I once made a profound observation to a friend of mine that there are two types of people in the world: those who enter a crowded room and slink to the nearest corner and those who jump up on a table and scream look at me!
If you’re a writer like me, you likely fall into the first category. At least to a degree. We love sharing stories but we’d prefer to tell them from a distance. Secretly though, we also dream of that book-cover glamour shot—you know, the one where you’re leaning up against a tree with that ever-so-slight smile and that subtly raised eyebrow.
These days, though, if you want at least your name on a book cover (that you didn’t pay to create), you have to break out of your shell a bit. Agents and publishers are now zeroed in on the idea of the author platform. (Check out this great post on Talking Writing from a former intern at the Epstein Agency.) Does the author have a radio voice? What kind of social media following does he have? Will she look good on Good Morning America?
Did you just gag a little? Sorry, but that’s the sad reality for those of us who want a big publishing contract these days. But a lot of writers I know would rather have splinters inserted under their fingernails than jump on that table. In fact, I just talked to one of those writers yesterday (yes, I’m talking about you, Kelly). We’re private people and it’s no one’s business what we had for breakfast, so buzz off, Facebook. Twitter? Don’t make me sick again.
Today’s Writing Exercise:
You’re about to embark on a journey of shameless self-promotion. No, keep reading! This won’t be that painful.
Personally, I attribute part of my own introversion to a confidence deficiency. Notice that I said “part;” most of my introversion is by choice and I like it that way. But let’s face it, confidence has something to do with it no matter how proud we might be that we were voted “Talks least, says most” in high school. We’re pouring our hearts out onto the page every time we write, even if it’s a story about mutant trolls who live in the back parking lot of a 7-Eleven. (Hey, there’s another writing exercise for you! Write that story!)
So it’s pretty daunting to think that someday it might be time to expose this soul child to a world of cynics with razor-sharp red pens. But if you want to earn a living (okay, receive a meager royalty check every quarter if you’re so lucky), then you have to kick the child out the door with his pants on fire.
So this week, your task is simple. I won’t tell you to grab your manuscript and go streaking on the quad. I won’t even tell you to go out and create a Facebook account. (But it would be great if you liked our page! See, shameless!)
Instead, I want you to pretend that you’re the subject of an interview for this very blog. From time to time we like to spotlight promising writers and we’ll ask questions like this:
- When did you first decide that you were a writer?
- What inspires you?
- How would you describe your writing style?
- What makes your book/story unlike anything we’ve read before?
- What can we expect from you next?
- If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
Okay, go ahead and answer those questions, minus number 6. If you want brownie points, and you know you do, ask a friend to do a mock interview with you and record it. Then, post it on YouTube!
No, don’t worry. You don’t have to tell anyone. But, hopefully, this exercise will give you at least a teeny weeny boost in the self-confidence area—even if it’s all pretend. Because you’re good enough and people like you, dagnabbit!
Weekly writing quota for Wolf: 4.5 out 5 hours (it’s a start)