Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More advice for writers, but not from me

I have come to believe that Facebook is one of those places that writers hang out in when they are either;
  1. Lying to themselves that they are networking
  2. Lying to themselves that they are researching
  3. Lying to themselves that there isn't so much editing left to do
  4. Have ran out of ideas
Ok, I know I am exaggerating, but this morning I was practicing excuse number three.  I was telling myself that the fifty pages left of Psychophilia can wait a few minutes or a few hours depending on how engrossed I get.  But there is a point to Facebook that reveals itself in various forms of cool stuff every now and again.
There are days when my newsfeed, and I'm sorry Facebook buddies, is simply full of shite.  I can scroll down to story after story and find nothing that interests me.  But today, TODAY, was something else.  You guys have obviously been taking the funny pills again because you have liked and shared and posted some pretty funny stuff.  Just for fun, and in the spirit of sharing some of the giggles, which even as I post it again now doesn't seem quite as funny (maybe I was the one taking the funny pills), I replicate one of the said funny images for you here.
But on a more serious note, Facebook is also the place where I came across author John Green.  In case you haven't heard about him he is a writer who almost became a priest but instead became a book reviewer and wrote for New York Times Book Review before writing his own book and then starting a video blog diary called vlogbrothers for which he covers just about every topic known to man.  The lack of punctuation in this last sentence is not because I went on an editing holiday.  John Green's videos do not have any punctuation.  He is the most entertaining and yet simultaneously exhausting person I have ever had the pleasure to watch.  He is also a fantastic author.  Check out The Fault in Our Stars.
John Green

So when this guy speaks, I tend to open an ear, stop scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed and take a look.  Today I came across a link to some of his wise words about the art of being a writer.  We often hear about how to market ourselves, how to write a good blog that keeps people interested (if anybody knows......), how not to spam people with book links etc etc.  But what about advice on how to just enjoy what we do.  In his own words, because I can't say it any better, here is John Green's advice.

Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.
Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.
The post I wrote on Monday was all about sales and figures, and to date on this blog it has been the most well received post, getting the most hits and the most positive feedback comments in various places I have pimped it out.  We all want to sell, right.  Well that's true, and I can't deny that I hope one day writing brings in enough cash that I can do it full time.  Ok, full time and legitimately, without feeling guilty or hungry.  But I didn't write any of these books with a £ or a $ sign in my eyes.  I wrote them because I believed in them, and when I look back at the pages in them now I see chapters of my life and different emotions peppering the plot and characters that I know come straight from me.    
People sometimes say that writers are closed people.  But I disagree.  I think writers are some of the most open people in the world, because we bleed our hearts and souls into the words and stories we write.  And John Green is right when he calls the end result a gift.
So I am turning off Facebook for a while and going back to the editing so that I may continue with the current gift in progress.  But this gift is not just to readers, but to myself.  I'll leave you with the last post I saw on Facebook before switching off.  I guess it couldn't be more suitable.

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