I sometimes wonder if I missed my time. Most of my favorite authors started writing when they were younger, not ditching the dream until they were solidly middle aged to pursue it, hanging on with dogged determination until they finally broke through. Granted, many more authors started when they were young and clung tenaciously to a dream that never panned out, but it’s rare to see an author begin in their 40’s and turn writing into a career. However, my intention is to be the exception that disproves the rule.
More interestingly, I’ve worried a lot lately about social media, how much time to devote to it, can I build a fan base around it. I’m not a very social person. I’m an introvert who is uncomfortable in crowds and recharges and rejuvenates when in the company of one more than when I am in a group setting. Marketing myself, though a necessity in writing these days, isn’t what I would call a forte of mine. Plus, it’s hard to market myself when I don’t actually have any fans and I’m not writing enough blog or twitter posts to start getting noticed.
So it’s a mild relief to me to read this article regarding the actual results most people experience from fame and fortune on the internet. Long story short: as with most of the arts, precious few make a decent living from it. Whether its Instagram, Twitter or blogging, it’s the rare person who gains enough cult status to start pulling in a good salary doing it.
Why does that relieve me? Well, it means I don’t have worry that my failure to use these tools to their full advantage will make any difference to the results of my goals. Ultimately the work itself should be what draws fans, and the tools are there to help boost visibility and marketing, not become the end all, be all of those needs. It’s more of a way of giving fans access to the people whose work they admire than actually creating an audience for said works, though that can happen as well if you’re lucky and talented, and lucky, and did I mention lucky?
Because let’s face it. We are buried in media daily. News, sports, music, literature… it’s a tsunami of information that floods into our homes, through both traditional and non-traditional channels. Television fed our faces for decades, before that it was radio. Now we’ve added the internet, with its plethora of different channels for the dissemination of Stuff. And while book publishers increasingly want their authors online to help market their products (and save them a buck or two as well), it’s important for everyone to realize that your use of social media is not going to make or break your pocketbook.
If you get lucky and do well online, good for you, count your blessings. If you don’t, don’t sweat it, do what you love and keep your fingers crossed. Yeah, you may have to spend less time online and more time doing actual real work, and that sucks, but life is like that. Not everyone finds Fame and Fortune with the results of their creative endeavors, but being creative is important to being a functioning, rational human being who has more to contribute to the world than monetary worth.
Ultimate doing what you love will make you happier. Do it for love, though, not the other stuff. And do it while you’re young, don’t wait like me. Dreams should never be deferred until your life is settled and you have time.