Why I love Amanda Hocking

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?


16 thoughts on “Why I love Amanda Hocking

  1. I swear, the more I write, the more I dedicate myself to my writing – the odder I get! I was always the geek girl in school, but this goes beyond that. But guess what? I don’t care. I love writing and I will never give it up.

  2. I work at Amazon and write and paint in my spare time. My favorite quote is “If I quieted the voices in my head I would face the day with nothing to write.” I’m always relieved to read your blog and other writers, you make my normal, normal. LOL. And working at Amazon was the first job I have ever had that made me feel proud to be creative and do what I do. The first twenty minutes of working there I thought this is my place. Our motto; Work hard, have fun and make history.

  3. Barbara Samuel

    Great post, Shannon. Congrats on landing in a place that makes you feel so right in your world. LOL…make history. Think that’s been covered. 🙂

  4. Barbara Samuel

    Janel, that’s the good thing: most of us don’t care a whit!

  5. A beautiful post and such kind words about a young woman who refueled the hopes and dreams of writers everywhere. You are, as always, an inspiration to me.

    • Barbara Samuel

      Very glad, Sheila. She really did refuel the dreams of the aspiring writers of the world. Can never have too much of that!

  6. Barbara, I loved this post – I’ve spent half my life trying to talk myself into being ‘normal’ and never succeeded. I remember arguing with my family about my habit of going to airports two hours early – they couldn’t understand how I could enjoy people watching and eavesdropping (yes, I admit it and if the dialogue is good, I’ll even whip out my notebook) as much as the trip itself. I believe daydreaming is as needed as oxygen, I talk to myself and every time I watch the news I see something that sparks a story idea. If I had a choice between spending the afternoon with a movie star or an art forger, I’d go for the forger….and so would every other writer I know. Your blog is great, I read it all the time. Thanks so much for your wise, kind and always generous hearted posts.

    • Barbara Samuel

      Thanks, Cheryl. What a great comment! (And yes, absolutely the forger. If you find one, let us know!)

  7. Oh my gosh. I’ve ALWAYS been the oddball! I grew up loving the past, immersing myself in historical novels, wishing and dreaming I could walk around wearing a hoopskirt from the Civil War era. 🙂 Nowadays, I dream about wearing clothes from the 1940s, putting a flower in my pin-curled hair, and jitterbugging. I am not yet brave enough to do any of them…yet.

    But I am an oddball in other ways. I, too, love long stretches of time when I’m home (I rarely do anything on the weekends since I work full-time. The weekends are my writing time). I don’t volunteer (even at my daughter’s school…which makes me feel sort of guilty), don’t hold house parties, don’t do my hair and make-up every day (and don’t even feel the need to), don’t watch cable t.v., don’t put my daughter in sports (she has no desire to – she has her art lessons and that is good enough for her), don’t worry about clothing labels or what kind of car I drive or what kind of house I live in.

    You’re right – writers are odd balls and reclusive and a bit peculiar. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

  8. Me again…I just realized I recently wrote a blog post about being an oddball:


    (If you’re interested…) 🙂

  9. My writing origin is bizarre. My dad is a film critic and never thought about writing before he asked to write a column on his site when I was 16…and the just like that I went on to study journalism in college and now I’m a freelance writer.

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