Note: I’m going to share a technical issue I was experiencing and the fix at the bottom of this file.
Still pawing through that basket.
And making progress.
The current issue I’m tackling is related to why I wasn’t seeing myself as a writer.
Though I am one.
Like most things in the basket I didn’t even know it was there, let alone a problem.
It was buried beneath a variety of items: Life, family (local and extended), community, Covid.
What kind of writer are you?
Simple enough question, right?
Not only do I write fiction and nonfiction, I write different types of fiction and nonfiction. Explaining that in a conversation is easy. Classifying it online? A whole other ball of wax.
An important ball as it helps readers find my work.
The challenge is further complicated by the fact there are a number of subgenres.
What type of paranormal fiction? What type of nonfiction?
To add the right amount of fog to obscure visibility is the fact that while the semantics is a business challenge, the fallout is a personal one.
It touches on how you represent yourself which is an outshoot of who you feel you are.
It’s Business. Different genres attract different readers.
Though often readers will enjoy a variety of work by the same author.
How do you create a web presence that adequately represents who you are when you write in multiple genres?
Do you use a nom de plume?
For me, this has been a challenge since the beginning.
It’s why I continually refine my web presence.
More recently it caused me to overcomplicate the plot.
Which is part of what got me into the basket mess to begin with. Good intentions gone bad.
It’s Personal. I had an aunt once explain after I became the subject of a rather heated discussion at an extended family gathering that I am left-brained and right-brained.
She was defending me in one of the numerous spirited discussions that go on in a large family of Celtic descent. You know, where arguing is like breathing?
The argument was tied to my frustration with fiction that dumbed down female heroines.
Sixteen at the time, it was something I swore I would never do when I became an author.
Another family member published in fiction backed me, explaining he was disgusted by the historical inaccuracy of females living in Celtic times as represented in American fiction.
An uncle, he was a military vet with a degree in journalism and a passion for genealogy.
He loathed the overuse of slang and cultural catch phrases.
He suggested rather than making the author sound knowledgeable it made them seem ignorant as people didn’t speak that way.
Before he passed away he shared a few other tidbits and though I appreciated the gesture, it was his seeing me as a fellow author and not the words of wisdom that made it special.
What Do you Write?
What a loaded question! Depending on the audience it will be quick and painless or something that winds up in the basket.
A lot of it is people’s reactions to the genre.
You should see the looks I get when I tell people I write paranormal fiction!
Depending on the context, I may elaborate, explain I write about ghosts, time travel, and multiple dimensions.
I find mentioning sci-fi gets the most problematic reactions.
Enough to make me wonder if there aren’t a lot of closet sci-fi writers out there.
Nonfiction is far easier.
People are very comfortable with the idea of writing books about nutritional healing.
Even EMF Sensitivity has gained a bit of societal acceptance.
Though God knows in the beginning it was considered one step left of 17th Century Witchcraft, something people never failed to share with me.
I had a few folks drop me as a friend because of it.
I know, I know – then they weren’t real friends. Didn’t mean it was an enjoyable experience.
The unfortunate part of it all is that the answers you give to the question “What do you write?/What kind of writer are you? will dictate how people treat you.
It Isn’t You. I understand – intellectually – that that says more about them than me but it does have an effect on how I feel after an interaction.
Or is it an altercation?
This doesn’t even begin to touch an how fast people tap dance backward because they seem petrified I’m going to ask them to read something I wrote!
And – God forbid – ask them to tell me what I think of it!
Interestingly, these are usually the same people who, after they learn of my time in tech, ask me to help them figure out why their printer isn’t working.
Not only have I never done this – ask them to read something – I explain, “Read what you love. There’s plenty of stuff out there.”
It’s Not All Bad!
I think one of the more memorable moments of my life came when, a couple of years back, I was at the pub I go to for occasional working lunches.
It was Christmastime.
A small group of people from the beauty industry came in and demanded to be given a space where they could talk turkey.
Given how they talked down to the woman who came to greet them, I thought they were rude as hell.
One of the group stalked into the cozy area where I was sitting then back and told her “There’s a large section in there…blah blah blah…we need privacy…blah blah blah…”
All in condescending tones that had me rolling my eyes.
The woman said, “That’s fine but you have to understand. There’s an author in there working and she needs quiet. So you guys need to make sure you’re quiet.”
She also offered them the alternative of the restaurant section.
I remember that moment as if it was five minutes ago! My eyes widened and I thought “Oh my God! There’s an author…”
To say the woman who’d stalked in was miffed would be somewhat of an understatement. She and the jerk she was with kept sending me seething looks throughout their “meeting.”
Why jerk? He spent half his time on the phone belittling his distributors.
The timing of needing to sort through the basket is interesting, the events that led up to it equally so. All I know is that basket metaphor is helping me in ways I could never have guessed.
Without further ado…
I have long mentioned that I play Freecell to clear my mind.
I also listen to music or, when weather permits, sit outside.
Beginning this past summer, after doing an OS upgrade to the Mac I use, my system began acting flaky.
As a techie I did plenty of troubleshooting but never could figure out the problem outside “it began after the OS upgrade.”
Since then I upgraded the MacBook and installed a number of software upgrades.
Not just OS.
Long story short, here’s the deal and I share this as others may be tearing their hair out with it.
Microsoft Word will lock up the entire system and force a reboot – because of FreeCell.
To deal with it? Deinstall FreeCell.
I tried installing a different FreeCell game and the same thing happened.
While I’d like to suggest this is the universe telling me to find a different way of clearing the cobwebs the truth is that it’s a real problem.
Neither company is going to care about this since they’ve got far bigger things to worry about.
Do I look back into the basket? Listen to some music? Or go back to laying the framework for the new project?