My little bro (who is new to the writing world, but very talented) and I had a conversation the other week about networking. I told him I was worried my book wouldn't get published because I hadn't done enough to self-promote myself. I can be extremely shy and introverted about my writing. It's taken me a long time to "come out of the closet" so to speak. With each passing year it gets easier, but I still haven't taken advantage of opportunities to speak with publishers, get my name out, tell people about my work.
But it's so important.
And today I had an epiphany as to why that is. Not only does getting your name out promote your work, but it ties you to your work--in a way you can't back out of. I love writing and to quit would be sad. But I never thought I'd be letting people down if I didn't continue to write, until lately. I'll tell you three things that have done this for me this week.
1) David Farland asked to be my friend on Facebook! I know. Can you believe it?? We haven't even officially met. Okay, I know I'm friend number 3,000-something, and he found me connected with writing somewhere and added me to self-promote himself--but STILL. Suddenly I have good writing ideas popping on my screen every time I sign into Facebook. And I feel like I'm unique. Like I CAN be a writer.
2)# 2 is more important than #1. This last week I got a book in the mail I proofread. I was cruising a yahoo writing site I'm a part of and a girl posted she needed a beta reader. I had just learned how important it is to have a beta reader, so I clicked on her website, saw who she was and what it was about and decided that it was similar to my book so it would be a good connection to make. She listed me on the acknowledgement page in such a sweet way, I seriously almost cried. Since proofreading her book she has proofread mine, and offered so much encouragement at always the right time. When I think there is no time to write between dirty dishes, laundry, feeding everyone, not to mention the constant noise level, I think, someone out there cares about my writing other than me. I can invest a little time.
3) I vented to a family member. Not my mom. She'd just tell me I'm a great writer and not to change anything. I told my brother. The one who would tell me I stink just to get me back for all he suffered under my tyranical rule as oldest child. I had spent an entire afternoon outlining a book I've been thinking about for a year and a half. I was feeling quite satisfied with my work until an hour after I'd finished. I looked at the dirty dish I was washing and said, "No one will ever want to buy it or read it."
The inner voices had beat me. The story seemed like trash. So, I felt I had nothing to lose when I said, simply to entertain my brother, "Want to hear about my book?" I then gave him a detailed outline, something I never do because in the past it always killed my creative energy. He liked it and told me to write it. Suddenly I was excited again. My story held value, even if I wrote it just to show him what I could do with the idea. Writing was fun again.
Maybe some people can be solo writers, strong to the core, not caring what anyone thinks. However, my success so far as a writer as been very much influenced by other people. I need the outside voices to combat the inner voices that say "don't even bother."