Friday, 15 June 2012

Shove your rat race...


Apologies for the unannounced hiatus. To be honest, I was on the precipice of giving up blogging altogether.
As much as I enjoy blogging, I was starting to feel it could potentially overshadow my whole reason for blogging in the first place: Writing.
I have no plans to ever give up my writing dream, but I believe I’ll be putting that dream in jeopardy if I allow myself to succumb to the PR fiasco that has become the minimum requirement, apparently, for “building an author platform”.
It gives me the boak to see poorly written novels with countless 5 star reviews on Amazon. You can't help but wonder if they're borne of some kind of reciprocal obligation from other bloggers/book reviewers. I’d rather have one fair and honest review, over a thousand copy & pasted efforts from frazzled (but well-meaning, I’m sure) participants in this whole circus.
The appeal of being a writer was once about escaping the rat race. Now it hosts a rat race all of its own!
If “Author” was advertised in a recruitment website these days (humour me), I believe it’d probably state the following requirements:

·          Daily liaisons through social media

·          Relationship building with others in the industry

·          Networking and sourcing new clients (readers/other bloggers)

·          Attend writer’s conferences and workshops

·          Organise, manage and distribute press releases on blog tours

·          Promote your brand through blog hops and guest interviews

·          Host giveaways

·          Oh… and write a book.

Am I the only person who is pissed off with this priority list? I'd genuinely prefer to write for the love of it and remain unpublished, than adhere to the above expectations in that order.
I've been bitten once by this. Someone sent me lots of friendly emails, then asked me to post a guest blog for them (with no offer to read any of their stuff). Intimidated, I obliged and never heard from them again. If I ever do a blog tour, please don't accept my request unless you believe in me and/or my writing. I promise to do likewise from now on. 
Do you want to know what's prevented me throwing in the bloggy towel, though? Reading some lovely, honest writer’s blogs, such as Is Anyone There, Mothers of Brothers and First Draft Cafe. In fact, the majority of bloggers I interact with don't succumb to these daft priorities. And that makes me feel optimistic once more.
I’ve decided to move my goal posts once more (and I’ll go ahead and keep changing them till I figure out what works for me). I won’t be blogging every Friday anymore. I may post more frequently, or less. If you'd like to keep up with my erratic behaviour, please subscribe or join my lovely 59 followers via Google Friend Connect

It feels liberating to break away from these unfair expectations of new writers. “But the industry demands it” some might say? Well, the industry changes constantly. New boundaries are being made with each new technological advancement. With the ability to self-publish, writers aren’t dictated by traditional publishers anymore (quality of work is another issue altogether. Lets not go there today...).

Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future, but I do know one thing: my books will still be there at the end of it all, so I’d better bloody well give them the love and attention they deserve, instead of rushing out three books a year whilst simultaneously trying to promote my previous three, etc. Fair play if you're into all that, but it's not my idea of a fulfilling life.

I’ll continue to participate in events like A-Z Blogging Challenge and NaNoWriMo, as I enjoy them and they’re fun. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how interactive we’re all pressured into being: writing is a personal, lone journey. So I’m going to do it my way and I continue to wish you all the best with your own journey. :)  
If you want to have a gab about writing, feel free to email me, or if you're in the Glasgow area I'd happily meet up for a coffee. We can despair over the lack of publishers knocking down doors to meet us, or have a good old jealous-bitch session about those more successful than us, whether they deserve it or not.
P.S. If you read my last post... I didn't win the Euromillions. Huff! I've also scrapped the "chapter a day" redrafting idea I had. It's coming along well at its own pace. :) x 

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14 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

I'm glad you are finding a way of blogging that works for you. :)

Catherine Noble said...

Thanks, Kyra :) Loving your new book cover, by the way!

Heather Murphy said...

Stopping by for the A-Z Road Trip. I hope you persevere and don't give up!

michelle said...

This is candid, no-nonsense and to-the-point... and you've raised some important issues...

Catherine Noble said...

@Heather Murphy: Thank you for stopping by. Don't worry, I shall never give up :)

@michelle: I'm glad you see it that way, as after I posted it, I feared it would look like all whiny and ranty. The issues give me a headache, I'd gladly stick my head in the sand if there's a pen and paper under there too.

Anonymous said...

