Please Kill Me,
Good morning, my alley-way avengers – who hunt down coffee shops, with unhealthy persistence (see you finally got a nice one).
So, I want to discuss two types of Expansion. The first being – your literary pallet. The second, your literary presence. This isn’t a lecture, so you can loosen up your rectum. These are just my takes on them.
As a writer, you’ve no doubt found (or are at least ferociously on the path to discovering) your voice. That’s amazing. Some people go their entire lives living with the vocal chords of a failed collective. So for that, bravo.
The issue does arise however when you try that voice within a genre and end up sticking with that genre. Inevitably the writers block will take hold and (after several panic attacks, a mental breakdown or two, and possibly some days off -due to the vice of your choice) you will begin to search high and low for your inspiration. The fault here is that many people tend to search within their given genre. Ergo, fantasy read fantasies, horror read horrors, thriller read thrillers, etc. Do NOT! Follow this route.
When you search within your own genre, you will discover that many of the things that you will take in , are things that you’ve already studied (and are likely pretty damn good at.) Sure you may pick up some grammatical and structural improvements. That’s great! However, you’re creatively stifling yourself.
One of the worst things that a writer can do is mentally pigeonhole themselves. It’s akin to standing in the center of an empty room, screaming, and hearing your own echo reverberate into you. (Fun, but there is no progress to be had there.)
*Expand your literary pallet. Read something that you would never think to read. I (a fiction writer) tend to consume mass amounts of news, non-fiction, anything as far away from what I create as possible. Not only does this allow for a different voice and view, but it also gives the part of your brain that creates -the (likely) much-needed rest it deserves.
Never forget, time away from actively creating – IS an important part of creating. Not to mention that stepping out of the bubble – is just generally healthy.
Expansion of Social Presence.
I’ve covered this a few times on here, so this should be brief. (Unless you’ve never read those posts. In which case – beat yourself over the head with it.) You need a social presence. Not just because this is the information age, but also because it provides a marvelous platform for an and all work you do.
Imagine the internet as a creative incubator -with several million rooms – and within those rooms, artists. Why would you limit yourself creatively (or otherwise) by always having your door closed? When you shut off from everyone in this way, no matter how much you create, or how good it is, when it comes time to release something (assuming you can, because starting at square one -with a slew of material, that’s never been seen- is daunting, stressful, and outright terrifying.)
When you do this, you’re beginning at, base. Obvious pitfalls of that –
(a.) You don’t want to release it all at once.
(b.) Even if you do, no one is going to stick around to read your 1,000,000,000,000 word magnum opus, in addition to whatever else you release.
(c.) You haven’t built a following. Sad truth is, that people follow people. Making a move like that is a general turnoff.
Remember the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. Take your time. Do it properly. Build a brand. Keep your brand consistent (to create brand loyalty). There’s a method to this. If no one’s told you yet, I’ll break the bad news to you. You’re more than just a writer. All those jobs you think other people will do, nope. It’s all on you. Study your craft. Learn how to market it. Make it work.
Okay, kids, this ran a little longer than I intended it too (Damn you sobriety, you cruel and sullen wench) . However, I do feel that you needed to know those two things. Take heed in the words of the Almighty Asshole.
In My Name We Pray (or don’t, I’m not a god – we just dress alike),