These Go To Eleven
As an author, I hear a lot of "shoulds" "You should write a book about..." "You should incorporate graphs and analytics." "You should have interviewed me" (after my book is a finished product). When you're creative, you open yourself up to a lot of back-seat artists.
I don't say this with malice, only minor frustration. My answer to anyone telling me what I should do, is to reply "If you like the idea so much, you should do it."
I realize that not everyone will be interested in my topics. I also realize that not everyone will like my presentation. I have been fortunate to get really great reviews from strangers. People I don't know giving their honest and unbiased opinion. I have had some reviews that were less than favorable and sure, it stung. It stings the most when there is truth to the critique. I get over it and apply it to my next project and am ultimately happy that it was pointed out to me.
When I decided to create Reality Books, my goal was to only use stories from real people focusing on emotions. I did not want to tell the reader what to think. I don't want to analyze the data, incorporate charts and graphs and come to one conclusion, because these are people's experiences. Not scientific testing. My interviews are informal and I have no real control over who decides to share. I put out the call, if I get a good story, I use it. I try to be very careful to not alter the responses. I want it to be the author's words. Grammar is edited and if there are words that are used multiple times, I do change some of them to make it flow. But if I change the story too much, then I am not providing an accurate account of what was originally intended. It's not my story to tell.
If I were to analyze and conclude, it would be my interpretation. In my book The Virgin Diaries, seventy- two people share the emotional side of virginity loss. These are the nice folks who saw my ad and decided they wanted to contribute. I can conclude that most didn't get advice from anyone about first time sex. I can conclude that it's painful for females and that males have a much easier time, generally speaking. But is this new? Does it validate the stories and all of a sudden make what these people wrote have more merit? No.
The point is to collect all different kinds of experiences so that the readers can form their own conclusions. If you want data, graphs and charts, you have many other options. I am not a doctor nor am I an expert and I don't even want to be one. I think people are interesting and I like hearing about how it is for them. I trust the reader has a brain and can make up his or her own mind.
People want answers. They want a book or a TV show to say, "Here is an answer for you" so that life can be less confusing. But life IS confusing and those who are so quick to provide answers aren't (in my opinion) really making a huge difference.
Let's take the book The Rules. I bought it. It gives you all kinds of guidelines and examples of what you should do in order to win a man. Frankly, I thought it was a bunch of malarkey. It was a book of how to lie and manipulate men. Maybe these rules will work in the short term but if a man is into you, he'll call. Stupid tricks and games aren't going to win over the truth. And why would anyone want to force or manipulate someone into wanting them anyway? If it's genuine, it's real. If you have to jump through hoops and work with smoke and mirrors, I believe it's more a game than a real, honest relationship.
So I apply this to how I work. I will never claim to have your answer. I have a hard enough time knowing what my answer is. Perhaps I could all of a sudden promote myself as the "Go To Virginity Lady." Or the woman who has all the answers to how men deal with heartbreak. And maybe if I just make that proclamation, people might consider me an expert because I say I am and buy more of my books. But I would be a fraud. And I don't want that. I am just the woman who asks questions and lets everyone read the answers. You have the opportunity to then do your own analyzing and make up your own mind. This won't change. I am breaking out of the mold a bit and doing things the way I want to. Creating books that I want to read.
I certainly don't want to say that books like Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus have no value or are a bunch of malarkey. I read that book as well and though I do remember feeling like it had some really good things to say, I couldn't tell you what the message was. It didn't change my life. I didn't feel like I suddenly had the answers to the difference between men and women. I gained some insight. That is what I hope to achieve. Provide insight for those interested in the topic I am covering.
In case the title of this blog is confusing, I am including a link to one of my all-time favorite movies This Is Spinal Tap and in keeping with the message of this post, you can figure out how I came to title it!