I would just focus on the craft. There's too much emphasis on being 'social' on the internet and it has got to a stage where there is a constant zeal for self fashioning and self promotion... it's all quite dehumanizing really.

I could just sum it all up by saying the most interesting people on Facebook are the ones who say nothing!

Susan Buchanan said...

hi Catherine - you raise some interesting points which I think most indie writers (pretty much anyone without a Marketing team to do the hard work for them) face every day. I personally bemoan daily (and am good at it!) the struggle with getting the writing/marketing balance correct. And I think we are all learning on a daily basis. But, it's a plain, hard, truth. If you do want your work to be bought and thus read by readers, you do have to do some marketing. On that note, am off to write for a bit. Wishing you every success with your writing, Sooz

Catherine Noble said...

@Anonymous: You're so right. On that note, the LEAST interesting people on Facebook are the ones who just don't shut up and expect everyone else to pay attention to them, when they have nothing of any real value to say! Very apt comparison, actually.

@Susan Buchanan: Thanks for your comment :) Indeed it is a struggle maintaining a balance. From a marketing point of view, it wouldn't make sense for me (or anyone) to market so aggressively when I'm still working on my first novel. No bones about it, though, I know how to work hard, and will work through the priority list when the appropriate time comes, but never to the detriment of my writing (which is what it's all about for me).
I think a lot of writers feel pressured to do the marketing stuff before it's necessary for them, under this guise of "building an author platform", and put more energy into marketing than crafting their novels. That's just something that'll never sit right with me. Good luck with your writing, Sooz! :)

Anne Mackle (cassam) said...

I understand completely what you are saying and I don't understand how some people can keep up with all the work it entails. I think if you are indi publishing and don't have a marketing team behind you then you do have to make yourself known to people. Thank you for mentioning my blog, that really brought a smile to my face. I would love to meet for a coffee and a chat ,maybe in Silverburn ? You can DM me on twitter.

Amanda Saint said...

Hear hear Catherine! I totally agree and have decided to quit the London rat race and take myself and my keyboard to the loveliness that is North Devon, where I shall write what I want, when I want and just hope that others would like to read it too. But in the end, you're right we write for ourselves. Although I do love to chat with the friends I've made on Twitter! Glad to be one of you lovely followers :)

Ash-Matic said...

That was a very depressing list. I just want to write (but I also seem to want to procrastinate...), but without jumping through such hoops as you describe, the result might be that nobody ever reads what I've written. If writing is just like shouting into the wind, I'm not sure if that's worth the effort for me either.

Maria said...

Well, what can I say that hasn't been said already in comments? Perhaps only to add...

Do what makes you happy.

I would like to meet up, however geography might be tricky, perhaps a chat on Google Talk, and a virtual cup of tea, and a slice of cake?

P.S. Thank you for mentioning my blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I'm fairly new to writing and blogging. I too just want a quiet writing life, earning a little here and there if I can. Mainly, I want to enjoy what I do.

If I wanted a high-powered - earn a six figure income - achieve mega-efficiency - network, network, network - create a killer blog - become super awesome by next Saturday kind of life I may as well go back to my old rat race.

Thanks for this post. It's reminded me of how much I've been drawn in by the hype out there, particularly in the blogging niche.

Catherine Noble said...

@Anne Mackle (cassam): I'd definitely love to meet for a coffee and a gab, I shall DM you! :)

@Amanda Saint: Ooooh I am SO jealous, Amanda! North Devon is one of the councils I deal with, at work, and I get all misty eyed looking at the gorgeous scenery! Good luck with your writing; it sounds like you're definitely living the dream already. I'm glad you're one of my lovely followers too :)

@Ash-Matic: I know what you mean about procrastinating haha, I'm terrible for it. I think it's one of the most common attributes of any writer! It's a strange time in publishing at the moment, isn't it? Honestly though, you could make a book of all your hilarious blog posts - that would be money well spent!

@Maria: Wise words, Maria :) A virtual cup of tea sounds great... a slice of cake even better! You're welcome, I do enjoy your reading your blog :)

@Anonymous: Hi! Thank you for reading my blog post, I'm glad it gave you food for thought. You're so right, the "rat-race" nonsense should just well and truly stay the F away from the world of writing!

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