All it takes is an hour or so going through my Twitter stream to end up feeling overwhelmed and very very small. So many writers. So many books. Stinkers? Yes, of course. Brilliance? In copious quantities. Ultimately I am forced to ask the question, because I would like to succeed. I mean, if being a successful writer didn’t matter to me then I would just plug along, content to write what I like, damn the torpedoes and not give a nilly willy.
So I’ve given a lot of thought to standing out. I’m not certain that I’ve found the Holy Grail – in part because I don’t believe there is one. I think standing out is a combination of luck, talent, right place right time and occasionally right people.
I think there are right ways and wrong ways to stand out. There’s the Miley way. Then there’s everything else. What I mean to say is that the flash that comes with being over the top may garner short term success, but ultimately it falls flat.
Some say the best way to stand out is to be good, that being good will have its own reward someday. A bit Pollyanna and perhaps even true to some extent but I don’t know if I believe that.
I will say that standing out requires a lot of hard work and stamina. You have to be willing to fail a few times. Harkening back to my old paramedic days, it can be a lot like starting an IV. Sometimes you have to take a stab at what you think will be a good spot. If you get the IV, great! You are a hero. If not, you search around, trying different angles and depths until you find the gold. I think that standing out requires the same technique. I also believe that what works for one will not necessarily work for all. Like so many other things that have to do with writing, experimentation is the key.
Perhaps being yourself is the key? Hard to completely discount this one, but at the risk of sounding harsh, I’ll ask, “So what?” Being yourself will not necessarily make you stand out from the crowd. It might, I guess. I wonder if Miley is just being herself.
One of the battles we face these days is the sheer ease of slipping into the writing world. If you have a computer and an Amazon account you can publish and see your smiling face on one of the world’s most well-known sites. Think of it this way: If you have to find Waldo on a page with a hundred or so characters it might be a bit of a challenge but not a huge one. Find Waldo with 50,000 characters on the page and you will likely drive yourself over the edge. How is THAT for putting things into perspective?
Perhaps one of the keys is engaging others at every opportunity. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. You know. You’ve seen/heard this a thousand times. It would be hard to argue against casting a wide net but I’m sure there has to be more to standing out than just this.
I think that ultimately it comes down to a combination of many things. In a previous paragraph I mentioned luck and being in the right place at the right time. Don’t discount this. Perhaps by engaging, being yourself and working hard you will end up in the right place at the right time.