Something I said recently to a fellow writer at a con – someone who had multiple publications in a variety of genres through large, small and self published means. He didn’t feel he had the right to speak about writing on a particular topic on a panel because he had only published one book in that genre and it was co-written.
The Imposture Syndrome eats at you as a writer or artist. “I’m not good enough.” “Everyone knows I am faking it.” “Why do people think I can ‘adult’ this?” “I didn’t learn this in school.” “I’ve only done it once.” … the list of the internalized dialogue goes on and on.
Thanks to our culture, it’s worse for women than men, but no one is safe. Even if you have been a published author for years and years. Even if you were the point of a very long spear of people getting you to a remote location.
Neil Gaiman’s anecdote really brings this home. You can find it at his blog here: May 12, 2017.
So when your impostor syndrome flairs up, remember the malady is common … and tell that inner voice it doesn’t become you.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Play it Safe
Having just attended ConCarolinas, and with Con-Gegate, Pennsic, and Dragon Con around the corner which between them will have me rubbing elbows with lots and lots and lots of people of unknown origin, I am reminded to play it safe. Not safe as in, “I am female and should never wear short skirts or drink because I am responsible if something bad happens because some lout can’t control himself” crap. That stuff makes me angry. But reasonable precaution, stuff like not jumping out of airplanes and if you go drinking take a buddy who will make sure you get home safe.
Stuff which allows you to deal with your minivan getting broken into at a convention while you are in the vehicle sleeping. You may remember me posting something about that back in 2013. They stole my laptop bag, which at the time only had an embroidery project. Hope you enjoy it idiots! As a side note, the incident did a pretty big assault on my internal feeling of safety even though they never saw me in the back of the minivan, and for that I have a real hard time sending Christian forgiveness their way. I keep hoping a more Karma-istic result in their lives. (I’m Prudence, not Charity.)
Cons are big parties where people are playing. Some people get stupid when they play, and some people get dangerous when they are stupid.
A professional writer can’t avoid attending a convention or two, and should never need to regret attending one because someone playing got stupid.
So first – don’t be one of the people playing who become stupid then dangerous. Not being That Person is your responsibility. Second, don’t make it easy for That Person. Hang with your friends, after all, that is part of what attending cons is all about. And take advantage of all the features the cons have. Conventions have worked to put in security; don’t ignore this benefit your con membership is paying for. Report the ass who touched your ass without permission, whether you’re male, female, or blue skinned alien.
The best take-away from Mr. Hartness’ blog post, “Your instincts are pretty finely honed through years of not getting dead. Listen to them.”
Advertising is a big business – forget multi-million or even multi-billion. If you are in business, you advertise by word-of-mouth, by business card, by video, by social media, – every means humans take in information to their brains is tapped. It is studied by scientists and con men alike, by people selling you breakfast cereals to the person asking you for a date.
And the Sell factor goes way beyond the simple advertising of putting the word on the street. The Sell encompasses a wide range of tactics including market studies, public relations, customer support, and media planning. Marketing – the creating and sustaining of a Market for the product is every business.
Writers are in business and not only have to sell their product through advertising, but market themselves. I market me, “Erin Penn”, through the website (erinpenn.com), through a blog (erinpenn.blogspot.com), through my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ErinPennBooks/), by going to conventions (events) and attending a writer’s group, by talking to people and helping people get their writing started with advice and connections, by learning editing, and dozens of other ways so people not only know about my books but also about me and my reputation.
One of the easiest ways to connect to people is making the advertising fun. Look at the back of all the children cereal boxes, each has a game reiterating the name and logos of the cereal over and over again – this over and above the toy inside. Fast food puts in play areas and offer fun packages for children, setting up long-term associations with happy times and their food in people’s minds. Beer companies host parties and support sports.
And the military has found the movies. It’s fictional depiction of the perfect propaganda recruiting tool.
If you have read my book (Honestly), you find I both support the military with all my heart but do not turn my eye away from the dangers. The injuries, both physical and mental, sustained by the Troy Nguyen were inspired by like issues from friends who have served, including the loss of leg. I don’t do platitudes of “Thank you for serving”; I sit beside my friends during the Fourth of July and hold their hands while fireworks light the sky and deafen the present they are in with the noise of bombs exploding in their past. I believe in the military and support it; I also know the cost of freedom must be paid with every generation and I will not cheapen it by glossing over the cost. You will find characters from the military appearing again and again in my flashes and published works. And, I promise, they will always be human – good, bad, hero or villain – at the end of the day, they are human.
That being said, and remembering this is a Geeking Science Post, one of the ways the military tapped into the science of marketing and advertising last year is Wicked Cool. This cross-branding method is up there with the Heroes television show-comics-mobile-app-social-media mix. Goosebumps covered my arms when I first watched this video from the Pop Culture Detective. Science is Wicked Cool and this Geek’ed me out!
The ending is something every writer should inscribe in their minds, for this is a tremendous power and responsibility.
“Fiction can be a very powerful and very effective way to influence people’s actions and attitudes.” – Jonathan McIntosh, Sept. 28, 2016 (Pop Culture Detective: Military Recruitment and Science Fiction Movies)