Executive Prerogative

Switching gears, changing lanes, executive decisions.

A woman’s prerogative.

There is a lot of work for a writer to do that isn’t writing. Building a platform before novel publication seems an impossible task.

WRITER: I’m a writer. Come read my blog!

READER: A  writer with a blog? How totally bizarre, unusual, and original. What do you write?

WRITER: My novels feature strong heroines with suspenseful, romantic and sometimes paranormal elements.

READER: Wow, that’s exactly the kind of books I like to read. How many books have you written?

WRITER: Three.

READER: Three? Oh, goody. Where can I get them?

(Insert sound of air deflating from balloon. P-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-t.)

WRITER: I’ll let you know as soon as I’m published.

Marketing takes time, and though one may be a writer, they may not be a natural marketer. Harder still, a writer may enjoy marketing their book, but marketing oneself is a little different, and can make some authors cringe. Me? I cry in a corner, then put my author hat on and come out smiling. The knee-knocking isn’t nearly so noticeable when I’m sitting down.

Yet we must have a platform. Agents want to know we have a network. Get on Facebook, Tweet until your thumbs fall off, join a writing association, build a readership.

The same stuff every other writer is doing.

What else, what else… Think-think-think.

Present a workshop. Neato! Except, teaching fellow emerging writers means you know something they don’t yet know. You want them to listen to you, you want them to lick the sharpened tip of their lead pencil and set it to paper, taking note of every ounce of wisdom that drips from your tongue. You want them to absorb each nugget of information on every slide in your presentation.

You have to be credible.

Credibility comes with sales. Credibility comes with publication.

Hark! I have a published book. Storyteller, my collection of short stories. SQUEE!

And one of my shorts won an award. An award named for an author synonymous with short stories: Alice Munro.

Yippee and yahoo! Now that’s impressive!

And so I drafted a presentation on short story structure, using my shortest short, Sweet Dreams, as the basis. Item # 3 on my Life List reads:

Workshop presentations

  • Short Story Structure, spit & polish
  • Platform before Publication, write
  • Seek out venues to present
And now, end of May, I look at this item and realize, this is not going to happen. At least not this year.
Sunny day, shade of an umbrella, glass of wine with a long-time, non-writing friend. Friend shares this innocent observation:
“I see your Facebook updates, but they’re about blogs and other writers. When do you write?”
The question stings, as valid questions do.
I work on my writing career a minimum of five days per week. I write an impressive word count everyday. And yet, I am four months behind my writing schedule.
I’m not working on my work-in-progress. I am not editing, I am not producing new words, I am not revising nor am I drafting an outline for the next book in the queue.  And y’all know I haven’t been exercising. Snort.

Image uploaded from Wikipedia

I’m writing blog posts. Necessary. I’m networking. Necessary. But let’s face it,
Something’s Got to Give.

Interesting that this phrase is also the title of Monroe’s unfinished film.

And so, the time has come to make decisions. Weeding out my Life List closet, I hold the hanger beneath my chin, press the fabric to my waistline, and twirl before the mirror.

The goal’s a little snug, but it still fits. If I pair it with a funky pair of sandals, I can get some use out of it this summer. A BBQ, perhaps? A day at the races?

Ah, but what shall I miss at home when I’m out exercising this workshop presentation goal? Progress on my work-in-progress?

Damn straight.

I have a decision to make, and so I make it. For the good of all else on my list, I shall sacrifice presentations. At least for this year.

First, I paraphrase Bobby Brown: I made this list, you didn’t. Right, Gloria? And then, I quote Bobby Brown, It’s My Prerogative. 


12 responses to “Executive Prerogative

  1. Squeee! A goal-setting, trimming back, and corporate lingo article that rocks with visuals of me you sorting through your closet. [Cue boogie down music,]

    Yes, I know why my name is up there. It’s because during one of our Emoticon-riddled whine chat sessions, I spoke with great angst and many tyops* about lack of forward progress on my book and my glob* identity. Why-oh-why don’t I write with abandon and finish this ms as quickly as I finished the the first two? Why-oh-why are my most productive, creative hours consumed by social media? Why-oh-why have I steam cleaned my bathroom floors (again!) instead of exercising?

    I still think your IDK, Why? responses were C&P, but it doesn’t matter. The answer was there all along. I had to prioritize and trim back my to-do list. I had to tell inner editor Gracie and those nit-gnat goals to FOCUS. (Yes, Jenny H., that one’s for you). GREAT article.

    *intentionally left as tyoped

  2. I can relate Sherry. I refer to the existential angst we sometimes feel as the unbearable lightness of being a writer. Thank you for sharing!

  3. And thank you for reading, Gary.

  4. Smart move. I agree – I used to write a lot more before I had to work on my ‘platform.’ I wonder how Steinbeck would have done, or Hemingway, or S. Plath, if they’d had to market their work instead of writing? Urgh. Thanks for being so honest about how we all feel (or at least I do!). :+0

  5. Sacrifices have to be made. I decided to spend more time on individuals, making one personal contact every day – an email, a FB message, whatever. I spend less time on social networking than I did at the beginning of the year. And I’m writing more, yeah! Not published yet, no, there have been a few roadblocks, but that’s one of my goals for this year.

  6. Pingback: Mr. Popular: Do We Like Dexter Morgan Too Much? « Sonia G Medeiros

  7. I struggle with balancing too. Lately, it’s been hard for me to keep up with the blog, especially commenting, replying and visiting other blogs. I hate that because I love the conversation and I love the way other bloggers inspire and educate me. And I haven’t been getting as much writing done as I’d like either. Part of this is because work (I work at home building blogs for a real estate website) has been super busy and we’ve had a lot of chaos at home (all good, but still hectic). Something’s gotta give and I don’t want to be either my writing or my blogging. So…I’ve got some decisions to make in the near future too.

  8. Looking ahead at our Milestone Party next month, I’ll be pairing back and readjusting, too. I’m doing more writing but, totally behind on SM except for blog commenting and keeping up with my own *glob* (love that, Gloria!). That’s the great thing about lists – you can move, change, morph any or all of your list goals as you need to. I think of my life list as a guide – the most important goals will have steps to reach them and those steps sometimes take longer than we expect.
    No guilt, Sherry! Priorities, life, goals all change and we have to change with them.

  9. You know it’s all about priorities and what will make the biggest impact. I commend you for making difficult decision and still moving forward. That’s what

  10. Pingback: Surprisification | The Life List Club

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