My friend and fellow writer, Andre L. Davis*, is a self-described recovering marketing professional. For the past two+ years, we’ve enjoyed frequent meetings of the minds around town, talking shop over dinner and beers at some of our favorite local hangouts. It’s particularly fun since Andre and I, though we both fall under the sci-fi banner, write completely different kinds of sci-fi. He’s into epic, sweeping stories that span interstellar distances, pitting one civilization against another. Dark, urban biopunk is more my speed. But for both of us, the goal is the same: to write excellent stories that speak to you, that sink their teeth in and refuse to let go. And just to complicate matters, we must then, as relative unknowns, figure out how to get your attention, how to stand out amidst the constant bombardment of “Buy me! Read me! Try me!” messages that saturate our lives every day. It’s like trying to be heard over the roar of a jet engine at full throttle.
For better or worse, I’ve always been a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of guy. Sometimes this gets me into trouble, like when my mouth starts running a step or two ahead of my brain or when I cave to some irrational, passion-fueled fancy, but by and large, I’m grateful for this trait. The highs and lows are beautiful yet brutal, providing perfect fodder for my work. And because I lead with my heart, wearing it around for everyone to see – and especially because I’ve always been like this – I think sometimes I forget that not everyone feels the same.
So here I am: inexperienced, zealous beyond belief, SHOUTING over the jet roar as my heart throbs wildly on my sleeve. I know I’m spewing my mind’s bloody gore every which way as I try to simply. be. heard. but I hope you’ll excuse me; I’ve never been any other way.
Thus far, I’ve spent a lot of time writing here (and on my Facebook page) about who I am, where I come from, and what I’ve experienced these past three years as I’ve written my fingers to the bone, chasing my artistic ambitions. But who really cares about all that? My family and friends, sure, but they have a vested interest. They’re biased. What about other writers? I know I like reading about the writing process, about what others experience as they toil away behind the scenes, but in all likelihood that’s because I, myself, am a writer. I geek out to that stuff. The typical person, though, who ekes out a little slice of quiet time each day to read, probably doesn’t care so much about how my latest draft is coming along or how many rewrites I’ve completed. They just want a riveting story to read or a new nugget of knowledge to absorb. As for all this “writing process” mumbo jumbo, that’s all well and good, but – ahem – when can we read the story? When are you going to give us something juicy to chew on? Please and thank you.
Last week during a discussion about this very topic, Andre (in his recovering-marketing-professional wisdom) suggested that I spend some time curating interesting content on my website and Facebook page. Links to photos, articles, and stories that I find fascinating, funny, or just a pleasant diversion from a day otherwise occupied by routine. The rationale? If I, as a writer, science fiction fan, and lover of all things science, find these topics of interest, other people who share my interests will, too. That builds value in my brand, my name, my presence. I’m providing something that people wish to consume, which is exactly what writers (all artists, for that matter) must do.
With Andre’s advice in mind, I’ve already started revamping my Facebook page. Within the past week, I’ve shared at least half a dozen links that will help give you some idea what interests me and what you can expect from me. Eventually, you’ll be able to step back and see how all these little snapshots fit together to form a cohesive picture, a mosaic of my mind.
Of course I’ll still post updates about my writing milestones, but that won’t be my sole focus. I’m going to tuck my heart away for a little while in order to give you a glimpse of my mind.
Hope you enjoy the view…
* For more information about Andre and his work, check out his website and follow him on Facebook.