Queen of Spades
Throwback Tuesday: My Ink Drips Passion
Greetings everyone! Queen of Spades here. I know that Thursdays are usually the day people pick for throwbacks, so I opted to select Tuesdays instead.
Although All Authors Magazine is no longer in circulation, I find myself thinking about the work I put into the publication, particularly my segment "A Queen's Ramblings". I've decided on one Tuesday of each month, I will dedicate to sharing a throwback that was featured in one of the past issues of the magazine.
Today's pick is from way back in 2014. It's entitled "My Ink Drips Passion".
My Ink Drips Passion
I spend my moments of quiet in episodes of introspection, laced with shards of intensity. On occasion (read many occasions) I tiptoe on extrospective travels. It is those times when the air is cloudy and to expect turbulence during the flight. The moodiness of individuals is akin to motion sickness or covering one’s eyes, praying the plane lands safely.
My beat has always been about passion throughout my life. Whether in school or at work, my goal is to put out optimum performance. Yet in this climate, there are more examples appearing which demonstrate that productivity is no longer at the top of the chart when it comes to expectation.
Look at the writing world, for instance. In an environment where anyone who knows how to use a computer and follow instructions on such platforms like CreateSpace, Amazon, and Smashwords can claim to be a published author, sapphires get lost in cubic zirconias. Best Sellers are dressed up in numerous over the top reviews and a beautiful cover—only to discover the content is akin to Schlitz Malt Liquor as opposed to Dom Perignon. In the meantime, those authors who may not have the financial or social media backing can have masterpieces that are not seen or selling.
Should those authors who don’t have a Street Team or familiarity with Twitter hashtags dare to compete? Do we go and scavenger every article out there on how to crack the Amazon algorithm? Must authors behave like door-to-door online salesmen, knocking at all reviewers’ doors to pimp their advanced reader copies? Or just adapt to the reality that it takes money to make money and spend exorbitant amounts on services just for the names attached?
I am not going to say that marketing is a bad thing. Marketing is one of those necessities. There is more to being an established author than just hitting the publish button. How is anyone going to see it if you don’t talk about it? With the presentation of the work, an author has to also craft the narrative in conjunction with the work, unless one is traditionally published and public relations does it for you. Even in the latter situation, the author may not be completely satisfied with the marketing direction but because of being traditionally published, hands may be tied.
One of the side effects of the marketing race is it threatens to erode passion. Passion for words is the heartbeat of writing. In my experience, I have gotten so spent on developing catchphrases to promote a work that the time I wanted to invest in new projects has evaporated. Sometimes, the vigor will return in a few hours or even a few days. Yet there have been spells when weeks or months have gone by prior to my jotting down new ideas or directions for works in progress.
Many solutions have been proposed to me in regards to the cure. One has involved carving out blocks of time to do just marketing, even to do it at my job. Yet some workplaces do have varying viewpoints when it comes to Facebook and Twitter (aka not approved). Since I have not made enough with my writing to retire in Tahiti, the risk of performing this during my daytime hours is too risky. It’s not like the founders of Facebook and Twitter will hire me if I lose my job due to “abusing the Internet policy.”
That’s the cue for outright laughter or nervous giggles.
Eliminating the eight-hour workday, that leaves the remainder of the time I have at my home. (Looking around to see if my husband is nearby—okay, the ghost is clear!) It is very different when you are a single person writing as opposed to being a married person writing, or one who has children. Even if your husband is understanding and supportive of the writing, he can have a brat moment. An off day or he just wants your full undivided attention and cannot wait until that last thought hits the computer screen. That can take a few minutes or even a few hours.
After work hours and time with loved ones, finally I can get my social media on! I log into Twitter and see so much on the timeline. People have recently followed me, so I must do research to see if they warrant a follow back. Then, of course, I have to do some retweeting; if I don’t, then I’ll be accused of not doing constructive marketing. By the time I’ve done that, forty-five minutes have passed. Oops, almost forgot about Facebook! While on Facebook, various messages are in my inbox and invitations to games I like to play.
Maybe if I take a quick break for just fifteen minutes …
So many rounds of Pudding Pop, Candy Crush Saga, and Facebook messages later, over two hours have passed. Gee, look at the time! I have to get some sleep for my workday tomorrow.
Oh well, guess that block of time thing was an epic fail.
AutoTweet services were proposed next. Sure sounds like the way to go, since I don’t live off Twitter. However, the weirdest things were sent with my name attached to it. A brand of toaster whose name was unfamiliar to me. Support of an art gallery in Australia. The nail in the coffin was when an AutoTweet attached to my name advocated an inflatable dildo! Not exactly the best way to attract new people to my writings. Besides, it costs extra money to customize the messages and control the timings—best invested in quality editing services, thank you very much!
The more marketing advice that was submitted, the bigger my migraine. My episodes of writer’s block are more soothing than these jackhammers of help. On one hand, I do not want these members of the writing community to deem me ungrateful. Yet, on the other hand, I feel like a square peg trying to jam myself in the round hole, pretending to be comfortable and failing miserably.
Another thing failing: producing my writing. I’m not even talking about finishing the pieces—just adding elements to get to the next section in the story. My brain is so thick with strategy that streamlined creativity is buried. All marketing aside, I’m still one hundred percent writer and one hundred percent writer should remain my primary focus.
This year, I have come to a decision. It risks being an unpopular one. Yet I am a snoot for the creative process and where I love to place my energy. It is the only time when my passion feels genuine as opposed to manufactured. This is where I am at my most abundant.
I am taking off my marketing racing shoes. My arches burn in pain; I cannot keep up with the sprinters.
I am waving my white flag. I do not feel comfortable exposing my blood, sweat and tears continuously for less than pennies on the word at McDonald-esque menus of electronic publishing.
Keep fighting the endless battles; I’ve seen enough collateral damage.
The production is the key. I firmly believe people will keep coming if you have something of quality, regardless of whether it is seen on social media or not. The past writing greats didn’t have the vehicle to rely on--they were fueled solely on the finished product and word of mouth. I’ve always been an admirer of grassroots.
Yet this is the only surefire way to preserve the beat of my pen. Because to survive in the writing game, passion should never have an off switch.