Taking Myself Seriously

Personal Photo. Where they kept powder for the cannons in the Castillo de San Marcos, a fort never taken in battle. St. Augustine.

It’s been such a long time, friends! I’ve been working so hard on my book and feeling like I have nowhere in the world to talk about all the stress, struggles, triumphs and decisions I have to make. Then I remembered I do have somewhere to talk about these things to people who might get it; here!

I worked up the courage to approach the man about the book from my last entry. A while ago, I sent an email, but I never got a response back. I felt a little crushed. I really wanted his perspective on publishing and help with this book. But what I realized is this is my vision and my book, and it’s up to me to get it out there to the world. I wasn’t even close to being ready to share anything that I’d written of the book; I wasn’t even done writing it! I didn’t have a completed chapter yet. I was a mess. I should know better than to reach out before I have anything to send if someone should be interested. It was a rookie mistake.

Since I’ve gone back to the drawing board, I have discovered an interesting thing about my book: I can tie nearly every chapter to the story of Adam and Eve without stretching too much and overselling it. Everything else I want to talk about flows easily out of this pivotal beginning. What I decided to do is to make the Adam & Eve chapter my introductory chapter, to introduce each topic that will be in other chapters as well as to say something of its own. The way that the organization of the book is coming together is really a blessing.

The second inspiring thing happened when I was speaking to my minister a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned that he had read some of the things I had given him to read from my book and he really enjoyed it. It was so encouraging that he had actually read it and took the time to let me know he enjoyed it. There’s nothing like having someone come up to you and give unsolicited praise of your work. When I was in high school, this happened to me a few times and I remember feeling so pleased, especially because of who it was that was speaking. It opens you up like a flower to sunshine. It makes you want to write even more and let’s you know that no matter how fruitless it can seem while sitting with your butt in the chair, it really is worth it. I love when my writing touches people, causes them to look at something a different way, takes them to another place. It’s the best feeling in the world.

What I’m learning with this book is that there is so much depth to writing that I hadn’t touched. By not doing all of the rewriting and extensive proofreading before, I missed out on these stunning revelations and connections that make my writing so much better. I don’t have to read a published piece and regret that I didn’t do more with it or dig deeper now, because I have. I am learning to concisely convey what my book is about, to pitch it to someone and get them excited about it. I am learning that I don’t have to be a one take writer and that I CAN market myself and my work. I am learning to get my butt in the chair even when I don’t feel like it. I’m learning to enjoy the hard work as well as the moments when lightning strikes.

In the coming days, I hope to share many more things about this book and writing with anyone who’s still reading me, or begins to read for the first time.

Happy Writing,

2blu2btru

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Marketing by Submitting

Gandhi drafting a document at Birla House, Mum...

Ghandi I am not... Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking of ways in which I can broaden the readership of my blogs and get my writing self out there. I told you about submitting a short story for possible publication, but in the meantime I want to get more eyes on my blogs. Enter some guest posting!

There are a few blogs that I follow that have guest posting opportunities. They have bigger readerships than mine have, more regular commentors, and will therefore give me more exposure than my recent efforts (one can only force so many of one’s friends to actually read one’s blogs…and those that do will more than likely NOT become regular readers).

I’m not just submitting guest post ideas to them simply to further my readership, however; I really want to participate in their blogs. I love what they are doing and I want a chance to be a part of it. Plus, I need practice submitting things.

I’ve written more┬ácomments in recent months than I think is healthy. I’ve shared the link love on this blog and others. I even make a point of using pingbacks when I want to expand on something someone else brought up. I post daily or weekly on my blogs. I have played around with the design of the blogs and tweak the layouts. I’m having guest posts on my main blog. I’m observing all the laws of blogging etiquette, yet the following hasn’t come. Yes, I write blog posts for me as much as for others, but not getting feedback on some of the issues I am struggling with or validation from a growing readership can make it seem more or less pointless some days.

I’ve never been good at marketing my writing. I’m one of those writers where if people read it, they like it, and will continue to read and be loyal. The thing is, I have trouble getting people to read. As aforementioned, I’ve tried all kinds of promotion, both direct and indirect, and it hasn’t seemed to help. I’m not any closer to any of my writing or blogging goals.

So, how do you develop a readership when none of the traditional things seem to work for you? Is it a case of me wanting to give up too soon (after a year and a half of consistent, quality blogging, and a couple decades of writing in general)? What has helped you develop your following and readership? Do you have guest posting opportunities on your blog?