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The Relatability of Fame

Why breaking through as a writer takes more than just a fancy book cover and a well-written story

                Sometimes
the best inspiration and insight comes from the most unexpected places. The
other night I was catching up on a show I had missed for the majority of its
second season: Smash. The premise of the show is sort of “life on Broadway.”
You see the writers’ perspective on what it takes to build a show from the ground up;
the obstacles that have to be overcome, the inevitable heart break and eventual
fulfillment of dreams (for some).
                In
the second season, the new musical to rock the scene is Hit List. One of the
songs addresses a young woman’s dreams to recreate herself; to become something
“original.” A performing artists often revolves around looks and the song “Original”
addresses this idea. But I also thought it was interesting that it discusses the fact that some of the most famous artists of our generation used to be
nobodies just playing at open mics, struggling to pay the rent, and singing covers
of songs in obscure indie bands. Once their image was changed to something
exciting or original, they became a sensation. Many of these performers, however, still
write the songs they perform and have the same voice; it’s just in a different
package.
Lady Gaga before (left) and after (right) fame
                We
have talked before about how you present your ideas and market yourself as a
writer, but another important lesson can be taken from the success of these
reborn artists. Not only did they find “monster fame” when they changed their
image, but when it came out that they were once just struggling artists with a
few great ideas waiting to be heard (like you and me) they earned “monster
respect.”
                A
celebrity is a celebrity is a celebrity. But a celebrity becomes a person when
all of a sudden their audience can relate to them, when they show that they
aren’t just an icon or symbol — they are a person just like you and me.
                I
think as writers we sometimes forget that when we put our writing out there, we
become (whether we want to admit it or not) dissociated from it. We are no
longer attached to our writing. When someone picks up our book they are reading
a book written by us, not OUR book. What I mean by this is there there is still a
level of disconnect between your writing and what you have to say.
                To
consolidate these, as writers we have to make an effort to show that we are
real people. Getting out there and attaching your face, voice, and personality to
your book creates a stronger impact on your readers. Next week we’ll be talking
a bit more about ways that this is possible, but the important message to take
away from this post is that you can create the image you want, create the
characters, the story, the voice behind your book. But if you aren’t accessible
in some way to your readers as a person, your writing and career can suffer.
And when you’re just starting up, you don’t need any more obstacles to
overcome! 

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