querying my YA novel while immersed in a women's fiction book I feel more connected to than anything I've ever written. I know it's not the PC thing to do to admit such things, but guess what? I don't care. I'm more concerned with and committed to being authentic in my life than I am with what I "should" or "shouldn't" say on my blog.

When I first started this blog in September of 2008, I promised myself one thing: THIS WOULD NEVER SOLELY BE A PLACE FOR "LOOKING GOOD." Instead, it would be a place to express  my artistic and personal lives simultaneously and honestly. I've never regretted this choice.

One thing I'm clear about, and have been clear about from a young age, is this: life is fleeting. The second song I ever wrote was called, "Time Glides By." I was 16, but knew deep down this was true. Now, I'm (much) older and have discovered that (much) younger version of me was right. Life is short. Live it to the fullest.

So, I'm Writing While Waiting to hear back from a select few unbelievably amazing agents. And, if my YA novel isn't the one to gain me new representation, I have little doubt the novel I'm working on will. Over confident? Maybe. But, it's how I feel deep down in my gut.

When you pour your soul onto the page in a deep and genuine way, your life and the lives of others transform. This is the reason I write - to cause transformation in the world - to share what it is to be human - to embrace my life and the lives of others - to generate authenticity within myself and those around me. The possibility of doing this is bigger than the cosmos, brighter than the sun, deeper than the ocean, and sweeter than a newborn (well, maybe not sweeter than a newborn - this is me and my niece, Devyn, in October of 2009 - what could be sweeter than a precious new baby?). The possibility of creating something that touches others is the reason we are alive. It is an honor and a privilege and the "job" of all artists.

So, my friends, share yourselves fully, beautifully, and honestly. In the end, it's all that matters.

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