Thursday, August 6, 2015

"...And I Want To Be A Paperback Writer..." Do You Know Your Audience?

Yes, It's been a while since I've posted to this blog. My other one has been needing attention too.

Yes, I do take this blog seriously. I take all my blogs, my YouTube channel, my business, my projects, my writing seriously.

Yes, I tend to leave many irons in the fire, and tend to do whatever I can in the environment that is afforded to me. Stated another way, I have a hard time producing videos during the summer months when I have a houseful of screaming children whose primary motivation is to watch as much sugar-laden television as possible, so I hammer away at a Novelette that I just started, or do my best to come up with an interesting t-shirt design. All while making sure said children are fed, their rooms are tidy and their clothes are clean. I'm in the business of making things, and I'm doing my best to make sure excuses aren't one of them.

So, yes. Starting a channel and not cranking out material on a regular basis is probably the biggest liability one can do, especially when you're just starting out. Persistence is key in, well, everything, honestly. There is no such thing in this life as "one-and-done" and The Bottled Lightning Company went out of business years ago. You have to keep moving forward, keep progressing, keep growing in order to survive. I want to hone my skills as a writer and as a YouTube content creator, because I feel one has a lot to do with the other. Utilizing both skills at the same time will result in some fantastic material, and more than likely garner the following, the audience I've been searching for...which kind of brings me to my latest video project.

For the past month, I've been trying to come to terms with "Knowing Your Audience". It's a suggestion folded into a lesson that is provided by the YouTube Creator Academy; a channel devoted to content creators, by content creators. I have attended lessons at the Academy, but lately, I must confess that I've been playing hooky. I feel I'm sort of in that place where a certain student might feel a little disconnected because the lessons being provided aren't providing any real sustenance, which in turn will make that student drop out and travel Europe. Next thing you know, they're in an Ashram in India where they find the enlightenment they seek, return to the states, sell their new-agey, spiritually feel-goody book and make a million dollars.

...where am I going with this?

Right, I'm sure "Knowing Your Audience" might make sense to some people. Although I'm not entirely convinced it will. To me, as someone who has had experience getting up on stage on a regular basis, whether it's opening night for a play that a friend and colleague wrote, or stumbling to the stage at a Karaoke Bar, or pretending to care what the morbidly obese tourists at table 7 who rolled in here on their Hoverounds yelling at everyone in the restaurant that "they just have a glandular condition"... sorry... speaking as someone who has learned that having, connecting and engaging an audience is integral to your survival, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can count on it showing up.

And yes, I realize the definition is slightly different from getting up on stage as opposed to making content that will be around forever (i.e. Evergreen). I kind of understand that it doesn't mean the same thing. Or, does it? How do you know your audience will show up? How do you know that you've got what they want? To me, it's a little egotistical to go into something like this, primed on the misconception that "I know my audience".

...I call bullshit...

This. These are the thoughts that have occupied my headspace for the better part of two months while I wrangle my children, and get further away from my intended goals. Since I could never find the time where I could get some facetime with my Handycam, I decided instead to get some writing done. At least this way, I could create something with cartoons blaring in the background, and everyone's happy.

Long story short, lightning struck between then and now. Long story short, things were moving in a positive direction. Long story short, I have a tendency to fall down rabbit holes when it comes to finding advice, especially when I go looking on the internet.

I'm tired of looking for advice on the internet. It's never what I'm looking for, and it's always the same old information, presented in the same old format, told in the same old boring way, but given a new coat of paint and passed off as something different.

I've been writing for a while, but it's not what I've gone to school for, and that little albatros is something I hang around my neck every time I start typing away. Yes, I know it's irrational to think that way, but it may lend itself to my slightly demented, Napoleonic mindset that I always have a need to prove something. And I also understand that going to school does not necessarily equal success in the field that you studied, but that's another subject for another time.

I don't care if it's advice on how to write, talk, sing, make an apple pie, get blood stains out of carpet, everyone is going to have varying interpretations of the same story; you are going to end up at the same place, how you get there is another subject altogether. I guess in some way, the people who dispense this advice actually know their audience, the way that P.T. Barnum knew his. Everyone that dispenses advice professes that they have the secret, the golden ticket, the absolute and unmistakable best way to do something, and they will give it to YOU, you lucky, lucky person you!

YOU! YES, YOU! CHOSEN ONE! TAKE IT! IT'S YOURS...for 3 easy payments of $39.95...but WAIT! THERE'S MORE. People who dispense advice, especially on writing, aren't in the business of selling miracles, they are in the business of separating the vulnerable and naive from their money, while at the same time, filling up their inboxes with offers of stuff for sale. SELLSELLSELLSELLL!!! The way to do it is to do it this way! The only writing format that exists is to write and produce "How-To" manuals.

Well, I don't want to do it this way. I want to do it my own way. It comes down to publishing information or entertainment. Everyone will give you advice on how to publish a list, or how apple cider vinegar cures everything. I'm looking for advice on character development, story structure, and plot development. You know...the other writing. What I'm trying to say is that I got more than a little disheartened on my journey. My definition of being a published author is slightly different that what most people think it is.

Needless to say, I've become more than a little disheartened on my journey. That is, until I found this...

Simple, to the point. Everything you need to know, you know already, and it's people like him, formats and subjects like this that validate, inspire and encourage one to move forward. My next video will be trying to cover this subject.

For now, I need to go change a diaper and get lunch ready.