23000 words to go, 19 days (or 18 depending on where you are). For those doing maths literacy (who the hell thought up that crap idea anyway), that’s well ahead of the 1667 per day I need to finish. I tried for 30000 this weekend but some dreaded bug doing the rounds has decided I will be its latest host and has set up shop. Thankfully you don’t need to drag words across a hot coal throat to write but it does tend to dampen the spirits somewhat.
So what’s this blog entry about? Word count. Education. Illness. Nano. (again!) To be honest as I write this sentence I don’t know. You see, I have lots to say but I don’t know if I should say it or if anyone would want to listen to the raving antics of deranged grey matter Do you write what you want to write or do you censor it based on who you think will read it or some unconscious desire to conform to the accepted norms of society? Do you write things that build a public image of yourself that is the cliché mask you layer with paint and feathers till everyone says wow?
Read an article in the local daily this morning about minding what you say and do on social networks lest a moment of madness cause a lifetime of unfair categorisation and horror. So you make an innocent quip about a concert being to die for and then you find out that someone actually did die in an accident at the concert – now you are named an insensitive git and cast out of your over-sensitive and always politically correct social circle.
Granted, what you put on the Net stays forever and you may just want to refrain from acting like a raving loony but does that mean we have to censor ourselves and our on-line image all the time?
I have always tried to stay away from social networks and building any on-line presence, but as a budding writer, I feel that I need to start getting out there. Lots of my favourite authors are doing it, but I have yet to find a comfortable balance between laying out the raw me (that is likely to offend some) vs. a censored and perhaps toned down version that, on average, more people are going to like. (yes, and hopefully buy books when I get to publish them).
Take Piers Anthony, Margaret Atwood and Dan Simmons – all great authors (in my opinion) but if you have read any of their blog postings you tend to build a view of them that is distinctly personal and separate from what you think of their work. Sometimes quite positive and other times a little bit negative – hey I like his book but he’s gone a little off the reservation lately. Then you get someone like Neil Gaiman, another brilliant author, but his posts, while personal are light (vs deep and controversial) and I find myself liking the author and wanting to try out more of his work. And lastly you get the authors whose on-line presence seems to revolve solely around their book(s) and related activities or events – some of them include my favourites. Nothing wrong with that, but as a reader I feel no attachment and cannot decide if I like the author or not and this seems to cloud my view of their work.
So we have authors whose on-line personae range from purely professional “about my books” to people who will write a thesis on their personal political opinions. And everyone in the middle…. and where does that leave me? Limbo land till I can figure out what would work and not be some fake representation of a better me (or just a different me).