Shhh… wanna know a secret and a guilty pleasure of mine? So, it’s wacky Wednesday – at least in my world and I wanted to do an entirely different post than I normally do. I’ve been dealing with some crap in my life lately (we all go through periods of time) and I was reminded yesterday by hearing a favorite song of mine that we all can’t take life but so seriously. That includes all of us as writers. In talking with other writers in several of the Facebook rooms lately and in seeing what seems to be increasing stress, I realized I was falling into the same frustrating and worrying mode it’s SO easy to get into when you are…well, stressed.
A little probably unknown tidbit about me – For the record – I am a card carrying, been to several concerts and yes wearing tropical attire including headpieces, purchased every album he’s even made and DVD’s parrot head. YEP – you heard it here first. I LOVE Jimmy Buffett and all he stands for. And before you roll your eyes as bad bar or club renditions of Margaritaville give you horrible flashbacks to days gone by, what many of you may or may not know about this man is he is a consummate business man and a multi-million dollar franchise owner – along with continuing at 65 years of age young to perform every year in front of thousands.
If you’ve never heard his music or gone to the always sold out for months ahead concerts – being a parrot head is a state of mind. It’s like taking a vacation every day through music, clothes, food, locations, clubs, and books and in seeing his wonderful words where you can make almost anything fun. You see not only is Jimmy a musician but he’s an author – an award winning on the New York Times Best Seller list author. He writes everything from a campy stories, set of course in beach like areas, to children’s books. He’s actually damn good and through reading his stories I always have a smile on my face – something that’s been tough for me this last year.
Why do I bring up the man and his mega empire? A couple of reasons. He started out in Biloxi Mississippi as a bar/lounge singer – and yes he started out in country music. He slowly – VERY slowly – garnered a following and in the early eighties really started making a name for himself. As he grew in popularity and changed his style to more island music, he also began giving back to the community. So much so that with Biloxi was devastated by hurricane Katrina, he was contacted by the Governor of the state and together they decided on and Jimmy funded his brand new casino/hotel/entertainment facility giving over 1,000 much needed jobs and careers for the area. It’s doing well, even in this brutal economy. But…his reason for doing something of this nature was about giving people a welcome respite from their every day lives and traumas.
I had shed about a bazillion tears this last couple of weeks and had my SO put on one of the oldest collaborations he did with a man who is Jimmy’s friend and Coral Reefer band member – Mac McAnally. The song called It’s My Job – is really something that hit home with me. It’s a fun piece of course but it talks about if you think you have a sucky job – just wait… I’ve provided a link – sadly this is one of the first recordings/videos so it’s not that exciting but he does a fabulous rendition on a Live album – Cincinnati. Of course of which I own. It really made me think about writing.
So you want to be a writer – really? Do you think all you have to do is sit down, write the next great American novel, find a good publisher and wahla – you are a hit? Excuse me while I go get a margarita. That’s not only unlikely to happen – don’t care what happened to the woman from 50 Shades… It’s just not. I have a lot of books out and what I do know and am learning are some important lessons… Loyalty really does goes a long way – whether it’s from a publisher to a writer or vice versa and your reader loyalty will help increase your sales as well. This is not a sprint – it’s a lifelong journey if you have the endurance. People are catty and jealous – but in truth bad behavior is no different than in any other type of job. And… guess what, the starting pay sucks. Why do I use the work sucks?
I talk to writers, including new ones and some still have stars in their eyes about writing. Not trying to burst any bubbles but being more realistic about my goals and needs from writing. If you stop loving to write, or are pushed into being something you’re not, it’s going to reflect in your books, your life, your passion and your love. I haven’t taken time out for me in so long I was starting to lose me. Sorry folks, going to get HER back.
One of the comments Mac says about It’s My Job – is that any job is good, no matter how much it might suck, because it’ll help you get to a job that’s less sucky. Sounds simple but isn’t that profound? After shedding tears about so many things, when my SO put on the music I couldn’t help but smile. Then he used an interesting correlation. He said… Tell other writers that the very first royalty statement they receive is going to suck. Unless lightning strikes, and that is really only one in a trillion, it’s going to suck. After you pick yourself up off the floor and then photocopy the check or the print out from Paypal you decide if you want to go on. Most of us do and will.
Okay – it’s a few months later and you get another check. If you’ve done your homework, marketing etc, guess what? The check will suck less. And the next one will suck even less. Do you get where I’m going with this? Writing is and has to be a passion. Don’t allow the naysayers and the ones who might be jealous or those who possibly will try and derail your career along the way. Do this for YOU and the rest will – eventually suck less.
As for Jimmy – I suggest to garner a smile you go to his fabulous Internet site – www.margaritaville.com for some sexy merchandise and just a fabulous place that will remind you what life really is about. As for his music – here’s the link so you can have a little fun. I hope you garnered an insight into a little bit about the wicked girl – who’s also an island girl. Smile today and listen to some festive music.
“Living and dying in three quarter time…” Jimmy Buffett