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Your Writerly Sense of Self

Someone very wise to me said recently that the people who succeed in a field are those who think they are the thing, rather than wanting to be the thing. The authority she cited was James Paul Gee, who has been talking a lot about the educational quality of video games. Hey, as someone who worked in literacy studies in college, I approve of James Paul Gee.

This made me think about the authorly self, and by extension, the artistic self.

I believe people grasp the idea that if you consider yourself an artist, you create. There are many people who have a hard time finishing a work for a variety of reasons. However, most of us grasp the art of creation, and all of the pitfalls, twists, and rewards therein. We understand often what it is to be an artist at the creative level, even if we don't understand how our creativity works, or sometimes have trouble with making it work.

Sarah Prineas has often discussed the idea of being an author versus being a writer in her journal. The artist I've talked about above, the writer, generally creates, but isn't necessary good at putting that creative work out there. I've heard many artists frustrated at the idea of presenting themselves, promoting themselves, managing themselves, and putting themselves out there. For many of us, it feels uncomfortable. That persona is the author.

I think it's important to develop our authorly persona in conjunction with working on our writing. Not more important, because if you don't have the work, you got nothin' to be confident about. It is worth it to think about your professional persona and image as you build your work.

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Mirrored from Writer Tamago.


Jun. 12th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
I just purchased a book called "Get Known Before the Book Deal" by Christina Katz.

It's an excellent source of information on how to promote yourself.

She recommends starting to build a Platform three years before publishing your book. Now, I can't wait the three years to build a readership, but I have a blog and am currently designing my website.

I'm also looking into ways to try and publish some articles as an extra source of income and promotional tool.

I agree whole heartedly with the idea of how you define yourself can influence your success and your actions.

At one time I didn't consider myself a writer because I didn't write "everyday". But once I changed my vocabulary I changed my work habits as a writer.

By saying I am a Writer, I began to seek out opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise. A persons thoughts play a big role in what they can accomplish.

Excellent post! I enjoyed it.
Jun. 12th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the book rec. It makes sense.

Two years down on the platform! One to go.

Coincidentally, I just took a class on labels for artists, and I am interested in your commentary on being a Writer as well. The same thing happened to me when I began to think of myself as a Writer.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post.


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