So I have to admit, I'm a Cafe Press junkie. (www.cafepress.com) They have THE BEST t-shirts and fun stuff covering all sorts of categories. Better yet, you can create your own T-shirt for very little cost. Remember back in the 80's when you could heat transfer all sorts of groovy logos onto a "French cut" t-shirt at the mall? Well, it's the same principle here, only the quality is far better, and you don't have to limit yourself to that cheesy, formfitting cut of T-shirt. (I'm more of a "French fry cut" shirt myself.)
Anyway, the reason I bring it up, besides the fact that I love the website, is that Cafepress.com has a tremendous selection of T-shirts for the writing life. I was blown away by how many fun shirts there were that explained, in about six words or less, exactly what I was thinking, or what I wanted to tell people about my writing career.
I think my favorite, at the moment, is the one that states in bold letters, "I'm not staring at you because I like you. You've just given me an idea how to kill off my villain."
Granted, that's more than six words, but still, it's brilliant. Ranks up there with, "Oh, this is sooooo going into my next novel."
Writers are not always a bold lot. We tend to hide what we do, thinking we'll only tell people about it once we are famous. To this I say, "BLAH!" You are a writer! You already do something most people in the US cannot fathom, which is string together a whole lot of words in some sort of cohesive story. (Given the literacy rate in this country, just being able to WRITE puts you in the top 50% of the population.)
Folks, you just can't wait until you're famous to tell people what you do. Think about it...who's going to buy that first book? Someone you don't know, or your mother, your cousin, your best friends?
Blanche du Bois once breathed, "I have always relied on the kindness of strangers." Well, Blanche had issues. A lot of issues. (BTW, if you aren't sure who she is...get the to a library and check out a copy of "Streetcar named Desire.") And Blanche probably didn't have a novel sitting on her hard drive either. So forget waiting for strangers to spread the word about your greatness. Start advertising to your family and friends!
Hey, I used to be shy about what I did. Ask anyone from my writer's group. Oh sure, my funny stuff I could read all day long. But my fiction? Well, let's just say that the working title for one of my novels at the time was, "The Stupid Novel." We all lovingly shortened it to "TSN."
Now, I can't be in conversation for more than five minutes with a stranger without mentioning that I have a book coming out in April. Or that a second book has been requested by a couple of agents. (Even my 21 year old donut eating personal trainer knows this tidbit about me, and I've only met him twice.)
But that's just me. Those who know me know that I tend to be a bit more...outgoing...than your average human. Which brings me back to Cafe Press. How many times have you wished you could start a conversation about writing with someone, but don't have the words? Well, you can cure that simply by wearing a T-shirt that says it all for you!
Don't believe me? How about this: I won a t-shirt recently at a writer's conference. It says, "What I really need are minions." I've worn this shirt twice and may have to put it away simply because I get stopped by people who insist on reading the whole thing and then laughing out loud. I actually had a skinhead in tears of laughter in the cereal aisle at my local grocery store because of that. And, as you may know, skinheads aren't exactly a laugh out loud group of people!
So my friends, keep writing (that means you, too, Elliott! Your novel is too brilliant to hide in the swamps of Florida!) But remember, a big part of writing is also marketing yourself and your book. Tell people what you do, be proud of what you're writing! (There's a great T at Cafe press that says, "I prefer to think of myself as pre-published."
You can say a lot simply by wearing the proper T-shirt. So, get thee to www.cafepress.com Buy a great t-shirt, and get out there and tell the world you're a writer!