Memory and Perspective
The Beach Boys…
Tonight I watched the first half of the Grammy salute to the Beach Boys. Some of the major artists were up to playing Beach Boy songs, some were not, but the history of the music and the writing so far has been fascinating.
And seeing all five remaining original Beach Boys sitting in the same box in the theater was so cool. Especially after all they have been through.
60 Years Ago… Yes, I said sixty… I went out on a first date with a woman I now know longer even remember her name, to a Beach Boys concert being held in the Boise High School auditorium. (Yes, a fairly small place, and yes, the Beach Boy’s first tour.)
I remember being blown away by their music and I have been a major fan of their music and work and Brian Wilson’s writing ever since.
Earlier today I was talking with a great writer about the patience it took to really build a career in fiction writing. (I was reminded today also to be clear that all I talk about in writing is fiction writing.)
And with another great writer later we were talking about how so many writers don’t have the patience to build a Kickstarter fan base, or even any fan base for that matter.
The Kickstarter I have up right now is my 32nd Kickstarter. And I spend a vast amount of time studying other kickstarters and how they are done. Kickstarter is sort of my Facebook-like time sink. So many people spend time on Facebook (I do five minutes per day max), but I can spend hours at times going through Kickstarters if I am not careful.
But for some reason, for the past thirty years I have been able to look at writing and publishing with a perspective of “it all takes time.”
You can get to where you want to be in publishing and fiction writing if you don’t make decisions based on being in a hurry. Writers who were doing great back in the early days of indie publishing are now “What Ever Happened To?” writers. They got in a hurry.
And they all told me and Kris we were doing it wrong.
My goal is to just stick around, keep writing, keep learning, and see where it ends up. Was I in a hurry in my early years? Oh, hell yes. I wanted it now. And I made some horrid choices that caused years of problems. But I just stuck around and kept going.
And for the last thirty years I have settled into the fact that I am prolific, I have a vast amount to learn about writing craft, and I love the fun of writing fiction. It is not a job for me, it is just what I do.
And lately, to promote my work, I sometimes do Kickstarters. I am also considered a “Super Backer” because I back so many campaigns. Kickstarter has been around now for 14 years this month. Will they make it another 14 years? No way of knowing, but I know my writing will last far beyond 14 years, even if I am not around.
Ten years from now I will most likely be using something else for promotion. At the moment things are still changing quickly and Kickstarter is just one tool we all can use.
So what does all this have to do with the Beach Boys and one of my first dates 60 years ago? They are still around in different forms and all five of them are still working at music in one way or another.
I am still around and a prolific, internationally known best-selling writer.
I guess watching tonight them made me realize that writing, learning, and never really stopping no matter how bad things look is really the key to success.
Or as I would like to say (but never do directly) to young writers… “Stop worrying about your lack of sales of your five novels, take a deep breath, and go write.”
And remember to have fun.
The Beach Boys are awesome. As for indies, I can’t believe how many bestselling novelists/publishing gurus dropped off the face of the earth over the last couple years. They were so smug with their sacred cows. What’s more, I’ve noticed some authors I like who’ve suddenly been open about how they’re struggling to earn as much as they used to–Amazon changes one thing and suddenly an author’s single-minded tactics don’t work anymore. It’s like you and Kris always say, you don’t build readers/fans in Kindle Select, you’re just another widget like the rest.
>>writing, learning, and never really stopping no matter how bad things look is really the key to success<<
Something so many don't want to hear, despite trying to teach them. I'm giving up on it, it's eating into my writing time and only frustrates me anyway.
I do appreciate reading your words of wisdom, though, Dean. I hope you never stop sharing!
On a side note, I was basically too young for the Beach Boys, though I got to know that era of music later by living next door to a bar/pool hall for a time when still a child. 🙂
Dean, after reading this I finally bought The Magic Bakery…and I loved it! Of course, anything with magical and desserts is going to be wonderful. Seriously though, this book is amazing and just the thing authors need to remind themselves it’s not going to happen overnight. Thank you!
Your recent posts are arriving at just the right time I need to read them, especially this one. Thank you for your clear-eyed insight and being the one who is drawing on your years of experience and passing on the wisdom to those of us behind you.