Back in 1922 a young writer who decided to move to Paris in order to pursue his muse was shocked to learn that many of the writers and artists who lived inside the famous city weren't really writers and artists at all. They were simply posseurs. Or posers.
People who sat about the cafes and pontificated upon the world of the arts, what was wrong with it, how they were going to somehow make a difference and turn everything that existed up until that moment onto its head. They would smoke and drink and drink and smoke, and talk and dress all in black and grow goatees and mustaches and they most certainly looked like writers and artists, but in the end they were a bunch of do nothing nobodies. Yet it was these same posseurs who came to hate the new eager young writer. In him they recognized something they lacked. He possessed drive. He possessed energy. He possessed ambition. And most of all, he possessed a talent that would only come to fruition from both hard work inside his writing studio and hard work selling himself as an adventurer and fearless sportsman to the general public. He was the real deal and for a long time, arguably "the most interesting man in the world." That young writer's name was
Just recently I attended a party hosted by a quote-"Artist"--unquote. Many artists were in attendance. Since I'm not an entirely anonymous writer and thriller author living in Albany, New York, I found myself the brunt of some backhanded jokes about my promotional "postings" for my recent bestsellers on the social networks. It was all supposed to be in good fun and I smiled and sucked it up. Ha Ha! The artists I'm referring too dress like artists. Long unwashed hair, chin beards, Salvation Army clothing. Some do yoga; some work in academia. One or two are extremely talented. A few others are talentless. They don't do gluten, and never, ever, do they utter a single non-PC word or phrase, unless of course, it's directed at someone not accepted inside their tight circle or someone they don't really like, such as a writer who not only spends his days writing but actively promoting his published work as though it were not an art necessarily, but a business.
But the truth is, writing is a business. Successfully selling your writing is an art.
My dad is going on 60 years in the commercial construction business. He is tremendously successful. He didn't get wealthy because he sat around talking about building. He didn't pretend to be a successful businessman by hanging around conferences, and country clubs, and ritzy bars buying expensive cocktails for pretty girls. He achieved success by working day and night, seven days a week. Often, he was scorned by other extended family members as being "all about his work." He was called "selfish" and "self-centered" by some of the very same people he put through school and later on, took care of financially. He wasn't so selfish then was he? I might not have followed in my dad's precise footsteps but I have learned an awful lot from him about running a business. His golden rule above all others? Work for yourself. Be your own boss, even if it means returning bottles and cans for the five cent refund for a while.
It's true, writing and the business of writing takes up a lot of time. Most of our time, that is if you are to pursue it to the best of your ability. And in my case, it can cost you dearly. I've been married twice and divorced twice. I still have difficulty maintaining a lasting relationship. I live in an apartment since I simply cannot keep up with a house. I travel often on assignment or out of pure wanderlust, because to sit in one place for too long is death for a writer. In a word, I am always working.
But the work is paying off in book sales that have quadrupled over the past year, and promise to quadruple again over the next six months. I am now lecturing to International Journalism students at
In the end, it's the work ethic that pays off. The follow-through, and finishing what you start. Just ask
Oh, and as for those artists I mentioned before...They need to work day jobs in order to support themselves. I don't have day job. A real one, that is. I work for myself. I'm a writer.