Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Indie Life: Keeping it Real

Being genuine. Keeping it Real. 

How to do that in an online, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Google + world?

I have spent a year trying to answer that question for myself. What I have learned is this: By jumping into the river and swimming, I begin to discover things. As I'm paddling and floating along, my heart and mind connect to things that turn me on, make me feel more alive, and help me grow my way of seeing myself, others, and the world around me.

Those are the things I retweet, share, and comment on. It feels good. There's an impulse to be random, formulaic, and mechanical, and I have experimented with that. For me, it might involve some time savings, but it never feels quite right.

I struggled a lot last year with my website and blog. Having blogged in the past, I knew what a time suck it could be. I didn't want to start up anything I would come to resent, or worse feel disconnected from. Like I was just going through the motions, or just doing it because everyone says I need an author platform.

There were a lot of false starts. I kind of went off in this direction and that one; I felt kind of stuck and uninspired. As the year wore on, I was reading a lot more and then I picked up Leaf Storm by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I fell in love with the stories in it and wanted to chatter about it. Out of all that, Eating Magic, my stream-of-consciousness eating journal, inspired by the Alice Hoffman quote: Books may well be the only true magic was born. 

I get more regular traffic from Eating Magic than anything else I've experimented with, and the truth is, I would continue with it even if I didn't get the traffic, because I love it and it's a lot of fun to write.

Russell Blake is a successful indie author who I follow on Twitter.  He made a comment on his post New Year, New Hurdles & Opportunities: They are singularities. He was referring to John Locke, Amanda Hocking, E.L. James, John Grisham, and Hemingway. He meant their particular road to success is not repeatable. So what are we to do if we can't mimic, copy, or follow behind in their footsteps?

It seems, indie authors--and authors--who experience break-out success don't follow any set rules; they follow their passions and find their own way to keep it real. I know that's the key to accessing the excitement that fired me up to take this journey in the first place.

So every now and then I ask myself: Are you keeping it real?

What about you? Does being genuine feel important to you as an indie author?