I had an epiphany the other day. While I was on the phone with my daughter, I decided to get active on Twitter. I had been told that all successful writers needed to be on Twitter just like they needed an author facebook page—got one of those, too. (@kristyswords ,Twitter handle and Kristy Tate,novelist, Facebook) So while I chatted with Bethany I clicked and followed fellow writers on Twitter. I know the conversation couldn’t have lasted for more than a half hour, but when I ended my phone call I was shocked to see I had followed more than 900 writers. (That was my criteria for following them-they had to be writers—although I did accidentally follow “fartjar”. Not too excited to learn what fartjar has to share.) Most of these writers I have never heard of—and about half of them have followed me in return (which was the goal.)
Here’s my epiphany—with so very many people looking to be recognized (and paid) for their writing—what are my chances of every being able to buy the lake house in Washington? This should have been a sad moment. I should have been overwhelmed with loss and discouragement yet, that’s not how I felt at all. It was incredibly freeing to take money out of my writing equation (although it sucks for my long suffering spouse, but I can’t feel so sorry for him since he’s always first one to discourage me from finding a job.) I don’t have to market my books. I don’t have to attend conferences. I really don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.
Which was interesting, because you would think that with this new insight I would stop writing, stop posting on my blog, stop fiddling with my author facebook page and stop tweeting. But instead of abandoning it all for a lucrative real estate career—I was excited about the next scene in my book, pleased with my blog post and happy about the picture I found for my author page—and I have about 100 new twitter followers (even though I’m not sure what to do with them.) Since then, the page views on my blog have doubled.
What did I do differently? I emptied out the e-mail account that I use for writing—deleting more than 8,000 messages. I’ve wondered if I’ll continue to go to writer’s group and decided that I’ll go when I want to go and stay home when I want to hang out and read in my pajamas. I’ll still look for promotional opportunities—but I no longer have to—because none of it matters. I will do what I want, if I want to (writing-wise, that is—I’ll still do things I don’t want to do, like clean toilets and showers, not because I want to, but because I like clean toilets and showers.)
So, in the scheme of my days, nothing has really changed, except my attitude and my expectations. And ever since my epiphany, my head has been flooded with marketing ideas. Maybe I’ll get around to them. Maybe I won’t.