I was hanging out with writer friends when someone suggested that the best move we could make was to, at the appropriate time, put aside writing for a few weeks or months and devote ourselves to promotion. Afterward, we could return to writing with more optimism about the fate of our books.
One writer commented: “But promotion isn’t any fun.” When all the others heartily agreed, I found myself wondering, are most of us wedded to this vocation mostly because it’s fun?
If that’s the case, I thought, what if we could make promotion fun? To that question, my rather childish mind responded, “Think about Mary Poppins.” In the Disney film Zoe and I have watched a dozen times. Mary sings, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun…. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”
My big daughter Darcy found high school so tedious and irrelevant, she often made a detour somewhere between my car and the classroom and spent her days at a mall or a friend’s house. But, the semesters when she had an art class, she attended art and also her other classes. And in college as an art major, she not only enjoyed the art classes but discovered she appreciated some others.
So what if we could isolate the part of promotion we enjoy and devote serious time to that. Maybe the rest of the medicine would go down easier, and actually get done.
Perhaps each of us finds different parts of the promotion efforts fun. I enjoy tinkering with web sites and watching ideas take concrete form. When I ran a bookstore, I enjoyed stocking the place and organizing the shelves, while I didn’t much care for dealing with customers. Some days I would mutter a line of John Paul Sartre’s: “Hell is other people.”
Not that I don’t care for people. Most of them I either like or love. But they wear me out. I suppose that’s why you won’t find me involved in much tweeting or facebook chit chat. It’s a self defense technique, guarding my energy. But I do like to blog, and to link this to that, which gives me the illusion that I’m in control of something.
And if the day goes well, if I don’t encounter a legion of computer mishaps or run-ins with demanding, manipulative, or ornery people, I may find myself in such an upbeat mood, even tweeting feels fun.
Ken Kuhlken and his books reside at www.kenkuhlken.net