An “inciting incident” recently happened to me. I was involved in a discussion about blogs and self-promotion. It seemed to me that some view blogs purely as self-promotion. And self-promotion = evil.
It (like many things) got me thinkin.
I’m a writer. There are many of us out there. So, when I say “I” or “me” I’m not saying I’m anyone special, I’m just making the discussion more personal. I’m pretty sure what I’m about to discuss is true for many writers out there, so don’t take offense that “I’m so special” and you’re not. Other thing is I can’t speak for anyone else out there, so I’m speaking for myself; how I feel, how I am. As contradictory as this may sound, it’s all I can do, right (pardon the pun)?
I love writing.
I truly feel all writing helps all writing (as I’ve put in my signature block). I love the long and short forms. In one, you get to the point quicker, in the other, ya got all day. Blogging is but another form of writing. It’s immediate, punchy, timely. Instantly global (and how cool is that?). Both a good and bad point, it doesn’t have to go through an additional editor. It’s simply another writing “mechanic” (I’d use “platform,” but in the writing world that has a different connotation).
I write because I feel the innate need to communicate. I don’t need to explain this, it just is.
I love the written expression. Have always reveled and been excited about seeing a blank page…and that I was about to give it life. Make it come to life with words. I love the form (sentences, paragraphs, white space) words take on paper or a screen. The images they conjure. I enjoy wordplay. Love reading. To write helps clarify my own thoughts, my life. To write helps others experiencing similar issues, but who are unable to quantify, categorize, or internalize said issues, and therefore to understand their issues through me. To write imparts knowledge. To write is to question. To write entertains. To write is to mess around with the imagination. To write…is to express one’s soul. Writing is many things to many people, especially those with far more intense issues than my little world. Writing to these individuals is…
But, for me, it’s what I do, and I do a lot of it. Every day. I truly enjoy it.
Such an ugly word to many.
Now, I don’t know who coined the phrase (which I personally find funny and actually kinda like), but I find it does more harm than good: “shameless self-promotion.”
In this “inciting incident” mentioned earlier, “shameless self-promotion” and “blog” were associated with each other in a less-than-honorable manner. Now, I don’t know if people really can distinguish between self-promotion and honest communication (or they just don’t trust anyone), or if they just use the aforementioned phrase to look down on those who do blog–I can’t speak for them, as I said–but I can say that I get annoyed when I hear “shameless self-promotion” constantly levied at blogs and bloggers.
Where’s the evil?
If, as also pointed out earlier, writers write, and blogging is merely another avenue for writerly output, where’s the harm? Where’s the finger-pointing ethical issue with a writer writing a blog and sharing that information with the world? Because, if writers write, and readers read, writing is meant to be read. You just can’t get around this.
Self-promotion. Shameless self-promotion.
I have news for those who equate blogging with “shameless self-promotion”: You are shameless self-promotion.
Everything you do promotes YOU.
When you open your mouth, type an e-mail, or smile or not smile at another human being, you are promoting yourself.
When you comment or give attitude to another, you promote yourself.
When you talk behind another’s back, you promote yourself.
When you help out a stranger, you promote yourself.
How you promote yourself, promotes yourself.
You really wanna talk so-called “shameless self-promotion”?
When you push your book or short story, you totally promote yourself.
That’s shameless self-promotion. And it should be shameless.
Promote: “to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further”; “to encourage the sales, acceptance, etc., of (a product), esp. through advertising or other publicity.” Courtesy of The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged.
Shameless: “lacking any sense of shame: immodest; audacious,” and “shame” defined as “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous.” Also courtesy of The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged.
So…why should someone feel shame when talking about their “honest communication”? Talking about something near and dear to their souls? For the most part, promotion in and of itself is not a bad thing. Sure, it makes a difference in the venue and with how one expresses it, but to blog–in and of itself, in its arena-of-pertinence, to write as a writer–where’s the issue? Again, I can’t speak for or to everyone else out there in Internetland, but to writers, I think I can come pretty darned close.
How you present yourself every moment of your life promotes who you are.
If you’re a writer, write.