Jon Katz over at Bedlam Farm posted an interesting article about the new world of writing. It seems like everyone these days, including myself, is struggling with the idea of what the writing world is becoming. As writers—i.e., people who subsist on attracting the attention of others—changing media formats can be a frightening prospect. We live and die by our exposure to our target audiences. When the nature of that exposure diminishes or is reformatted, we struggle to keep ahead of the curve.
Jon Katz says that the new writer will no longer be a sequestered, attic-dwelling hermit living off publisher’s advances and refusing to participate in the outside world. The new writer is someone who actively engages the world, running websites, hosting events, coordinating with Facebook and Twitter and tumblr and all the rest of them and beating down doors to sell copies of his book. It sounds manic, and I’m not entirely looking forward to it. But that’s mostly because it’s unexplored territory and there’s nothing in my experience to guide me through it. It’s all guesswork. Will this work? Will that work?
Try it and find out.
There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than writing, but it’s a little scary at times. There’s no sure outcome, but I suppose that’s true for almost everything. You make your way, you get through it, and you come out the other side with some lessons. My hurdle at the moment is not only writing my book, but developing my online presence. I’m learning the tools to do that, and it’s a tricky but rewarding journey. Seeing followers slowly accumulate and meeting people and making contacts is definitely a huge incentive to keep going. There’s nothing more pleasing as a writer than finding people who are interested in your work and want to know more about what you’re doing.
So here we go! I will do this as long as I can, and I will enjoy every step of it. Even the rejections are a step forward, because if you’re smart you learn from it. Only the prospect of failure is intimidating, but I feel oddly convinced that when it comes down to it, that really isn’t a possibility. I believe in what I’m doing, and I feel certain that with passion and dedication there will be reward.