Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I meant to do that…

One of my favorite lines of Pee Wee Herman’s is “I meant to do that.” Usually said after falling on his face.

What was funny about it (and it still makes me laugh) is the implication that every mistake is somehow a failure and that we must hide our mistakes behind protestations that we did whatever foolish thing we did on purpose, making it not so foolish, but rather wise and well-thought-out.

But making mistakes is part of being human, and if you want to be a great writer (raising my hand tentatively), you have to own all parts of being human to help prevent hardening of the creative mind and keep your characters from becoming cardboard cutouts who either have no flaws, or are so evil they’re cartoons. Sooooo…

If you’re noticing the blog posts I removed, I made a boo-boo and I’m going to admit it to you now. Here goes: me being a fallible human being. I can do this, really I can.

What happened is this: I kept hearing that I had to have a “platform” as a writer. I read some books about how to build one. I tried to figure out what kind of “platform” I was going to build.

Options for novelists wanting to build an oh-so-essential platform:
  1. Write a blog about writing.  Why not? Well there are TONS of blogs about writing. So many, another will just be static, another screaming voice in the melee. Also, I’m a fairly new writer. I’m still learning. Personally, I don’t believe that novices should teach. I’ve written tons of short stories, some of them published, plus two novels (one a trunk novel that will never see the light of day and one that will be published this year), but I wouldn’t call myself a pro just yet. Someday, maybe after I have at least five published novels I may start to give advice. Not now.
  2. Write a blog about my subject matter. Uh…what subject matter? I’m a fiction writer and will write about lots of subjects. My latest book is about mothers and daughters set on a remote island in the Great South Bay of Long Island. My current book as nothing to do with that. My idea for the book after that is also very different.
  3. Write a blog about books. I love books and read tons of novels annually. It’s not a stretch to believe I could write excellent reviews on books. Bunch of problems though:
  • I can’t do it. Write a scathing review, that is. Why? Because I know exactly how hard it is to write a novel. I’ve written two so far, and they were both like giving birth. Now I’m working on a third and the labor is agonizing. I just can’t rip apart someone else’s pride and joy. And hey, guess what? Just because I hated a novel doesn’t mean thousands of others won’t love it. Many beloved books have been on the receiving end of a tear-em-apart book review or ten.
  • There are TONS of book bloggers and review sites. It’s not like there aren’t enough of them.
  • I don’t want people asking me to review their book. Being a softie means that if it’s a book I don’t like, I might feel bad for the person and give their book a more flattering review than it merits. Right now, if someone wants me to read their book or just has a book recommendation, I can read it (assuming I find the time – my to-be-read pile towers high) and like it or not. No one gets hurt.

So, I started writing a book recommendation blog, a blog where all I wrote was about books I loved. But even that was stressing me out, because, you see, I already get up every day at 4:00 am in order to have time to write as I also have a full-time day job. In order to properly research the book, make notes on it, and read enough books to blog regularly on them (wow, book bloggers, have I  mentioned how much I admire you? Seriously!), I would have to cut deeply into my writing time. You know, stop me from achieving my ultimate goal: to be a professional novelist, preferably full-time. That is pure craziness.

When I realized exactly how little time I was spending on the actual writing of my next book, I stopped, looked around, and said, “What the hell am I doing???” I just deleted all the old posts except for the first one because I loved it too much to hit delete.

Here’s what I will be blogging about: my book releases, any special deals for readers, and anything I think my readers would actually be interested in. BTW, that means there will not be posts about the tuna fish sandwich I ate for lunch or other ramblings. I will post when there’s something worth posting about, something that I would want to see if my favorite author wrote a blog.

I hereby dedicate this blog to my readers. It’s all you guys!

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