…Author and Blogger pal, Charles Hash, has delivered not one… not two… but three excellent pieces for inclusion as Guest Blog posts on my ‘umble page… and each is superb… but I’m gonna give yeez these staggered over the next week or two, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… we don’t wanna spoil yeez with too much quality all in one shot!… here’s the first:
I wonder exactly why I am doing this. What do I hope to accomplish? Do I just want some fleeting attention? Do I want fame, fortune, and all of the pressure that comes with it? Why would anyone seek to be put into a cage, to be put on display for gawkers and critics alike, poked at and dissected endlessly for some abstract concepts like respect or adulation, or even a more concrete reason like financial security? Begging strangers for the right and priviledge to be raked thin over the coals, before being doused with a liquid of suspicious origin? Don’t forget to thank them for the luxury of being read. Today is the day that I no longer care about the system or gaming it.
Just the word submit rubs me wrong and makes me clench as a singular muscle.
I am not just an Indie Author, I am an Outlaw Author. What does that mean? I have my own rules, I have my own standards, I have my own style, and I will not let anyone take that from me, even if that means my work remains unsold and dusty on the shelf. I wish there were more of us in every genre. Whether in music, painting, film, we need those that reject convention.
We believe technique to be nothing more than failed style. -Cecil B Demented
Artists of any walk have never gotten very far by playing by the rules. Art is about cutting away at the conventional, whether you use a scalpel or an axe. Personally, I prefer hammers.
Human beings were born to be free to choose the chains that they wish to bind themselves with.
But my writing, my work, my authorship, my babies…why should I subject them to submission? For profit? For accolades? Should I throw them on the table to be butchered, dissected, culled, broken, and then reconstructed for mass consumption until they are no longer recognizable? Should I bow to the insistence that you need an army of visionless leeches to declare your work valuable and worthy, and therefore profitable? No. I need to work harder. I need to revise more. I need to reread it again, and again, and again. Without so much as a professional proofer, I have to revise, edit, and cultivate the entirety of my work more than a dozen times. Still things slip through. I need to make sure that I am focused and dedicated to my work in every way that I possibly can be, to the point of obsession and distraction. I should never forget what I am working on, what I hope to write next, and then after that, beyond all of those. It is an addiction, an obsession, a primal craving deep inside to communicate with others on a level that I am incapable of through any other medium.
I like the freedom. I like the control. I like knowing at the end of the day I did things my way, on my own terms, and I succeeded or failed by my own standards, and not those set by some detached, voracious, faceless shareholders. I offer my sweat and blood, my dreams and fears directly to the readers, and not some agent or publisher to be dismissed and tossed into a grave and abandoned to rot. I work on my own schedule, on my own time, to meet my own demands. I do not write for myself. I do not write for the readers. I write because I cannot communicate like this verbally with other humans.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as imporant as what you become by achieving your goals.
Henry David Thoreau
I have always preferred the unbeaten path, the wild, untamed weeds where mysteries are unfurled, solved. The dark, twisting depths where treasures are still to be found, where you have to dig deeper and push harder before you can finally pull yourself up to the crest to enjoy the view. Solemn, melancholy places where the dirt and grime authenticate your achievements. Where you develop character and resilience; the resolve to keep chopping wood for the winter while the snow gathers around you in drifts, deeper and deeper.
I’m not condemning anyone for choosing a different path, or accepting a lucrative contract. I wish all of the luck and fortune to the other Indies and Outlaws that I can, no matter which path they choose for themselves. That would be hypocritical and contradictory to what I am, and why I chose the path of the Outlaw. When someone offers constructive criticism, take it. Let it hurt. Roll it around inside of you like a dirty little ball until you’ve learned everything you can from it. When someone offers just criticism with no constructive dialogue, just brush it off and keep writing. In a perfect world we’d all have publishing contracts, with editors and professional cover artists, and enough money to sail around the world while we write our next novel. But that’s not why I write. Being an Outlaw Author is what ultimately makes it worthwhile to write, and being an independent author is why what I write becomes more than an exercise in futility.
I simply reject the industry. I no longer need it. They can keep the flesh they’ve taken from me. The next time they darken my door, it will be on my terms. But that is probably just the bourbon talking.