An Introvert's Journal: BB Steps
I’m thinking about, of all things, starting a YouTube channel…
In April, I was invited to speak about my books with a Penn State University lit class, and the experience kindled a fire of inspiration within me. The students had so many insightful questions and such irrepressible enthusiasm that I returned home burning with story ideas and began to write. I called up my dusty novel WIP and blew the cobwebs from it. After a brief hiatus, during which I had questioned the wisdom of continuing to write (as if there is actually a choice, alas), I was back in harness!
I knew, however, that I would need to wrestle with the dire beast of PROMOTION and get it into a good solid headlock. Gotta tell you, I have been thrashed by this beast at every turn to date. I knew that PROMOTION liked to be fed early (before a book even casts a shadow on a shelf anywhere) and often. An inveterate trickster, it waits until I think I understand how to approach it, then gallops off in a completely different direction with a disdainful howl. I felt I might be at the proper point in my writing journey to grapple with this in some adult fashion, a departure from my usual wailing and gnashing of teeth. This time, I would try to make it fun.
This is where YouTube comes in. It occurred to me that after 25 years of writing, publication and rejection, and coaching and editing other writers, I might have something useful to impart to viewers looking for that sort of, er…wisdom. I mean, I'm not exactly without a few writing chops. So, I thought of this blog. But a blog only goes so far toward feeding PROMOTION, right? This is 2023, and folks want more than that (this is just me thinking, so don’t take this as advice). Naturally, video came to mind, and where else to go with that than to YouTube. Set up my own cozy channel in a dim alley where it’s always twilight and sometimes still with the hush of a first snowfall (always a first snowfall). A crooked little bookshop with a cat, the scent of coffee on the air, a fire in the grate, and the indigo of shrouded evening smudging the leaded windows. Ok, we’re in my head…sorry.
Anyway, off I went (to Amazon, so it wasn’t far) to get myself a tripod and a mic to create some offerings. I used my phone to shoot a few tests because, while I absolutely do not know how to do this, enthusiasm carried the day. The lighting and sound seemed adequate, and my backdrop wasn’t disgusting, but I was horrified with how I looked. Who was that ancient being, and why did she look so exhausted? While I want to talk about writing dark fiction, there is no need to look like the undead.
Now, I am nearly 55 years old and reasonably fit and healthy, but pale and plain. Normally, I spend, oh, about…zero time thinking about how I look. I never wear makeup (unless you count Chapstick) and my hair sports the ravishing style called ponytail most of the time. I’m not bragging. I’m just that put together. Seriously, I had to do better. So off I went, this time to Walmart, to gather the spackle and paint for my renovation. I dropped cash I can ill afford on BB Cream (what?), blush, and a glossy lip tint. I already possessed an unused tube of mascara, so that was a bonus. I bought all these products from the same maker simply because I was standing in front of them. The cosmetics department is an exercise in overwhelm if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Safely home, I retired to the bathroom to apply these things. I am not skilled, so I was conservative in both the amount applied and the colors I chose. The effect was not entirely discouraging, but the hair…I threw myself upon the mercy of a hairstylist and got groomed. With my tamed coif, I returned to my attic room to shoot a few more tests. I’ve included one of them for giggles.
Am I vain? More so than I thought, apparently. Am I scared? That would be a big affirmative. An introvert to the core, I am dragging myself out from under my perfectly satisfactory rock because I have stories to tell and stuff to say about the creation of stories. I want to share both with writers and readers alike, and PROMOTION will scavenge a few scraps. I may be too old to morph into the socially adept marketing whiz every writer needs (or needs to become), but I am also too old to be shy about trying. Stories want readers.