There's a good discussion going around the blogosphere about all these writing blogs. Dave White is frustrated that they're too much about promotion and marketing, and not enough about writing. He says:
But at the same time, isn't one of the best ways to start promoting a book, writing a good one? Why can't we talk about different ways to get better and exchange thoughts about how to become BETTER WRITERS and better promoters? Isn't there a balance to that? Somehow, I feel like writing the book should be the MOST IMPORTANT THING, but when I read blogs, it isn't.
Mark Terry seems to be having a down day about all the promotion blogs, too.
... there's a part of me that wants very much to step aside from the marketing and promotion aspect of novels and say, "We're all pretty much wrong, you know. Nobody knows what makes books sell. N-O-B-O-D-Y." The more rational side of me suspects that this kind of success isn't planned, it just happens.
I suspect that a whole lot of it is bullshit. It sure sounds like BS sometimes, but you know what? It can be some pretty helpful BS at times.
Talking about writing has the same problem. Part of my "dig deeper" motto for the year is to study, analyze, and understand what makes a novel work and why. Most of what I come up with is NOT what the author had in mind when she/he wrote that phrase/scene/whatever. It begs the question: is all this study bullshit?
Even after all that study and analysis, I don't bring it (that often) to my keyboard. I pray that it's rooted somewhere in my subconscious, that it will just fizzle up and through my words.
Besides, someone always comes along and breaks all the rules, and writes an amazing novel that sells spectacularly.
I have a little theory that you've heard me share before. I've noticed that top pianists have impeccable rhythm. They never let the rhythm and pacing falter for an instant. Each of the top pianists also have their own sort of personal rhythm. My theory is that this applies to novels, too. I'm testing it out on Robert Gregory Browne. When he's a NYT bestselling author within the next decade, I'll be able to say, "I told you so."
Or, I could just be full of shit. :-)
Besides, I can name a few bestselling authors with horrid rhythm. Not many, but a few. There's always exceptions to every rule, which is the problem when you're studying something creative.
All the BS on writing and promoting, however, has lots of pros: 1) A lot of it helps. 2) Some of it works. 3) All of it makes us a little (or more) better.
Best of all?
It gives us hope and the illusion of control.