I had read and enjoyed the article and was then browsing the comments when I came across Bart’s words. I fully empathised with Bart’s sentiments and carried away almost blogged about it in the comments box. Fortunately the lack of a spelling and grammar checker in the box held me down to a large comment.
What galvanised me was the thought “Why do we feel like that?” because I also have that feeling of guilt when trying to sell. After some thought I now believe it is due to our personal belief of the value we perceive the item is worth to the customer. Compounded by the feelings we feel when a pushy salesperson invades our space trying to sell something.
Let us consider the value feelings first. In order to write good work, you have to be self critical and submit to the criticism of others. You have to be prepared to tear apart, discard, rewrite, and rethink much of what you do. This unending belief that your work is not yet good enough, has to have some influence on your thinking. It would be understandable for you to think “My product is so unworthy when compared to other good works, you Mr Customer would be better off spending your money there.”
This ‘Self doubt’ is nicely covered by Jennie Nash in her article and so I will leave it to you to read her words. What is significant here is that if we know of a brilliant deal for people, then we all pass on the ‘good news’ without any guilt, because we believe in it. If we don’t have belief, then guilt saps our enthusiasm.
This then leads nicely on to the point about selling. We are all nice people and we all dislike a pushy salesperson in our face trying to SELL us something. Yet now we feel that we are thrust into that very same odious role. If we also don’t have belief in our work then we add guilt to a lack of confidence, sapping any enthusiasm for the task.
It is our perception of the value of our work when received by others that binds us.
It is our perspective on what we have done and why we are doing it, which drains enthusiasm.
If I may, let me offer a slightly different perspective on what your work is.
It is bottled emotion, a good time, escapism, a pleasant experience, pleasure… It is a performance.
A performance that will entertain a select audience and this audience enjoys the same pleasures that you do.
As we write, we drench the page with words and phrases that one day will pour forth through the eyes and into the minds of our readers. Words that initiate a performance in the reader’s mind, one that brings joy or sadness, love or loathing, warmth or chills, any combination of emotions that elicit pleasure for the reader.
As we write, if we know and keep in mind our readers, if we entertain them as each and every word is crafted onto the page. If we place centre stage, characters that are full and fascinating. If we pace our delivery as would an actor when making an audience hang on his words. If we feel with them as they hold their breath as cliff hangers unfold. If our writing becomes our best performance FOR THEM.
Then it is not an unworthy book that might be sold, it is a package of your readers enjoyment and pleasure.
You are not selling; you are making a performance available, one written specifically for and only for those who will enjoy what you do.
Do this, know this and ‘selling’ is not such an evil.
Please entertain me in the future.
Jennie Nash: http://www.jennienash.com/
Bart Schaneman: http://rainfollowstheplow.wordpress.com/about/
Five Reasons Good Writers Fail: http://www.topicturtle.com/five-reasons-good-writers-fail/