I keep forgetting this is a blog is about writing, publishing, and well … frankly not about my life (mostly, although a writer’s life is surely part of the total package and should be celebrated and not avoided). I’ve sat through endless lectures about how to begin a story; once upon a time the door opened and he walked in kind of shit. And truth be told there are several different ways to begin a story. I don’t think I can tell anyone how to begin a story, because I have no idea the way anyone’s mind works. I do, however, suggest that you understand your thought process and reverse it. If you start with the first sentence, start a story in the middle, while things are happening, and before your genius set in and creates that opening “pop” sentence. I think it creates a backlog in your brain, and mixes things up enough for you to do something different than your used to, and perhaps it will give you a new perspective on things. It’s a little like kissing upside-down. It’s weird and not natural, but oddly erotic (and worth doing, if you haven’t).

And that being said, that whole first paragraph was a false start. Because I think material begin somewhere else, and forgive me if this sounds all new age and shit, because I surely do not walk around with a calm voice, being positive all the time and rub my crystal for energy. There is something you need to do before you sit down and begin that lonely task towards immortality (which by the way you can become just by hitting the print button … on my computer it’s the little apple sign and the letter “P” at the same time). The thing you need to do before you do anything is believe in yourself. I know, I know, that sounds a bit odd coming from the original self-hater denier of talent that I am, but if you read my blog at all, you know that I’m a keen observer of all things, and the one thing I’ve noticed about all self-reliant, successful people is that they are all self-promoters. Self-promotion is the most important task of a writer. No one is going to like your material if you don’t. I know it sounds trite, but I really do believe if you write from your soul it’s apparent in everything, from the way you carry yourself, into the way you live your life.

I got to thinking about this while watching this past election, and the endless strings of commercials about the candidates, and the things they did and how great they were, and how weird it would be for me to make a commercial about myself, or even to let someone else make a commercial about me, and my life and accomplishments. I think that’s why I’m the unpublished guy. It’s not that I have wouldn’t make a commercial about myself, but I think it’s that I have no idea what I would even say. But isn’t that the rub? Isn’t that what makes me different, if I have no idea what is great about me, how on earth is anyone else going to do it?

The problem with writers is that we write about people who are believers and strive to discover the human condition, and the good in other people and things, blah, blah, blah. We write about heroes and villains, good and evil, and we set up a path that leads us to a false assumption … no one out there believes in us. The story about the teacher who inspires hope is a myth, he does not exist in real life, he is just written by writers, or people who want to explain their rise to glory without giving themselves credit for the path. Myths are great stories, and stories which inspire hope make us all warm and erect. The buddy who takes a bullet for his friend … well that’s fictional as well. There very well be people out there who care about humanity and the like, but the only person who’s going to believe in you and your abilities is the person who’s most likely to understand it, and that is you.

I began writing this piece on self-promotion a while ago, and since then I’ve been watching successful people, and noticing that I’m not talking out of my ass. I listen to radio shows where the host is a popular and rich, and every five minutes he will promote himself or something he’s involved in. Listen tomorrow, and you will see I’m right. Networks, businesses … and yes people all self promote, and do so under our noses, and without us realizing, because we have been taught at a very young age that it’s okay to say nice things about other people, but it’s not okay to say nice things about yourself. I work around people who make a lot of money, and I have to be honest, one of my pet peeves is when people brag about other people’s wealth, but it got me to thinking about how strangers knew how these people made their fortunes, and about all the stuff they have. And for the record, none of these people are smarter than me, or better looking or anything … it’s something else I assure you. I began to realize that I’m from a family who has traditionally been ashamed of their success, and try very hard to cover it up. Last year my parents took a very expensive trip to Europe, and they forbad me from talking about it to anyone. Now they’ve never been super-successful, but they do well.

A lot of writers get agents involved with their work, and the agents do go out there and talk up a writer’s material, and that’s good, but I dare you to talk about yourself. I dare you to create a commercial about who you are, and what you’ve done … and I dare you to believe it. Talent is a very good thing, and I believe that it’s important, but the world is filled with people with no talent who write novels, and people who are idiots who run for office and win … The task of a writer, even before he sits down to write, is to believe anything he creates is a masterpiece, and furthermore, to know why it’s a masterpiece. It’s pretty irrelevant to brag without substance. It’s pretty stupid to just say it’s good without knowing why it’s good. Be concrete about your beliefs and know why something is good.

I’ve gotten a bad rap over the course of my life because I tend to make fun of myself to put other people at ease. My last trip to Los Angeles was riddled with one of my friends taking cheap shots at me all night. I put up with it, and to be honest, I probably deserve it. I probably deserve letting people put me down. I probably deserve never being published, and never really trying … I probably deserve all of that because I have no idea why I’m great. I have no idea what makes people like me, or even that they like me at all. So, I guess I have a lot to think about … as does everyone else.

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