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Writing Basics getting lost behind all the Buzzing (with bonus buzzing tips)

I spent the last few days drifting in and out of the SPOC (Self Publisher's Online Conference). As with the last conference I attended (OWFI) I couldn't help but leave ready to write, succeed, publish--even Start an Empire. (see day 3)

And then, this morning, I woke up.

I mulled over all I've been learning and relearning. I love it all-- learning about writing, learning about marketing, hearing the different perspectives. But how much is too much? I figure if all of the hours I've spent teaching myself-- by reading books, magazines, blogs and attending workshops--were added up, I'd be pretty close to an MFA or Masters in Marketing by now.

Just like getting my real degree (B.S. In Human Communication*/minor in Business**) didn't come with instant success in life, learning all of this writing/marketing information does me no good if I don't act on it.

So, that's a plan.

Act on it.
I'm appreciative that I've learned so much. I feel confident passing on advice when asked. My toolbox is full of helpful implements and gadgets that will propel the next Big Idea into the world. However, all of the tools are not hung neatly on their own little hooks in the garage of my mind. I know exactly where to go if I need to find one, especially for someone else.*** But still, they are scattered all around in hastily assembled piles and I'm tripping over them when trying to decide what to focus on next.
For example, here are some of the Most Important Ways to Create a Buzz about your writing from the last few weeks:
That last one--it should be first. And yet, more than 80% of what is stuffed into my brain these days seems to be about the marketing. So instead of concentrating on the writing, I often find myself wandering around the tools, examining this one, discarding that, trying to decide which one to use next. In the meantime, my novel gathers dust, the notes for my memoir don't get expanded on, the short pieces I planned to write for contests or other submissions get set aside and deadlines pass.

Yes, I realize that writing IS a business. But even in that sentence, writing comes first.
It is easy to see why some beginning writers drop out before they even finish their first work. They are just trying to get their first draft done, and get a little help from a conference or workshop, and they're bombarded with all of the marketing tools. Suddenly, they are too distracted trying to keep up with their Necessary Blog or their Very Important Tweets that they can't remember where they left their characters.****
Yes, work on getting known before your book comes out. Pick a few manageable tools to work with, then concentrate on your writing. Don't try and do it all at once. As your writing, editing, fine-tuning, and publishing start coming together, you can begin to take on a few more of the marketing tasks as they make sense. With practice, you will learn to juggle a few of those tools at a time. And you'll be ready to stop juggling each day to work on the thing that started the juggling in the first place. The writing.

* Yes, that is kind of funny when you think about it--didn't someone think about the acronym more closely? I mean, I took statistics in order to get that "science" part of my bachelor degree designation, and yet, the whole B.S. Label makes my degree sound like something I made up, or that I mastered the art of B.S.-ing. "B.S. In Human Communication? So, you learned that people talk to each other. Duh. I could've told you that, without the student loans."

**I liked school so much, I felt guilty for taking just the fun and interesting stuff and thought it important to learn how "real jobs" work, because I was sure I was going to have to get one someday.

*** My house is miles away from organized, and yet if my hubby asks me where that one scrap of paper is that he scribbled some nonsense (probably guitar chords or something) on last Tuesday, I somehow know exactly where it is.

****When I started this blog, my main character was leaning over a bathroom sink in a fast food joint, rinsing Sun-In out of her hair. I left her there for 2 months. Ouch.

Do you find some of the tools helpful (for example, does your blog keep you writing on the days you don't feel like it, does posting your writing goals on Facebook keep you motivated)? Does all the pressure to "buzz" about your writing take away from the reason you started writing in the first place? Do you know what that reason is?


  1. As some well known media character whose name I can't remember would say, get out of my head. I find the tools that I'm employing helpful, but for me they do tend to distract from the main objective -- finishing my writing projects. Fb, Twitter, etc., are all great for both creating buzz and sustaining motivation but one has to be careful to keep them from becoming entertainment time sinks. Work now, play later.


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