Monday, September 26, 2011

Be a Rockstar!

You're a writer, so you're probably not wearing leather pants up on a stage in front of thousands of adoring crowds as the pyrotechnics blast off, filling the arena with the haze only spent benzine fuel could create while you do your work. (I you are, well that's awesome and I want to be you.) No. You're probably sitting in your office, living room, library, or coffee shop pecking away at your keyboard...alone. So how do you become a rockstar, and why?

Rockstars are generally really good at their craft. (And yes, this can be anything...not just music anymore. A Rockstar is somebody that is really good at what they do, and they have the personality that makes it fun to be witness to their genius. They are flamboyant and even a little arrogant. They make difficult things look easy and smile when they are done like they know you're amazed.

A rockstar is a surgeon who performs delicate brain surgery while whistling "Yankee Doodle" and when they are done, they say 'it was nothing.' 

A rockstar is an athlete who makes the opposition look like fools, and when they win, their celebration is elaborate and planned, because they knew they would win.

A rockstar is a writer who spins tales of intrigue that memorize their audience while they goof off in the media (or social media) but yet they never say anything dumb...they're just fun.

What you don't see though is the surgeon spending long hours in the library or skills lab, the athlete pushing their body to the limit, or the writer sitting at they keyboard typing out lines and lines of text even when they don't want to.

A rockstar is brilliant and arrogant in the public eye, but privately, they are mad perfectionists making sure their skills are the best in the world, and they won't settle for less. They work harder than anybody else, but they don't let the world see.

Why do you want to be a rockstar and not just a 'brilliant writer?' People love rockstars and their personalities, and they sell a lot of their work. And wouldn't that be nice if you were able to sell tons of copies of your book and actually quit your dayjob? A brilliant writer might write great books, but just like a brilliant musician, if nobody reads/listens to them, does it really matter?

If a brilliant book gets published in the middle of the forest, but nobody is around to read it, is the book really brilliant?

So how do you do this? How do you become a rockstar? YOU WORK YOUR ASS OFF IN PERFECTING YOUR CRAFT. You type at your keyboard until your fingers are arthritic and then you take some Alieve and keep going. You read voraciously in and out of your genre. Fiction and Non-fiction and you become the best damn writer you can be. And once you do that, you keep doing it day in and day out.

But you must also take some time out of your day to polish your rockstar image. Get on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or your blog and smirk at the world as if you barely work at all. Poke fun of the latest Franzen novel and even belittle some of your own work by brushing off praise. Even pretend like you don't need or want it. Or perhaps you go Muhammad Ali and and proclaim yourself the greatest writer of all time...even if you don't know it yet.

"I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was." Muhammad Ali

Once you are oozing with confidence because you're convinced yourself that you truly are a bad-ass , and you mix that with the hard work you have put into your just might become a rockstar and the greatest writer of all time.

(This was a very fun post to write, and plus, it gave me an excuse to put up a picture of Judas Priest)


Ciara Ballintyne September 26, 2011 at 7:30 PM  

An arrogant perfectionist... Well, I am a lawyer, so arrogance goes with the territory to some degree. Check. I've always been a perfectionist - I'm what gets called variously a details person, a completer-finisher, and also someone who can't delegate because someone else just won't do it right! Check.

Flamboyance... I probably tick that box too but I think it's hard for that to bleed through Twitter. It's just not possible to type the way I am. I have been told my blog reads the way I talk, but you'll have to imagine the facial expressions, gestures, foot-stamping and tones of voice.

So, I guess this puts me well on the road to rockstardom? ;-)

Fun post, Michael, really enjoyed it.

Kelly Stone Gamble September 26, 2011 at 7:41 PM  

I don't see me taking the Muhammad Ali route, and I already engage with people on social media sites, so I guess I'm going to have to break out the leather pants. Time to brush up on "You've Got Another Thing Comin'".

Bethany Elizabeth September 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM  

I think I need to work on the Rockstar a little bit. :) Right now I'm more like intern. Which is good, because the world needs interns, but sad, because I don't necessarily want to be identified as one forever. :)

Michael A Tate September 26, 2011 at 10:16 PM  

Ciara: Yea, I don't know how to get the rockstar across on Twitter...trying to figure it out though. But damn, what are the rockstar lawyers like?

Kelly: Ha, love the reference. (BTW, even now in their 60's they still rock the leather pants and look pretty good in them)

Bethany: Yea, sounds like you've got to take that guitar next time you're out there doing a sound check and start a mind-blowing solo and don't stop until you've got your own band :D

Glad everybody's enjoyed this little post.

Rock On!

John Wiswell September 27, 2011 at 10:21 PM  

I know for certain that between academia and my own writing desk, I spent at least six years polishing my craft and destroying my social skills. It's taken some effort to build them up. I doubt I'll ever have the rockstar persona. I could do some open mic nights, though.

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