On my “About Colleen” page I allow comments but do not approve them for viewing. I had to laugh at the very long comment I received in which I was told that I don’t take “good enough care of yourself and your career” with my hair going every which way. I was told I look a bit “balmy” but I’m not even sure what that means. Is that British slang? So let’s start with my image, which coincidentally I was going to change but I just can’t now. My hair is in what we call here in North America an up-doo. Most of the hair is pinned up in looping curls with a few curls hanging down. The every which way this person commented on is actually something on the wall behind my head and possibly the chopsticks that were in my hair. The rest of the cropped out photo had me in long white gloves and a lace shawl, wearing a corset and holding three books in which my erotic writing has been published.
But it’s nice to know someone can psychologically analyze me from one picture alone. I have revealed aspects of my past life on here and talked openly about the fact that I was abused. But not every abused person is an emotional wreck nor a slob. So although this person decided that I was uh, balmy from one photo, one photo does not a person make. Think costume, folks. I like to dress up. And should you ever interview people who know me they will almost all say I have a strong sense of style. But maybe I can use this when I sell my novel: by the balmy writer, Colleen Anderson.
I was also told to “join Debtors Anonymous if I were you, where you will find others of the creative type who refuse to acknowledge that they need to make a living with their art and remain scattered and disorganized.” Hmm, Debtors Anonymous is not where one goes to make a living but where one goes to manage debts out of control. I’m sure I’ve said little about my monetary lifestyle and I am happily making a living. At times I have made a living off of my writing and at other times it supplements my income. If I surveyed most of the members of SF Canada (where I was once president to help organize things) there would be less than 5% who make their living off of writing. Even when selling a novel, chances are that unless you’re doing three a year you may not make a living. We all can’t be as lucky as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. 🙂 I would also like to say that people who have debts are not just artists. All sorts of people end up in huge debt-owing situations, especially with the economy of the past couple years. Let’s not stigmatize artists as all owing money and being scattered and disorganized. Try writing a blog five days a week for two years and see how scattered that makes you.
Now she did give some advice for artists though some of these points go against the ability of a debt-owing artist and are a little too all-encompassing. “If you can write poetry, draw, write and edit and sculpt, why not establish yourself in an art gallery that you start with others cooperatively, while maintaining control of the exhibits and publicity?” Writing is pretty hard to display in a gallery and where would a scattered and disorganized artist get the money to rent or buy a gallery? These things can be done but running a gallery is a different ball of wax from creating art. Still, it’s not a bad idea if I was doing more than writing. Better to own a bookstore than a gallery if you’re a writer.
“Craft a career with real direction instead of wandering about aimlessly, hoping to ghost write other peoples’ lives.” Errr…really? Ghost write other people’s lives? I don’t think I’ve done this except for the lives I’ve made up. Ghost writing, if done properly, can be very lucrative. I would never ghost write for anyone who didn’t pay professional wages. I kinda wish I could wander aimlessly. Writing can only be accomplished by…writing and that takes solitary time and dedication. As I’ve said before, perseverance is a large part of the recipe.
“You can then properly exhibit all your creations, package and market your poetry books and novels and short stories and articles properly while helping other creative artists to get their own products out there for sale.” Oof, when I do this I hope to be editing a magazine or part of a publishing house. I can package and market my books but it is infinitely better if they’re not all self-published. There are some very good self-publishing ventures these days that some of my friends have decided to go for as the publishing market gets tighter. I may look at this option in the future but it does take a certain amount of capital to begin, not something a person in Debtors Anonymous could afford though.
“Hosting a weekly party with fresh invites out each time can bring new audiences into the space to expand your reputations and putting flyers on windshields to announce your openings which occur regularly can bring in people, too. Everybody will show up for a bit of juice and food, especially if music is playing. Put out a tip jar in front of the musicians, so a variety of musicians will do the honors for your entertainments.” Don’t forget that juice and food, and gallery space, and flyers all take money. They are not heaven sent. But to put out flyers if you have a reading or send invites is a good thing to do and of course, galleries should have invite lists when they’re starting.
If I thought my mother read the internet I would thank her for her opinion. Likewise, I thank this person for concern in my welfare, even if based on a lot of assumptions. Still, brainstorming on ways to publicize and suggestions as she gave are not bad and can always be used by someone.