Writers today are faced with an unusual contradictory challenge. In order to self publish/self promote your work one must create a writers platform, a mass of people who love, like or at least tolerate your writing enough to be considered a “friend” or “subscriber.” All that building and friend making done while also creating a body of work that none of these “friends or subscribers” have ever actually read.
Contradiction. See I told you.
In order to be published most magazines and publications, ok honestly damn near all, want first publication rights/serial rights/name your first-born child rights. This means that in order to get anything in print you must sign a disclaimer stating that you have not published in any way whatsoever the piece you want to see in print. So no blog posts, no hey I just wrote the best thing of my career on Facebook, no sharing online. Nada. None.
I live in an isolated community. No, that’s a lie. I have self isolated myself in a community of lovely people who have no interest in me or my writing. Judge all you like, it works for me. But creating in isolation makes it difficult to get honest feedback, or creative inspiration from readers and other writers.
So how do I address this problem? I’m open to suggestions but until I find another alternative I’m reading everything I can get my hands on. AND I’m listening to other writers read their work. I recently found an old Truman Capote clip of him reading from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
(recorded in 1963) that blew my mind. Having seen the film I thought I had the story line- that I had seen the brilliance of the incredible Capote. Nope. Not even close. While his voice reminded me of a bad PeeWee Herman impression, his words and images captured the 60’s self-absorbed all about me character of Holly Golightly that until that moment had always looked (to me) like a sophisticated and totally urban Audrey Hepburn.
So where do you get inspiration? Do you find readers who are also gracious with suggestions and comments?