Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why F.A.R.T.I.N.G too much can inhibit creative productivity...

Why F.A.R.T.I.N.G. too much can inhibit creative productivity…
Sometime last March, I woke up with an idea and a dream (actually the dream, led to the idea and so on, but let’s not quibble over semantics right now) and began the journey that was to end with becoming an author.

After the initial pen-and-pad moments, I then moved to laptop and late night writing mode. The specifics of how many nights, and the process will be discussed at a later date or maybe in my memoirs (if anyone evens cares to know that stuff), the eventually, it was all said and done. There finally came a day, after all the edits, rewrites, banging-head-against-wall moments, that it was finally time to release the beast into the land of the living.

On January 23rd (or 24th due to lag time in uploading) DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was published on Amazon and deemed (by the reputable publishing house of; Me, Myself and I) to be fit-for-consumption. This was for all intents and purposes, the most exciting moment in my very short, burgeoning writing career, but this is when the fun would really begin!

After doing the obligatory social media blasts about how awesome this book is, and how “you and your friends and family will thoroughly enjoy the read” and how it is a “must buy”, I began to really sink my teeth into the entire marketing/self-promoting process that any independent author must endure. It is what many in the literary-world consider the beast versus the beauty of actually creatively writing. This is where a writer takes a crash-course in trying to; understand your market; understand the demographic you are writing for; maneuver the vastness that is cyberspace in an attempt to get your product to where it will be received best.
The literary world is filled with huge pitfalls that can swallow up any writer, even those with the best of intentions and a genuinely superb product (not placing myself in this category at all, fyi). The current market for literary works (pick a genre, they all have basically the same ratios) is flooded with traditionally published works, as well as with the nouveau products being served up by the mavericks of the industry; the self-published author (yeah, that be me). It is because of this factor that all of “us” MUST, without fail; learn the business of not just writing for content and quality, but also the business of business. We must learn how to sell, where to sell, whom to sell to, and when is the best time to push a sale. Without true representation and a team of college and grad-school degreed marketing and publicity professionals, it is the responsibility of the independent author to get it done yourself. This leads to many hours spent on a variety of social media and literary websites, trying to glean any and every piece of useful knowledge, trick, advice, etc. about how to get the world-at-large to purchase, read, and fingers crossed, actually appreciate your work of art.

As any writer (be they world-renowned and successful or struggling and inexperienced) can attest to, the art of marketing is in direct opposition to the art of writing. The two should not cohabitate nor should they be on the same plain-of-existence, however, as I have explained, one is a necessary evil of the other; there is just no way around it. This is where the title for this post came from.

Farting is a word that makes most people uncomfortable when hearing it, even worse when they have to experience it in their olfactory. In real-world terms, farting is a normal, natural bodily function that is generally uncomfortable but necessary. It can often leave a bad taste in your mouth (depending on last night’s meal) and makes you self-conscious and uneasy when done around others. It is something most of us would rather avoid at all costs, however, try and hold it in too long and not release it, and see how terrible you feel then. It can lead to cramping, irritability, and just a genuine feeling of malaise. This is the life of self-promotion. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, makes you self-conscious around others (especially those who know you and may have some modicum of respect for you), but if you don’t do it for too long you become irritable (especially after seeing less-than-excited sales results).
This is why I say; F.A.R.T.I.N.G. too much can inhibit creative productivity:
Facebook – The king of all social media (as demonstrated by The Social Network), I can spend hours checking status updates, looking at pictures of new babies; old babies; hot chicks that are friends of friends 15-levels removed from me, checking my book page to see if I have any new Likes or if anyone has left me a flattering comment about my work. Facebook exhausts me on both a personal and professional level, even though at times it can be a fun distraction, distraction, being the operative word though! [-4 ½ hr]
Amazon – The online giant that now controls the distribution of my baby. It is very easy to get lost on their, trying to check reports on how many books I sold within the last hour, 2 hours, 3 hours… you get the point. Then there’s the need to try and find comments about my work, hoping they will be both honest and complimentary. Both the hoping and the actual logging on and off of the author’s part of the site can easily swallow up half a day. [-4 hr]
Rhapsody – not my only music site (I actually now prefer Spotify) but one of the few I use to find just the perfect playlist in which to listen to during blogging, writing, surfing time. Music can be a great source of inspiration, entertainment and distraction during a long day of creation; distraction being the operative word. It takes a lot of valuable time to search for one song, much less a slew of songs you just remembered from your high school days or college or some other time of your life that has long passed you by, but that this one song will allow you to briefly relive. Then there is the rewinding to that favorite song over and over again, or the manipulation of the playlist to just the right sequence to allow for maximum productivity. If making playlist for writers an actual career option, I would be recruited by the best head-hunters out there. [-3 ½ hr]
Twitter – If I ever thought Facebook was tough to leave, holy cow, Twitter is the evil emperor of time wasting. It can literally suck all the time out of a writer’s day. I currently follow: 186 people, groups, organizations (all related specifically to writing or the literary industry) and have 70 followers myself, and between reading random, nonsensical tweets, actual messages of some value, clicking on the links encompassed within, and trying to understand and learn the new language that is Twitter (very much looking forward to the class on social media/understanding twitter being given by @rachelintheoc) I can spend an entire day just on that one site. In the 40 or so minutes that I have been writing this, I have missed: 259 tweets. Now it has taken me 40+ minutes to write this because I am so locked in to this service that I have been alt-tabbing back and forth constantly on the off-chance that I may be missing something time-sensitive and crucial. Now, I will give it its fair due since I have learned and gained a lot from some and I stress; SOME, of the messages on there (shout-out to @frellathon) who has genuinely been a huge help to me recently, but on the whole, it just consumes valuable creativity time and hinders the creative flow. [-8 ½ hr]
Internet Research – Is so big for a new writer. Limited by time and resources, the internet provides a type of; one stop shop, for finding new avenues of promotion and help. The problem is having 50 pages open all at once (because each is equally as important as the next) your computer begins running super slow, and then your time is further wasted trying to figure out which ones to ‘X’ out of and which ones you cannot live without! It also provides a nice distraction throughout the workday, but distraction… well, you get the point by now. [-4 hr]
New anything – New stuff (contacts, websites, emails, tweets, pictures, music, articles, books, etc.) comes at you all day long. There is a constant influx of the new throughout the day, and all of it manages to whittle away at any productivity you may or may not have been capable of in a given day. [-3 hr]
Google – More than just the internet research, now there’s Gmail which receives my emails from about 20 different sources, and Google Friends (which I still don’t know how to use, but sure as heck I click the ‘add’ button on every site I enter). I need to correspond with people in my community and elsewhere, but reading and answering email, searching the web, and all else that is done using Google definitely detracts from an already tight schedule. [-2 ½ hr]

As you can add for yourself, that is a deficit of 30-hours a day (give or take, mostly give) and as we all know, there are only 24-hours in any given day. Notice there is no time allotment for writing, reading, eating, sleeping, or the actual necessity of farting in real-life.

As a self-published writer, it is very crucial to understand how to manage your time, to maximize your exposure and get your name and work out there for all to see (and hopefully purchase); like farting, it is a genuine necessity in life. It can alleviate some stress and allow you to relax afterward, however it certainly can and does inhibit a very integral part of being a writer, and that is; the actually writing of something of substance.

P.S. 394 missed tweets and counting...

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