Friday, March 20, 2015

Pride

Spencer Dryden


Pride

This will be my last post with OGG.

Two thoughts come to mind about pride. First is Proud. I am proud of my accomplishments as a writer. It's really been a delightful surprise. I expected it to take years to become a published author. I have been at this for three years. I was published in two anthologies the first year I started writing.

I have approached writing the same way I approached acquiring handyman skills-to learn as I go. I'm still improving as a handyman, but you'd be hard pressed to find one better. I started with simple projects. I've definitely grown as a writer. I'm writing simple little stories now but working on longer, more involved pieces.

 I've also followed the advice of my mentor who told me to write the stories I want to hear, the way I want to hear them. I stay pretty close to what I know. Thankfully, I have connected with a couple of great critique partners and later, two sharp eyed editors at Breathless Press and Fireborn Publishing. 

My first release with Fireborn, Hand Job, is about an aspiring erotic writer/handyman who fantasies about a barista at his local coffee shop begin to materialize. Today, Breathless Press is releasing my most likely last story with them (they are going to all print over 50,000 words).  The Substitute is the story of a plumber who discovers his buddy's business is about delivering more than plumbing services to an exclusive female clientele.
 

My other thought about Pride is something you swallow occasionally. The shift from writer to published author comes with the requirement of 'building a platform', promotion, marketing or what ever you call it. The skills necessary to build visibility, and hence sales, are quite different from those required of a writer. I have invested the last year working on building visibility by all the usual routes, including posting here at OGG, doing over three dozen guest blog posts and endless waiving my arms on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. But it has come at the expense of writing. Most of the material I have published in the last year was written before my ascension to the status of published author. Several of the stories languished for months at that Cave we have discussed here.

My writing regimen requires much more quiet and focus. I can't hear the muse above all the noise of the marketplace. I m so amazed by writers who can segregate their lives, continuing to put out quality material while tirelessly promoting themselves and others. The swallowing part, I can't work that way and there is no shame in it. It's just who I am as a writer.

I have found the biweekly requirement of OGG  too taxing to continue. The idea of designing, feeding and maintaining my own blog is out of the question. I'm not so sure the personal blog is a successful a promotional tool anymore. I think it worked well for established writers ten years ago, but it's not the present or the future of promotion. Lately my efforts have been at reaching potential readers directly though mainstream platforms like The Good Men Project. (A troublesome label but a noble effort. It implies a kind of superiority that makes me uncomfortable. It is, after all, a value judgment. There are editors and contributors there who think that an erotic writer is about the worst thing an 'enlightened' man could be.)

The other insidious thing about being a published author is the pull from internal to external validation. Handyman work is internally validating. Frequently, my clients don't fully appreciate the skill involved with my work. Writing for me is also internally validating. I write best when I am simply entertaining myself. As an author I have been too easily seduced by the idea that sales are the validation of my work— a recipe for self destruction.

It's been a great honor to be among such talented people, but I am anxious to make a bit of a retreat and reconnect with my roots. Thanks especially to Lisabet Sarai who has been a friend, promoter and gentle critic.

Best wishes to all of you.

 

12 comments:

  1. First I must say that you'll be sorely missed, Spencer. For one, we'll miss your insights. Plus you're the only other one around here who fucks women with his own dick.

    Altruistic groups can have a narrow view of what constitutes 'good'. No matter what you say, you can be sure it will be judged. Perhaps your presence at the Good Men Project will provide a wider scope for their lens. Best of luck, dude.

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  2. Daddy:
    Damnit, you made me spit coffee all over my keyboard!

    Look forward to your anthology.

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    Replies
    1. What about Garce?

      Anyway, I've lined up another heterosexual male author to take Spencer's slot (though not fill his shoes...)!

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    2. Jeez! How TF could I forget Garce? Sorry, dude! I'll claim old age. that usually works 'cause it's true. Damn!

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  3. Spencer, we'll definitely miss your perspective around here, and we'll miss you personally, as well. Good hunting (writing), brother! (Okay, I imprinted on Kipling's Jungle Book at an early age.)

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  4. Dear Spencer,

    You haven't been here all that long, but your sojourn has been memorable. I totally understand and respect your decision to leave the Grip. Sometimes I feel the same way, to be honest.

    You have hit on a great truth in this post: "I write best when I am simply entertaining myself". I've found the same to be true of me. And while I wouldn't object to having more commercial success and external recognition, I'm also very proud of my backlist.

    You most definitely have the right to be proud of yours.

    Hope you'll drop by as a visitor occasionally.

    Big hugs and good luck to you!

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  5. Spencer, I totally understand, as others have said, the reasons you give for needing to pull back. It's tough to keep showing up for this, and our writing resources are limited. That said, I'll definitely miss you, and I'm happy to hear you'll be keeping up the writing elsewhere. In particular, I'm glad The Good Men Project is working well for you.

    And this thing you said: "The swallowing part, I can't work that way and there is no shame in it." I really feel that. I don't segregate well myself, and I also don't work well with the marketplace shouting in my ears. It's a major ongoing issue to figure out how to sort that out. Best of luck for you!

    If I can ever get back to Twitter, hopefully I'll see you there! Be well!

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  6. You can always just do what I do...read posts at your leisure, commenting on them as you feel moved. This is one of my favorite blogs to visit, but when I'm pressed for time, it may take weeks before I read any particular post. But I try to get to them all, eventually.

    Good luck and keep writing!

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