Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Burn Your Book

I'm not surprised that my more personal blogs get less views. (A lot less.) Other people might take it personally; I don't. When I blog about personal things, I do it for myself, because I want to get it out.

I'm a writer, and I write because it's my personal escape. I write because I love it. But let's face it, I'm not the best writer in the world. My stories won't end wars or start rebellions. I share what I write because I want people to escape with me. Maybe somewhere along the road, I can show them courage or integrity through my characters.

If I want to do that, I have to have readers to read them. And that gets me back to my first point. When I blog about personal stuff, I get less readers. I get less shares.

This is where you choose to continue reading or not. If you feel that you should write exactly what you feel and forget the business aspect of it, thanks for stopping by, but stop reading... because this will only infuriate you.

But, if you believe there is a business, i.e. a selling point to writing please continue...

We pick out our book covers and our style very carefully. We think about what title will catch the readers eye. We think about marketing, venues, themes, etc... But I don't think we stop to think about what makes our story itself sellable. Yes, I said it. Sellable.

There is a genre for almost every type of book, and if there's not, nowadays, we can just make one up. But for those of us who actually want to make a good living writing, we need to write books that can either cross genres or will captivate a large audience in a specific genre.

For those of you who blog, look at your numbers, are the more personal blogs the most popular? Or are the ones that talk about writing or "drama" more popular? Take my article Self Pub Suicide for example. What a stir that caused! Why? Because, for one, I had spelling and grammar errors that people wanted to roast me for (yes, it's true, I'm human). The second reason it was popular was because it's a hot topic, and I was on a rant. People came from all over to either stand behind me or stand against me. Truth is, I didn't even realize that I'd drawn a line in the sand.

That's my point. I drew a line in the sand. I stood up and yelled. People want to see the heart, the fire. When I write my "self realization" blogs, they seem sad. Sad is not fire. There are a number of things that are not fire.... lust, depression, violence. Those are more like matches. They burn for a moment, and then are gone into oblivion the next.

I say all this to point out that most of you have the evidence of what it takes to get people's attention. It's in your blog post numbers. Is what you're writing making people remember what it feels like to be on fire? Is what you're writing going to stir something in them? (Ex: Harry Potter's courage.) Or is it going to burn so violently that what you wrote will scar them? (Ex: American Psycho.)

Write fire into your book. Fire burns, blazes, and catches anything that's around it. Write the stuff that matters to you... and the rest of the world. Find a way to really put that in there. Then write it so that people see it... and I mean really see it. Then, you will have numbers that also burn and grow like fire.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Heaven is Hell and Hell is Heaven: Running Blind Edition

I'm a writer.

I am a writer.

I. Am. A. Writer.

No matter how I say it, sometimes it doesn't feel real. But, it is constantly reverberating and humming away inside of me. I am a writer. There it is. I can hear it now, like the gentle, yet powerful, whir of an engine. It's telling me I am right to write.

My intuition is the same way. You could call it clairvoyance but that sounds stupid to me (too many stigmas). I know everyone has felt eyes on their back or just knew things before. It's like that. It always tells me when something bad is about to happen. I'd be willing to bet most mothers have felt the feeling. It stops your breath in your chest.

They seem so very different, but I believe my intuition and my desire to write come from the same place. This same churning engine hums hymns of sanctity into my ear, that tells me when something is wrong, is also telling me when something is right.

It's extremely difficult to discern between the two, as uneasiness seem to accompany both. I think a lot of people give up trying. I have without even noticing it. I tend to listen to everyone around me instead of to that quiet song that is my inner engine. I give up trying to answer my own questions, and instead I go searching for the answers elsewhere. Then, I wonder where I went wrong, why I'm unhappy. It's like ignoring my best friend... of course I'm not going to be happy! I don't like being ignored, especially when the person that's ignoring me is myself.

Truth is, I'm not sure anyone really knows what their song sounds like any more... it's been too convoluted and twisted into sounding like a conglomeration of everyone else's utopia (read distopia). We're running blind. We can't even see that heaven is hell and hell is really heaven. Maybe if we stopped running and just stood still for a moment, we could hear it again. The song of the engine. Maybe if I just stood still for a while, I could hear it again... that quiet song that guides my steps.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Enigma of Time

They say time heal all wounds.

"They" say.

I'm not saying that I disbelieve this... at least not entirely.

The past few weeks have been a waking nightmare. When you are sick for any extended length of time, you tend to be brought down to some state of desperation. For me, it's a mixture of wanting to feel better, to feel capable of getting out of bed, and to feel progress again. No, it's not life threatening. It makes my days a struggle. It's hard to fight.

It's made me think about my time and my wounds. I wonder if they will ever go away. I wonder if they will constantly be sitting on my shoulders like a dead weight sent to whisper horrible, evil things into my ear.

My monitor blew out.
My laptop isn't recognizing my wifi.
My father had a pulmonary embolism.
A good friend of mine is really sick.
A person hell bent on causing me pain started harrassing me again.
My therapist decided to take the whole month of December off.
Then, there's the typical family holiday issues. I would be worried about mentioning it here, but they'll never read this. My siblings and parents aren't bothered to read my blog.

My family is dishonest. You know those families that get together and talk about the weather? That's my family. Do we have deep dark secrets that we never talk about? Sure. Most of it rotates around not wanting to talk about what happened to me. I've cried my tears about my family. I'm not sorry any more. I just don't like being forced to sit in a room and be mute. I can't stand the tension. I can't stand pretending that things aren't the way that they are. I hate the judgment.

I know fighting for life is important. It's an idea that's been burned into my head. But, sometimes I wonder. On any typical day, I'd fight through this pain. Migraines, back pain, cysts rupturing, nausea, and black out spells would never stand a chance against my drive to live. If I had to be stuck in bed because of my back, I'd be working on my laptop... but not these past two weeks.

I've had too much on my shoulders, and I've given up. In a way, I've let myself just lay down and let my soul die. Sometimes perky, happy, optimistic people break.

Happiness is a choice. It's an uphill battle for me. Once the ball is rolling, it's generally easier. With all the stuff that's happened to me, it's all come to a screeching stop.

I'm on a break.

It'll pass. In the meantime, I'm going to let myself feel this pain, to wallow in it, ... to experience it. I think that sometimes you need to feel the pain in order to grow. If anyone else is feeling miserable this winter, please, don't feel that you are alone. There's light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it. I'm just tired of running to get to it. I'll get there when I get there.