The dilemma of telling people you’re a writer

A few days ago I received my online newsletter from Authors Publish.  It contains two leads for publishing houses, but what caught my interest was a short piece about what happens when you tell people you are a writer.

Number one of the five is the imposter syndrome. I have always been hesitant telling people I am a writer. The reactions I have gotten have not been positive, leaving me at times, feeling like an imposter. To this point, other than a brief memoir in a book published in 2012 and two short stories published locally in an annual book, I have published three e-novels and two short-story collections on Amazon. I also wrote film reviews for a newspaper for eleven years and did a few freelance stories. I received positive feedback during that period.

Yet I still hesitate.

I told a woman the other day about my short story published in an edition of the locally published book and she told me she wrote a piece for them a few years ago-and then made sure she deflated me my saying -“They publish anything sent to them.” I don’t know why she blew it off, and I question whether everything send is published.

Another woman said she only reads ‘real books’ and e-books are not real. Perhaps she fears the digital world. Then there are relatives. My closest cousins don’t read much, if at all, and though one wanted one of the annuals where my short story was published, he has never read, to my knowledge, the story. He had said he would tell me how he liked it, but that was about seven months ago. No phone call, no email, no smoke signals, not a wisp of contact. My other cousin said she still has not read the story. She never reads.

Is there any doubt why I sometimes feel like an imposter and any doubt why I hesitate to tell people I am a writer.

My best experience was reading my latest short story at the kickoff for the last annual collection of local writers. One woman said she read the story three times, and the man who puts the writings together for publication told the group how much he liked the story, why he liked it, and pushed me to read the opening page of my short story.

Though I hesitate, I am getting better at it. I have learned that detractors often have insecurities as I noted about the woman who said they publish anything. Like the Taylor Swift line ” haters are going to hate” so stay away from the haters and the negative nellies. They are not worth your time. I have found a positive group of local writers to share writing and experiences with, so am moving forward.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the great make you feel, that you too, can become great.-Mark Twain.

I am coming out of  the “I am a writer” closet.

I am a writer, like it or not, take it or leave it.

Three reasons why you need to write for your health

You do not have to write a novel or short story. I am talking about just writing.

Reason one. When I was in college I read-and I can’t remember who it was that said it-“How do I know what I think until I write it down?” But before you laugh and say “I know what I think” you might be surprised. For example I wrote film reviews for ten years. Once I thought I liked a certain movie,  but as I started to write the review I realized I was writing a bad review. It really was not as good as I thought. My brain, through writing my thoughts more coherently took the opposite course. And it surprised me. It happened on more than one occasion. There is something magical about putting words to work. It clarifies your thinking in surprising ways. So now I know what that writer meant.

Reason two.  Try a journal and keep track of your progress towards goals. I keep track of what I eat so as not to overdo the sugar intake, which is worse than calories. Keep sugar down, unless it comes with maple bars, ice cream, cakes, pies, or cookies. So you see writing a journal is important to your well being. Then years later looking back at your journal you can see how far you’ve come and can congratulate your self and celebrate with a maple bar.

Reason three. This is important as you get older, but writing keeps your brain active and by being active, it prevents atrophy. Getting back to reason one, writing forces you to think and in using Word.doc it forces your eyes to look at the keyboard, to see quickly hitting the right keys. I do not mean to make light of this. I truly believe it is good eye to finger coordination, and of course you are thinking of that you ware trying to say while doing this. It is a good exercise.

So those are my three reasons. An active brain is a healthy brain and a healthy brain is a healthier you.

How I was seduced into Amazon’s supernatural invisible algorithms

It started innocently enough. I was at the local library and picked up a complimentary copy of Book Page. They also have a website bookpage.com for those who have never heard of libraries. On pages 22-23 in the non-fiction book reviews were two titles of interest to me. And now we get to the synchronicity part.

After attending a film at the local cinema, I headed home and went to Amazon ‘s website to learn more about the books and see how many reviews they garnered. I typed in “Andy Warhol was a Hoarder,” a book by Claudia Kalb in which she covers 12 different people of fame, who, shall we say, had some idiosyncrasies, and whether there is some correlation between madness and genius. I have not read the book, but I think there might be. But not full blown madness you understand. But I will read the book at some time.

But what caught my eye is that the next two books listed on Amazon under the Andy Warhol book were two more titles, totally unrelated to Warhol , hoarding, genius or any sort of mental aberration. But both of those books were listed on the same pages in Book Page as the Warhol book.

We on the outside world, the world of nerds and geeks, we who know nothing of algorithms (let alone the ability to spell it) at least have a basic understanding of what it means. So are we now in some supernatural Amazon algorithmic universe where book titles in a thin, little, complimentary, eclectic magazine magically appear on the same Amazon page? Does Amazon, like a computer that I have heard is in existence, reads a persons brain waves? No longer do you have to say anything to Siri, or to Cortana. You just have to think what you want and the computer will react and do what you wish. Beware what you think. If your wife is standing behind you, don’t think porn.

The other two books were David Denby’s “Lit Up” about his  year of observing a high school literature class for one year to see if today’s students actually have an interest in serious literature, and the other was “On My Own,” by NPR talk show host Diane Rehm. It is about the loss of her husband and non-compassionate choices of health care. These were the three books on pages 22-23 that showed up on the same Amazon page when I typed in the Andy Warhol title. Will it happen again? I am to afraid to try.

But I know in telling you about this synchronicity that I have been pixilated into Amazon’s algorithmic math. Otherwise how could I have written this blog and mentioned these books on Amazon. Somehow Amazon drew me in against my will and left me feeling like an alien abductee. We are doomed. The algorithms are after all of us. Forget Reptilians, forget the grays, forget the walking dead. Beware the algorithms.