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The Need to be Interesting

As an author and editor with a burgeoning career in the writing industry, I am one of many who needs to have her voice heard and to gain enough good exposure for name recognition. Part of getting your name out there, being heard, being recognized and advertising for work or promoting your latest sale is blogging. It is an important part of the author's repertoire (or is that portfolio?).

This need for self promotion, a necessary evil for most of the authors out there, can be daunting. Most authors like to be behind the screen, writing whatever fantastical stories they come up with. The need to be interesting as a person is scary and hard on the ego. I sat down at my computer and after reading rm's "Sundries" and jaylake's "Link Salad" and jongibbs' "Writing Links of Interest", I despaired at ever being that interesting. Much less having the time or desire to put together a list of interesting links on a regular basis.

Still, I want to do more than just write about "I sold this story" and "my book just came out, buy it please!" I want to be seen as an interesting person. Not the easiest thing to do when the bulk of my day is spent behind a computer living worlds inside my head. Then again, I realize that things that I do in everyday life that I think are boring can be (and are) interesting to others. I saw the reverse of this with mabfan's Facebook status update on not feeling like an interesting person. I suppose we are all voyeurs at heart.

I guess the trick to being interesting—if there is such an animal—is to be who you are and to occasionally share parts of your personal life without over sharing. It is hard to be personal when authors are castigated for having personal opinions about things other than their writing or other people's writing. It's a fine line. I suppose that's why I occasionally despair at the idea.

Then again, despair and confusion make for good writing sometimes.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 30th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
Right now, my life feels like it's sleep, work, take care of baby girls, sleep. So I'm straining to find the interesting bits... But everyone reminded me that they were still there, inherently.
Jul. 30th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
Your blog entries on Apex though...

Edited at 2010-07-30 09:27 pm (UTC)
Jul. 30th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
I can hardly keep up with you. You are very interesting.
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
Very good post. Mind if I post a link to it?
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:38 am (UTC)
Sure. Not problem.
Jul. 31st, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
... which worked, I'm here via slweippert...

I do have one thing to add to what you said. I think it's OK to express an opinion, even on a controversial topic.. the trick is (a) that that opinion be defensible, and (b) if you do screw up and post something out of line, that you human up and apologize for it, in public.

Case in point, John Scalzi got embroiled in the whole RaceFail brouhaha. John, realizing what he'd done, went and found not one but two authors of color - both ladies! - and asked them for comments, and posted them in his blog. Scalzi is generally recognized as one of the class acts in the geek end of the blogosphere. (There may be a reason for this: His wife, Krissy, is a black-belt martial artist, among other things, and is perfectly capable of kicking his butt! :)

As for how you get that good? Prrrrractice. (Which includes reading good writing, which it looks like you've already got a good start on! Though I do recommend Scalzi if you don't already follow him... he's on hiatus through mid-September, but he's got guests in, including Mary Robinette Kowal, who I think you already know... and who is another good one I picked up through him.)
Jul. 31st, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
You know, trying to be 'interesting' is important, but more important than that, I think, is being interested.

I soon stop reading blogs if the writer doesn't interact with his/her readers.
Aug. 1st, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
I agree with this. I write blog entries to let my readers know something - a sale, a publication, a new book review, some answers to questions about my writing, or things about my life I want to share - and if I stopped being interested in interacting with those readers, I'd stop posting.
Aug. 5th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
I'd also like to sign this as "agreed"
Aug. 5th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
I think about this a lot-- and admire the same writers you mention there. It IS a fine line, and I guess it's in a different place for everyone. But I figure the more we think about it, and the more I can see others thinking about it, like this, the closer I'll get to balancing.

In a decade, I might even be close!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )