Monday, May 7, 2012
Stop to Smell the Flowers
Good morning, gentle readers!
The picture above is from my back yard. The flowers, however, are not the result of my handiwork. Alas, I have a black thumb. Plants everywhere fear me, even some of the plastic ones.
Still, even though I've no talent for gardening, I do enjoy the flowers. And, as you can guess from the title of this blog entry, I think it's important that we all stop to smell them.
Being an indie author means that you spend a huge amount of time working on your books. Not just through the act of creation, but through promotion. You can write the finest e-book in the world, one that explains the Theory of Everything in perfectly understandable language, but no one is going to read it if you don't promote, promote, promote!
Sometimes, gentle readers, I feel less like a writer and more like a carnival barker. Picture a stout fellow in a red and white striped jacket, a straw boater perched on his head, an optional handlebar mustache for flavor, standing outside a small tent on a crowded midway.
"Come one! Come all!" shouts the barker, gesticulating wildly at the crowd. "Wonders to behold! Sights to see! An experience you'll never forget lies within!"
Now, imagine that this barker's tent is only one of thousands on a carnival midway that extends for miles. In front of each of the other tents is another barker, doing their damnedest to woo the crowd. Some have brighter outfits, bigger mustachios, louder voices.
Congratulations, gentle reader. You've just got an ideal picture of what it's like to promote an e-book.
It can be, to put it mildly, exhausting. I'm not even going to mention how much time it takes. Time that could be better spent elsewhere, writing that Great Novel, Epic Poem or Astounding Screenplay.
Which is why, gentle readers, it's important to stop and smell the flowers. In my recent interview with fellow author, Kevin Rau (http://www.kevinrau.com/i/GeorgeShirer.asp), I revealed that I'm a schedule writer. From ten in the morning to five in the afternoon, I'm bent over the laptop, trying to write. However, I do take breaks for snacks, lunches and rambles around the back yard.
Kevin jokingly responded, "They let you out?"
If they didn't, I think I'd go mad. Or madder, depending on your perspective.
We need breaks, gentle reader. I do and you do. No one can work eight hours straight. We're not machines. During the work day, we need to disengage from our tasks, whether its analyzing spreadsheets or mopping floors. People need to step back, to pause, to switch gears for a little while. It gives the mind a chance to rest and, when we return to the task at hand, we're usually refreshed.
So, today, gentle reader, I want you to stop and take some time to smell the roses. Get up and walk away from your desk for ten minutes. Go visit a friend on the other side of the building. Step outside and breathe the fresh air. Play a game of Angry Birds or peruse a book.
Stop. Put work out of your mind for a little while. Luxuriate in this you-time. Then, when you feel relaxed, get back to work.
Don't worry. The flowers will still be there when you need them.