by Janis Patterson
The hardest thing about blogging regularly is coming up with an idea for a post. After the basic premise is secure, writing the post is a breeze – and usually takes no more than half the time. But coming up with that idea…
I’ve blogged about technique until I feel I should hand the most faithful of my readers a degree of some sort and about my personal life until, being a very private person, I feel half naked. Besides, I really don’t think that people are or even should be interested in the cute things my animals do or the new curtains I’m putting in the guest room, what I’m cooking for supper that night or my political/religious beliefs. While such things affect my writing, they should not affect my books, and my books are the connection with readers – not my supper plans or curtain colors.
I truly do not understand the need some readers feel to know the minutiae of a writer’s personal life. While I admit to a vague curiosity about if my favorites are married, and in what part of the country they live, and the most general of information, none of it is necessary to my enjoyment of their books – or really any of my business. Their books are the connection between us – not the color of their drapes or dinner plans, to continue my rather tired example.
I find, though, that I am in the minority. Far too many readers today feel entitled to know the daily details of a writer’s life, as if they were next door neighbors or long time friends and the only reason they aren’t welcome to come over every morning for coffee is distance. As writers we are encouraged if not demanded to befriend our readers, interact with them, share with them and no one ever seems to realize that the more time we spend befriending and interacting and sharing with them is time we are not spending writing the next book. Ah, but, says the entitled reader, that’s for everyone else – not for them.
So is it the books they like, or being ‘intimate’ with a writer? I’m afraid it’s what we in the talent industry (I used to work in an actors’ agency) the ‘stardust factor’ – the belief that by being close to someone even semi-famous some of their fame and glamour sprinkles down on them. (I can hear all you writers chortling at the concept of writing being glamorous!) Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone – I have made several dear friends who began as fans, but in every case it is an organic relationship that grew naturally and not something deliberately sought.
Maybe my insistence on a certain level of privacy and distaste of feigning a relationship that doesn’t really exist is why I’m not as popular as I think I should be. Or perhaps it’s just that I was raised with the belief that putting oneself forward constantly saying “look at me look at me” is vulgar. Either way, so be it. If my animals and curtain colors and dinner plans are more important to readers than my books I pity them.