I have set an alert on my computer. Every Thursday, I get a reminder that today is the day I will write a blog post. Every Thursday since 19th August, I have looked at it, deleted it, and carried on doing whatever I was doing, feeling a little guilty, and that I am somehow letting myself down.
Only myself. I don’t believe I have hordes of adoring fans out there who are waiting with baited breath each week, wondering, hoping, that this will be the day that Sarah Bourne releases another fascinating blog post. No, it is only myself who is let down. I am lazy, incompetent, have nothing to say…the list goes on.
After my Writers Group the other day, I had a conversation with one of the members. She was asking me (!) about using Social Media as a marketing tool.
“Do I need to blog? What about Facebook? And Twitter? Instagram?”
“Oh, yes,” I said, “All very important. You have to build your brand, get your name out there. It’s not just about selling your book, it’s about letting the reader, or potential reader, get to know you as a person so they want to read what you’ve written.” Thats the theory, anyway, so I’m told.
“Oh, I must get around to it then. I have a long list of topics I want to blog about.”
Lucky you, I thought. I have no idea what to write most of the time, and if I do, I don’t get round to it. I think no-one will want to read it, or it will be so boring I’ll fall asleep while I’m writing it.
The thing is, I love writing. On the days when I know I have uninterrupted writing time, I leap out of bed with a song in my heart and a spring in my step. (Okay, writers shouldn’t succumb to cliches, but that is honestly how I feel, and why reinvent the wheel?) My fingers itch to get to the keyboard, and sometimes, although not always, the words flow and all is right in the world.
The Writers Group decided this year to put out a little book for Christmas. We would all write a piece about a memorable meal we’d had, somewhere, some time. Everybody else wrote a memory, mostly about a terrible meal they’d endured in an exotic location. Now, I’ve been to my fair share of exotic locations, and eaten meals of varying quality with tropical seas lapping at my toes, or magnificent sunsets dazzling my eyes. But every time I tried to write about one of them, it was flat, didn’t zing off the page at all.
I am writing a novel based in and just after the Second World War at the moment. Aha! Rationing, I thought. And how women used to get together and support each other while their husbands, brothers, fathers were away. As soon as I freed myself from the confines of having to write a ‘true’ story (or a strongly embellished true story), the words came. And the added bonus is that it is now a scene in the novel.
So what do I take from this? For today, and I reserve the right to change my mind, it is this:
I write fiction. I do not naturally lean towards writing from my own life, although, of course, there is some of that in fiction. Heavily disguised. So distant from the source as to be unattributable and unrecognisable. I like to make things up. I’ve lived my life once, I don’t feel the need or the desire to rehash it. So, fiction it is.
Today is Thursday, my alert went off, and I have written a blog post. I also have an author Facebook page, a twitter account, Instagram. (One day, I’ll learn to link them all).
Have a good week or month or whatever, until we meet again. Oh, and just in case, Enjoy the Festive Season, however you celebrate it.