"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: Are You Entitled to Success?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are You Entitled to Success?

 Creative people often get bitter about what's not happening.

The trick is to know that you have always had total control of your destiny. You make things happen, you decide, you control.

When things don't work out it's because either we don't have as much control as we thought we had - or we perhaps we really haven't really tried to exert it as much as we could have.

And it's wondering why we didn't try harder that we need to deal with, rather than blame the universe - or others - for not responding as we wished.

Do you believe you're entitled to success?
Nothing happens without good reason. Some people get rich and famous. Some people don't. Some people live lives of quiet desperation, or an existence of silent rage.

Some people have a lot to give. Some people can't let go of what they have. Some people's light shines so bright they can't hide it. Some people live in a place so dark that their light can't escape.

What kind of person are you?

Success is not about how much you're craving to receive. It's about how much you're willing to give.

Many people want to take from the Internet more than they are open to give. But they fail to realize that their participation in the Net is already implicit in their being there in the first place.

The Internet is a direct embodiment of ourselves. When you surf, you participate. You are not an observer. You become the reason for its existence.

Your interaction with people's websites is the same thing as meeting new people at a club. You are there. You may feel like an objective observer - but this is not the case. You are a participant. You are connecting with the website owner by merely viewing his/her site.

You might sometimes wonder about the new generation of celebrities - what I call the Twitter Generation - and how they sustain their stardom.

Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen are examples of people who use the Internet to their advantage. They understand that grass root popularity is not just an asset - an extra - but that really, it's where everything starts and ends.

But Internet popularity has got nothing to do with wealth - contrary to what every Net Guru would have us believe.

Many people - especially those who have nothing apart from an Internet connection of course - assume that the Net is a great source of riches - and that all they have to do is to 'get famous' on the Net and everything will be cool. But this is to misunderstand the nature of people - and how the world works.

Just because you're famous doesn't mean you have something more important, or interesting, to say...

The Net reflects. It's not an entity in itself. The Net is merely a reflection of who we are as a species. Your success - whether good, bad or indifferent, says a lot about who you are - what your voice has to say, how relevant it is, and how important people regard your message.

You cannot blame the Net for your lack of success. You need to be able to look at your message, your medium - and wonder why it's not making more impact. Writers need to be aware of this phenomenon.

Because, despite your best intentions, you need to ask yourself: Okay, so I've written a book, I like it, it's good, and now it's out there BUT, is it relevant, will anyone care - and why should they?

In the old days, we might put out a book and wonder about its success and then wait...

Now, we're aware that all those other writers put out about 100 books a day on the Net. So how can one - yours - possibly compete? How can you be heard above the crowd?

Because that's the depressing part.

As hard as it is to write a book, we then - later - have to deal with how to make that book interesting, appealing and relevant to an indifferent world when it's written.

Previous generations never had to worry about this. They wrote and then hoped. Now we have the Net, we write and then can see, with absolute evidence, the impact of our words - which is often negligible in the great scheme of things.

(BTW: I love the phrase 'great scheme of things' - it sums up the idea of the universe and the recognition of its resulting influence on human awareness in a phrase that was years ahead of its time!)

Anyway. I guess my point is that you cannot disconnect who you are from what you want to say.

Many new writers ask me if it's okay to use a pseudonym - as if, by having a different name, they can distance themselves emotionally from what they have to say. I think this is a mistake. If you're going to present a persona to the world, it might as well be your own.

Not only because it's easier to be yourself but that, in the event of criticism, it's better to be the person who is defending your own world view, rather than becoming an invented personality.

Writing is not just about putting words on a page. It's about being the person who wrote those words - it's about having the integrity to admit that your words are important to you. That you wrote those words for a reason.

That you are a real person with genuine thoughts and ideals.

You can't really be a real writer unless you are honest - and willing to be spill your guts onto the page - and be judged for that exercise.

Never be afraid to be honest. The things that you're embarrassed to reveal are the very things that your readers want to get from you.

Readers want to connect. And the more connections you create, the more successful you will become as a writer.

You know this is true because you've experienced it yourself.

Life is about being the best you can be.

It's about sharing ourselves and being there for the people we care about.

Writers often feel that their work is solitary and the profound conclusions we reach can be frustratingly abstract at the time when we want to broadcast them. But this does not undermine our reasons for continuing to write.

We write, we give, we share.

But we don't do it for egotistic reasons, or shouldn't.

We give by creating. We make a difference by fully being who we are.

And that's enough, surely - although some extra cash would be nice!

Just be sincere, that's my advice.

Keep writing!

Rob Parnell's Writing Academy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Live every day as though it were your last.

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