As 2017 ends, I am looking forward to the coming year with a sense of anticipation unlike any I’ve experienced before at this time of year. You see, I’ve always been a Christmas person, and for me New Year always meant that Christmas was over. I just never saw the big deal with it.
This year feels different. Having just had my first book published I am filled with anticipation at just what opportunities the year ahead will offer, at the amazing people that I will meet and the fantastic new experiences I will enjoy.
I have spent the majority of my spare time this past few weeks signing and posting books, writing posts for websites that have offered to help me to promote my book, speaking with fellow bloggers that have agreed to review Something Changed on their blogs, responding to feedback, connecting with fellow writers and authors, speaking to bookshops and others that may stock my book, and seeking further opportunities for promotion to help me get my book in front of more people.
Basically, I’ve been banging on about my book. Like, on, and on, and on about it. Something Changed? Well, I’m afraid that isn’t going to. In fact, chances are it’s going to get worse.
And, perhaps seemingly strangely for someone who is so openly out there, writing and talking unselfconsciously about things that many find to be difficult and uncomfortable, that makes me a little self-conscious. A little uncomfortable.
Let me explain. I’m pretty loud – I can’t help it, it’s just my voice – and I’m confident, I enjoy putting myself out there and seeking out and making the most of new opportunities and experiences. But I’m not somebody that craves to be the centre of attention, or that makes a habit of seeking attention. Promotion, or rather, the idea of self-promotion, does not come easily or naturally to me. I’m not a natural salesman.
What I am is passionate. Passionate about the things that matter to me. About the life I create for my children and I, about the example that I set, the difference I can make in the world, the opportunity to raise awareness of mental health; passionate about being able to help people that are struggling feel a little less alone, and to help instil a little bit of hope that things will get better.
I’m no expert on the topic, but I believe that passion and belief in what we do is the greatest tool for sales and promotion that we have. In becoming a writer and a blogger I have learned that the actual writing is only part of the picture. It is undoubtedly the thing that matters most – after all, if that isn’t any good none of the rest of it matters – but if you are going to get your writing in front of people then you need to connect with others and to promote, promote, and promote some more.
Social media is fantastic for that, it has created so many opportunities for me and I hope that it will continue to create many more. But. But… There is always a little niggle there that people are thinking, ‘bloody hell mate, we know you’ve written a book, turn it in will you.’
I tend to deal with that by ‘separating’ myself from my writing, thus, my promotional activity does not feel to me to be self-promotion, but rather the promotion of something that I hope will help people that are facing challenges in their lives, something that would have helped me when I was walking in those shoes.
But, I guess that as social creatures, no matter how confident and self-assured we may be there is always room for that little bit of doubt, that little bit of concern about what others are going to think of us. I wonder too whether this is more pronounced in us Brits, what with us being generally less willing to blow our own trumpet than, say, our trans-Atlantic cousins.
But I’m making a resolution this year. The publication of my book has given me an opportunity that I may never have again. To change my life for the better, and the lives of my children, and the lives of so many strangers that share with me the scars of difficult experiences that so many of us go through, yet so many of us still feel uncomfortable talking about.
I know why I’m doing this, and nothing means more to me than the messages that I receive from my readers telling me that my writing has made a difference to them. There is no greater satisfaction than that.
So I’m going to make the most of this opportunity, because nobody else has the same passion for what I am trying to do with my writing than I do. Nobody else is going to make things happen for me, but me. Many people will help me along the way – and indeed many great people have helped me to get to where I am – but ultimately nobody is going to make things happen for me, without me. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that I can look back with no regrets, knowing that I gave it my all. When it comes to the final reckoning, what will it matter what anybody else thought?
Not Afraid – Eminem