Friday, February 20th, 2009 • 17 Comments on Thoughts on Writing and Blogging and Stephen King, Of Course
Goodness, I do seem to disappear for days at a stretch, don’t I? Sorry. It’s not as if I don’t have a lot going on in my head, I just seem to be keeping it to myself or sharing it in e-mails. I am writing a lot these days, with several new and exciting projects on the horizon. I’m happy with my progress so far in 2009. Of course, it’s only February, right? Ha.
So, while I’m writing behind the scenes, I’ll point you to some of the stuff that I’ve been reading lately. Alison Tyler wrote what I think is a terrific post on the realities of the publishing business. I despise the notion that writers should just be grateful to be published and not expect to get paid much (or even at all!) but I get equally annoyed with writers (or would be writers, as is usually the case) who think every word they write is precious and golden. Please.
There’s a happy medium between between being a doormat and groveling at the feet of some publisher just for a chance to see your words in print (which is why vanity publishing is so freaking successful—and why it’s called “vanity” publishing) and being a self-absorbed diva before you’ve even proven yourself to have written anything anyone wants to read—or even after you’ve proven yourself, for that matter. Because publishing is a small world and you have to be truly brilliant and financially lucrative to a publishing company in order to warrant the diva treatment.
On an only slightly related note, one of my favorite quotes about the writing life is from, of course, Stephen King:
Dig this: The so-called “writing life” is basically sitting on your ass.
You tell ‘em, Steve.
Shanna Germain addressed a different kind of writer’s issue recently in her blog post This Blog is Not Me. Shanna has been plagued by a mean-spirited—anonymous, of course—troll who posts rude and personal comments about Shanna based on things Shanna writes in her blog. (Which is so much worse than the morons who post random spam comments on my blog about patio furniture and computer software.) Shanna wrote something that bears repeating:
A writer. is. not. made. up. of. what. she. writes.
Can you hear that? Shall I say it again in a different way?
This. word. is. not. me.
It’s just a word. One of a thousand I could have chosen. I write fiction. I tell stories. Everything that comes out of my fingers and lands on paper is just a single, tiny, slivered facet of who I am.
I’ve written about this subject before and walked the line between protecting my privacy and writing transparently. There is a connection between writer and reader and I certainly understand it. I feel like I know Stephen King, after all. However, there is a fine line between feeling like you know a writer (or blogger) and actually knowing that writer. No matter how much I write here, there is more—much more—I don’t write. This is, as Shanna puts it, “a single, tiny, slivered facet of who I am.”
I get that it’s my choice to be here and there are pitfalls that come with blogging just as there are pitfalls that come with writing erotic fiction or using my real name or being a woman. That’s life. I love getting comments and e-mails from readers and, for the most part, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. But I keep a file of the other stuff—the weird requests, the odd e-mails, the icky notes that read like personal ads—and the IP addresses of all. Why take chances, right? (Don’t want to make it into that file? Don’t be creepy. Don’t know what creepy is? Then don’t contact me. Period.)
Having said that, I do check my stats and see that I have readers practically all over the world. I think that’s just incredible. I would love it if you all would leave a comment and say hello. Tell me where you’re from, what you do, what you write (if you write). It’s nice to know who’s out there reading me. Just—please—don’t tell me you’re my biggest fan.