Amanda Hocking has garnered one hell of a lot of attention over the past year–and for good reason. Frustrated by rejections from major publishers, she finally posted some of her work to Amazon and became–pretty much–an overnight success. Tons of money, plenty of media attention, and finally, a big publishing contract with mainstream publishing.
People have said all kinds of things about her, and out of curiosity, I went to read her blog. What struck me most was how much a writer she is. This is her life. Her passion. This is her calling, her choice, her excitement, her delight, her entire reason for choosing this incarnation.
Tonight there is a post well worth reading: Some Random Things From Two Years Ago. It’s enjoyable for any of the writers reading here because she is doing something we all do: observing herself observing. For anyone who hasn’t spent her entire life in this mode, it probably sounds odd, but this is what writers do. We understand the world by writing about it, and we understand ourselves by writing about our observations, and we understand our own history by writing about observing our observations.
Yes, self-referential. But we understand the world by observing the way we react to the world. I clearly remember wanting to write about my first sale and everything that happened around that because it was the culmination of so much heartfelt dreaming, a desperation I was never sure would find fruition, and that’s what I love about this post by Hocking. She’s hungry. Very, very, very hungry. She says,
“From a blog posted on March 27, 2009: I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked before. And I don’t know what more to do. I mean, I’m not gonna stop trying. Ever.
But I would like to try a different approach, since this one doesn’t seem to be working, and doing the same thing I always do will get me the same things I’ve always gotten. So if anyone has any ideas, I’ll take them all. If I ever want my books to get published, I’ve got to do something to make it happen, but I’m not entirely sure what that it is.”
She is also a good writer, which has been lost sometimes in all the publicity about her youth and genre. She is young, and her work will grow with her, but this is an example of the good writing sensibility she illustrates even early on (a MySpace post):
“For what it’s worth, Marilyn Manson is one of the few consistently awesome musicians out there. I always enjoy his music. Well, everything after ‘Portrait of an American Family.’ I wish he would drop the whole ‘oh look at me I’m dark and mysterious and evil or something’ schtick. Nobody thinks he’s hardcore. His music is better than he is, but it’s like goth pop. Metallic new wave. It’s about as hardcore as lima beans. I love his always. But seriously? You’re 40. Grow up.”
As hardcore as lima beans. Goth pop.
Gotta love it.
Sometimes I feel a lot of pressure to get out there and be “normal.” Volunteer. Have dinner parties. Keep regular hours. Wear the right clothes. ( I really feel this pressure lately!)
And yet, what I know to be true is that writers are an odd lot. It’s just that simple. We’re reclusive and tend toward eccentric habits like going to bed at 7:30 pm or 5:00 am or searching madly for candy corn when it isn’t in season. There are only two people in the world that I will talk to on the phone for more than five minutes: my BWF (best writing friend) and my sister, and trust me, other people comment on it. I need VAST amounts of quiet time, and get really, really, really excited when I know I will be alone in the house for three days (which is coming up this week). I don’t really want to wear suits. I want to wear emerald green hippie dresses and bare sandals with a super long scarf from India.
When I read Amanda Hocking’s blog, I remember that all of that is okay. It’s part of my DNA. She’s eccentric, too, and she was bound to be a writer, and she reminds me how much I adore this particular profession, and how lucky I am. Whatever happens, I love it. I love writing. I love being read. I love all of it .
And so does she. May she live long and prosper. And write a hundred books she adores.
Do you sometimes feel an oddball in your world? Do you like it or not? When did you know you were a writer?