Kristen Lamb tells writers to “be sticky” if they want people to notice them and their books. Even though “being sticky” comes very naturally to me as a mom of two young children ;- ), in my writing, that’s something else.
There are three areas Kristen urges you to be sticky if you want to succeed at social media (and, alas, a mom-writer’s clothes and hair are not among the three. Rats! ;-).
Two of them are internet-related, the third is our writing itself.
While I dropped my youngest off in kindergarten, I mulled over what I had read in Kristen’s book Rise of the Machines. And realized that this isn’t just something about writers. It applied to the people I ran into as well.
How often do we really stick out our neck? And how often do we take the safe road and blend in? At the cost of being “non-sticky” or almost invisible. Non-memorable.
How about you? When did you learn that talking freely about what you felt was your truth (in any given situation) wasn’t safe? That it got you in hot waters with your teachers, your parents, your first boy-friend, perhaps?
Before our move abroad, I was talking to a friend I had rediscovered on Facebook. He had last seen me when I was 16, just embarking on a relationship that later turned out to be abusive. When I told him about moving to Qatar for three years, he urged me to not start a one-woman-revolution there. I thought: “What is he talking about? Me? Why should I?”
He remembered me as I had been, at 12-13-14 years old. Running around in my hometown with a bright red cap, dispensing flyers on a busy Saturday about women’s rights. (Pathologically shy me!) Even pressing one into the mayor’s hand with an acidic comment when he came by by chance (I was camped out near the city hall). Sending my poetry to magazines and competitions, totally convinced that it was superb and much-needed. And even getting it published at the tender age of 14. It seemed only natural to me at the time — today, I shake my head how confident I was, how sure that I’d be published.
Then … stuff happened. Life. Boys who punish you for being “all brain” or who seek to hurt you, verbally, physically, when you seem to be too self-confident. After uni, it carried over into my nonfiction writing through my work. (University had taken care of the fiction writing already.) If you talk to other editors and agents all day, get trainings every few months on how to write the perfect fluffy nonfiction book that appeals to everyone and offends no one, it rubs off on you.Now with Kristen’s advice on “writing sticky books” in my ear, I have been quietly exploring for months, how true to my ideas and convictions I dare to be in my nonfiction.
If you write like anybody else and what anyone else could have contributed to a topic, then a reader won’t see that this is you writing to them. And they won’t hear your voice.
Time to put on the red cap and stand up. Become sticky!
((reblogged from my old blog-address at Weebly, hence the wonky formatting))
Brida Anderson’s novel, Hedge Games, released in December. You can find her at www.brida-anderson.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a fae-cat called Robin.