Tag Archives: memoir

Is writing significant?

Significance: image by Kev Howlett
Significance: image by Kev Howlett

There are many reasons why people write. Over the next few blogs, we are going to look at some of those reasons. Is writing significant?

Humans want to feel significant, to have some meaning or reason to be alive on this earth. For many it isn’t enough just to work, raise a family, build a life, retire then die despite the fact that you could argue that is the reason why we exist. Our existence is much more layered than that and we are complex beings consisting of a range of spiritual and emotional depths.

This is where art comes in and why it’s so very important to us. We use art to make sense of our world, our selves and our worth. We want to know why we are here and what impact we have by being here. We don’t like to think that we are just a tiny dot in the history of time (even though we are and it’s humbling to realise this).

Is it ego that drives this need? I’m no psychologist or philosopher, so I can’t really say too much about this but I do understand the driving need to feel significant after working with other writers and from my own writing practice.

So is writing significant, does it leave something significant for when we are dead and gone? I would say it does. For every writer out there toiling over the page, trying to get thoughts and ideas into some kind of shape, they are making sense of the world. It might be in poetry, a novel or a self-help book, even a children’s book. All of these forms have truth and impart the writer’s reality and knowledge. How good or bad the writing is beside the point because the writer is finding ways to express him/herself, looking for meaning in life. This becomes significant in two ways: the writer has created something and the world is given a creation (good or bad).

Of course, we can argue that art needs to be good. What does that mean exactly when art is subjective? Any piece of art can create discussion and relevance in a good or bad way. I agree that we should strive to create something of value in terms of skill and outcome but at the end of the day, who is to say that someone’s poem isn’t worthy of existing if it isn’t deemed perfect in the realms of poetry? Who are these gatekeepers that tell us that a piece of writing isn’t written well so it isn’t worth anything? It becomes about relativity. One person’s writing can have a significant impact on some readers but not others and yet it is significant to the creator.

Blaise the book chick

I Hate Selling (my book)

Marketing4Writers: selling your book
Marketing4Writers: selling your book

Do you hate selling? Once upon a time a writer could sit at a desk and scribble away at her masterpiece without thinking about what came next. Once it was published (if it got published) the publisher would take care of the publicity and sales and the writer would wait for the cheques to come in and continue with the next writing project. Sounds nice huh?

But have you noticed how many ‘writers’ are out there? And how many people are now bringing out books? This flooding of the market is thanks to digital technologies: it’s easier to type up your story thanks to computers and it’s quicker and easier to edit thanks to computer software and then it’s easier and cheaper to actually publish thanks to digital printing. I don’t think that this is a bad thing. I’m all for people getting their thoughts, stories and ideas out into the marketplace. What worries me is that writers are putting a lot of time and effort into creating these products and then becoming despondent when they don’t sell any books.

A book is a product. I tell people to treat it like a business. Each product needs your attention to make sure it has the best chance of success. If you really hate marketing and sales, you’ll need to make sure you organise someone who loves them. If you’ve been published traditionally, your publisher should take care of this but even that can be limited if you’re a first time published author.

Many writers don’t like the spotlight on them but if you want your book to do well, you’re going have to do something about this. Exposure is the only way to get the word out. It isn’t enough to write a great book if no one knows that it exists. You don’t want your book to be that tree in the forest when it falls, and no one hears it.

Don’t think of it as selling. Technically, you don’t need to sell anything. All you need to do is get your book known in the marketplace, with the right reader and the sale will follow. It’s not a big ask to get someone to hand over $20–30 for an item if you manage to convince them that it has something in it that they want.

It’s time for writers to stop complaining about their books not doing well if they aren’t doing anything to get the exposure. It’s a simple fact of the modern marketplace, where your book is competing for space amongst so many others. Get savvy with social media and get out there in front of people. Time to toot your own horn, even if it irks you.

Look out for opportunities to learn about how to market your book. Your local writers’ centre is a great place to start, and ask your local library if you can do a book talk, or get on social media.

We run regular workshops on writing, publishing and marketing at Busybird Publishing and have an awesome one this Saturday with Sara Hood from Marketing4Writers. Book in now and get selling!

Blaise, the book chick